7 ingredients to successful B2B campaigns

by Hans Christian Bothmann
Partner
Blue Business A/S

More and more, companies expect their suppliers to be present, always engaging and highly relevant on all online channels. A tall order you may say.

So, what does it take for marketing and sales to deliver on this?

Consider the following 7 ingredients to deliver successful B2B marketing that drive both awareness, new leads and pipeline – the engaging way.

1. Sales and marketing alignment

Good marketers know the ingredients to running a great campaign are alignment across teams, engagement throughout the customer journey and reporting that drives decisions. Campaigns can be a key growth accelerator for businesses when done well.

Too often alignment is overlooked as a key ingredient in campaign impact. Alignment is often sacrificed across teams in marketing, sales, web, customer service etc. because each team is using different systems with siloed data.

Even the best laid out campaign plans don’t work when teams are not in sync. Align on messaging with sales and key account teams so their dialogue is in in tune with marketing’s efforts. Engaging your audience through aligned campaigns ensures you speak with one powerful voice propelling your customer along their journey, reducing friction, and delivering results on the goals that matter most to your business.

2. Always-on marketing

As you think about the way you run digital marketing campaigns – do you approach this in a ‘start-stop’ fashion where you run discrete campaigns to completion and then start a new one? If so, you may benefit from a more ‘always-on’ approach. The idea is plan and execute continuous activities in support of finding new customers and retaining existing. Often, essential actions comprise paid and organic search marketing and social media presence at the top of the funnel driving people to your website – all complemented using valuable content to your audience. Once anonymous visitors turn into known prospects, key insight can be picked up using marketing automation which in turn allows you to nurture them along the buying cycle with email marketing, SMS messaging or even on-site personalisation. ‘Always-on’ is often applied in an account based marketing (ABM) context where high value accounts (new or existing) tend to have a higher pay-off from these efforts.

3. Account based marketing (ABM)

Account Based Marketing is all about tailoring your communication to specific accounts as you endeavour to convert accounts rather than leads. According to recent research up to 34 people may be involved in a buying decision for companies with more than 1,000 employees. This alone makes ABM both a challenge and a necessity. If you then add the complexity of many large accounts operating from different sites across the globe, you have a strong business case for adopting an ABM strategy.

B2B companies are gradually transitioning from individual (1:1) marketing to a hybrid between individual and account based marketing. Recent insight from polls conducted by Blue Business among B2B marketers shows that around 20% execute a mix of individual and account focused marketing yet as many as 50% plan on moving from an individual only to a combined approach.

4. Campaign orchestration

Campaign orchestration is key across teams – see the sales and marketing alignment point above – which makes it easy for marketers to plan, execute and collaborate on related work in the form of campaigns – in an always on fashion.

What if you could…
…Improve campaign management by bringing more consolidation to the way your team works?
…Increase team productivity by facilitating team collaboration across the tools you use every day?
…Make it easier for your marketing team to do their best work?
…Make campaign management and execution feel seamless between teams?
…Eliminate any friction during campaign planning?

Increasingly, todays full-fledged marketing automation platforms will offer these benefits and give you one ‘dashboard’ views of the truth at affordable costs.

5. Determining metrics that count

In our dialog with customers, we often hear marketers stating that a key challenge they face is defining their most critical marketing metrics and key performance indicators.
Ironically, more heads of marketing than ever are motivated by the opportunity to demonstrate how they impact the business. So, directionally the marketing department is very aware of its value and keen to find ways to tangibly depict how their efforts contribute to top and bottom lines.
The good news is that the critical data capture and insight to enable performance metrics is becoming more readily available as digital marketing platforms mature.

6. Pulling reports in real time.

Reporting your marketing in real time is two-pronged. First, it’s about obtaining insight from your target audience in real-time and secondly, it’s about your ability to respond proactively with your audience.

Reporting in real time:
Consider the benefits of knowing which prospects interacted with your brand across your online channels like social media, website, emails and content assets. With that insight you can analyse high, medium and low performing channels. Depending on volume, it may even present trends in the market you were unaware of.

Responding in real time:
Once you have the insight – in real time – you can act quickly, even in the moment (think chat) to proactively address your customers questions or better still give them advice and inspiration that they value which in turn sets you apart from your competition.

7. Brand attuned

Campaigns serve both the top, mid and bottom of the funnel. Businesses need both brand activity to create demand (filling the top of the sales funnel), and they need activation to convert that demand efficiently into revenue (the bottom of the funnel). When the balance is right, each enhances the other. According to LinkedIn and Institute of Advertising Practitioner (in their 5 principles of growth in B2B Marketing paper) B2B data suggests that marketing also works best when brand and activation are working together. Efficiency appears to be maximised when around 46% of the budget is allocated to brand, with around 54% allocated to activation. Last, but by no means least, add that creative twist to your campaign elements to stay brand attuned, while at the same time stand out.

If any of these points resonate with you or got you inspired or even provoked you, please reach out. We’d love to bounce this off with you and share more in-depth content, free tools and research.