B2B Marketers are under increased pressure to perform due to a multitude of marketing options, a changing online landscape, and new data-driven tools to measure ROI. This can create an environment where realizing goals and objectives becomes more short term and reactionary, as opposed to adopting a strategy and sticking to it.
This is not to say any plan, marketing or otherwise, can’t be flexible in its execution, but that modern marketers are now more than ever forced into the precarious position of abandoning a strategy early.
Content Marketing is a great place to start. Whitepapers, bylines, blog posts, case studies, and other forms of content are often developed in-house or by a marketing agency, then promoted through the website, online advertising, e-mail marketing, and/or public relations. As you can imagine, this form of marketing incurs cost – production, design and delivery. I caution current and potential clients to exhibit patience here – as repetition is key. For example, if a whitepaper fails to generate downloads and leads, or a blog post fails to drive visitors to the website to increase SEO, there is no need to panic. Go back and review the delivery – consider the time of day or day of the week the content was published, or review the ads you placed on LinkedIn to generate clicks. Perhaps you will find it had nothing to do with the content or landing page, but because you reached your audience via e-mail blast at a time normally spent away from the computer, like 4pm on a Summer Friday!
Takeaway: Analyze all aspects of the delivery before switching up your strategy.
Digital and Social Media is in fact more than a buzz word flung around during a business development meeting. Agencies, firms and consultants may promise high volumes of lead generation, bumps in share price, and instant revenue – expectations that are rarely immediately met. In reality, it takes time to establish a platform, cultivate a following, and execute upon strategic objectives. It’s a far smarter practice to focus on quality, not quantity of the content and messaging published via social media. For example, work on creating complete profiles with customizable links for tracking, then click “Tweet” or “Post.”
Takeaway: Identify reporters, colleagues, existing and potential clients, analysts and influencers – then engage them personally and with focused content.
Say the word “Public Relations” and a CEO’s eyes may gloss over with visions of Wall Street Journal features and Good Morning America appearances. Aspirations are great, and you should be encouraged to think big, but start by focusing on a media plan. Identify reporters from trade publications, regional media, online outlets, and yes – national media – that you believe a Company message may resonate with. Introduce yourself (or your client), and explain what kind of analysis or insight you can provide, or what kind of news you may have in your pipeline.
Takeaway: Form relationships with reporters and media outlets. Reporters always seek value, and if you can position yourself or your client as an expert, or their news as being important, you will achieve exposure.
Integrate these ideas into your media plan and you may see results, but know that patience is key. Like anything else, a real sample size may tell you not only what you’re doing well – but also what you need to improve on. By following a strategy and reviewing results, you’ll learn more about your B2B marketing efforts than if you abandon them early on.