In the B2B world, relationships are key. If you think we’re crazy, think again – just because you’re not managing relationships with and marketing to consumers doesn’t mean you can get away with lackluster marketing, relationship management, or branding efforts.
A robust content marketing strategy and overall marketing strategy can make a massive difference in B2B bottom lines. However, a study by Statista showed that only 45% of B2B companies in the United States have a formal marketing plan in place. Even more sobering: only 37% of companies have a content marketing strategy in place.
In this digital world, an online presence is more than a suggestion – it’s an absolute necessity if you want to hang in there with your competition. And since B2B services like data colocation are decidedly on the intangible side, it can be tough to showcase who you are and what you offer without a marketing and branding strategy.
For one of our clients, who was struggling to get in front of the right audiences, great marketing was the impetus for growth. Read on to see how we helped this B2B client tackle their marketing challenges.
An issue we see consistently with B2B clients is the lack of a consistent marketing plan. It’s difficult for some businesses to allocate resources and devote time to developing a marketing plan – 61% of B2B marketers reported that finding the time and resources to develop a comprehensive plan was their biggest obstacle to generating leads.
This particular client was no exception. Business was humming along at a decent pace, and the marketing department’s sporadic marketing efforts didn’t seem to make a big impact, so the company didn’t pay much attention to growing those efforts. When they started noticing a downturn in new business, however, they knew they had to make some changes.
Before we started working with them, their marketing efforts were limited to high spends in traditional channels, like print ads, billboards, and cold-calling, that simply were not resulting in conversions.
Any marketing or advertising they did engage in was not targeted – instead, the company cast a very wide net with generalized messaging in the hopes their by-catch would include some valuable finds.
Lastly, their sales and marketing departments operated independently of one another, leading to miscommunication, dysfunction, infighting, and lost deals.
Our first step with this client was to build a unified digital experience across all platforms. We worked with them to define stringent brand guidelines for logo usage, fonts, placement, imagery, and tone, then carried these guidelines across their social media platforms and website. The goal was to emphasize the brand at every turn – consumer, on average, need 5-7 interactions with a brand to remember it. Every opportunity to emphasize brand is, therefore, of the utmost importance.
Secondly, we tracked digital journeys of their current clients in an effort to determine how, where, and when they became customers. From there, we built out detailed buyer personas to aid in specific targeting and marketing efforts.
As we mentioned, relationship management is of the utmost importance in the B2B world. When this client started speaking directly to their desired audience and being mindful of the buyer’s journey, they were better able to interact and form relationships with their potential customers.
We didn’t have to convince this business of the importance of allocating budget to marketing. Our challenge was to convince them to transition to an inbound marketing methodology. Inbound marketing relies on strategy and organic content generation rather than large, wide-net ad spends, so our approach was brand-new to this client.
Once we began generating content for them and reallocating marketing funds towards inbound strategies, they saw the benefit. Because we make marketing decisions based on data, we were able to successfully present their message to the right audiences at the right time, leading to increased impressions, engagement, web sessions, and conversions.
Lastly, we worked with this client to bring their sales and marketing departments into alignment. With marketing efforts bringing in more qualified leads, the sales department was primed to close deals. And with sales more openly communicating to marketing about the status of deals and what their targets were, marketing was able to tailor leads and appropriately guide them through the buyer’s journey. The goal is a seamless handoff between marketing and sales – and with some effort and an emphasis on communication, the results can be profound.
By committing to an inbound marketing strategy, sales and marketing alignment, and brand consistency, this client started seeing meaningful results quickly.
Their web visits increased 77% year over year, and lead generation increased 48% year over year. They were reaching the right audiences at the right time, and it was starting to make a big difference.
With an increased emphasis on buyer personas and the buyer’s journey, customer were more efficiently moved through the funnel: in one year, marketing qualified leads, or MQLs, increased by 86%, while sales qualified leads, or SQLs, increased by 46%.
The bottom line in any marketing success story is conversions. And in this client’s case, the results spoke for themselves: within six months, total customer conversions increased from 63% to 86%.
With greater attention paid to getting in front of the right audience with the right budget at the right time, we were able to help this client reach the next level in their business development and customer relationship management.