Four overlooked B2B marketing ideas you can use now

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b2b marketing ideas

By Eric Wittlake, {grow} Contributing Columnist

Many of us are faced with a dizzying array of new marketing technologies and tactics competing for a slice of our time and budget. So what new B2B marketing ideas should you focus on next?

Here are four gems you might have overlooked. In my experience, these are not yet widely used technologies, and the un-tapped potential is vast for most B2B marketing organizations.

1. Account-based advertising

In B2B, the right kind of person employed by the wrong type of company isn’t a good prospect. While account-based marketing has taken off in the last two years, account based marketing adoption still stands at just 24 percent, and account-based advertising is likely used by a small subset of that 24 percent.

Account-based advertising isn’t just targeting a list of companies. It should build on your account-based marketing approach, including insights that allow you to deliver the most appropriate message to each company, based on everything from industry to the status of each company in your sales pipeline.

Demandbase has clearly established themselves as a leader in this space, if you are looking at account based advertising, they certainly should be on your calling list. Other interesting more recent entrants to the space include Terminus and Madison Logic, and a number of B2B publishers, including TechTarget and IDG, offer their own account based advertising programs as well. And don’t overlook the potential of social advertising to reach specific companies cost effectively.

2. Social media advertising

Ok, I’ll say it: Facebook Advertising!

Too many B2B marketers are still avoiding Facebook. It still has the stigma of a personal and consumer channel. And while few people use Facebook solely for professional reasons (those that do are probably all social media marketers), the same can be said of many large “business” publications today.

It’s time for B2B marketers to get over our hangups with Facebook. Between custom audiences, interest targeting, workplace and behavior targeting (which includes third-party data sources for industry, role, seniority, company size, etc), you can effectively narrow in on almost any business target audience on Facebook. And you can do it very cost efficiently.

With Facebook’s recent release of Lead Ads, including the ability to build a form with fields similar to what many B2B marketers have on their site today, it should be an even easier leap to make.

Note: I’m a huge proponent of LinkedIn, and recently shared tips to improve your LinkedIn social ad performance. I’m including Facebook here because it is such an untapped opportunity in many B2B organizations.

3. Predictive analytics

If you aren’t using predictive analytics yet, the quickest place to start is likely in your nurture and lead scoring programs (helping to make the decisions about who should be passed through to sales) or to target your outbound acquisition toward the most likely prospects.

If you are already using predictive solutions in nurture and lead scoring, look at how the same solutions can extend to retention programs, advocacy programs, partner programs, and more. Any time you are using one-to-one communication and can determine what message an individual should receive, there is an opportunity to leverage predictive systems to improve your marketing results.

This has been one of the hottest areas of investment over the last couple years, and it seems like there is a new offering around every corner. If you don’t know where to start, here are a few names to get you started: Lattice Engines, Leadspace, 6sense and Growth Intelligence (I love the premise of their “backtest” offer).

4. Website personalization

Your website is the one place you can be nearly certain serious prospects will eventually visit, and the one place where you control the entire experience. Yet very few marketers today take advantage of the information they have about each visitor to put their best foot forward. Watch for a lot more focus on this opportunity over the next couple years, as it is another great way to make predictive analytics solutions actionable in your marketing.

Fortunately, marketing technology is making site personalization far more accessible than it has been before. With Optimizely’s recent release of Optimizely Personalization, you can plug a simple interface for personalization into a wide range of data sources, including Demandbase (great for B2B), Lytics (a great platform for capturing and managing your own data), or your marketing automation solutions.

With all of the effort most B2B marketers put into tailoring emails, your site is the next big area of opportunity.

Your Turn

Alright, that’s my watchlist. What would you add as areas of untapped opportunity today? And what would say is either already mainstream, or maybe too big of a reach for most marketers today?

Eric WittlakeEric Wittlake spends his days working with B2B marketers and (occasionally) shares his marketing views on his personal blog, B2B Digital Marketing. You can find him on Twitter (@wittlake) when he isn’t working with B2B marketers.

Photo Credit: Joe Dielis via Flickr cc

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