Did you know that 64% of B2B companies surveyed across industries have a formal marketing plan? Gone are the days of crossing your fingers and hoping your product or service sells itself. To stay competitive with the rest of the market, you need to have a B2B marketing plan in place to increase and convert as many leads as possible.
We know that creating a marketing strategy and mapping out your plan can be challenging and complex. There are so many tactics to use, channels to get up and running, and ways to approach your marketing strategy when speaking to various audiences. Not to mention that, in today’s world, digital marketing is paired with offline marketing efforts, which adds more layers of complexity to your overarching strategy.
That’s why we’ve broken down everything you need to know about B2B marketing, including how to organize your B2B marketing plan, top strategies to consider weaving into your plan, and how Wrike can help you execute your B2B marketing strategy with more organization and less stress.
First, let’s start with the basics and define what B2B marketing is.
What is B2B marketing?
B2B marketing, or business-to-business marketing, refers to the marketing of products and services from one business to another.
In B2B marketing, the buyer is a business, or more specifically, the decision-makers who have purchasing power within that business. For example, companies who create software products like team-wide communication tools or accounting systems market their product to other companies. Wholesalers also engage in B2B sales. They purchase products from one business in bulk and sell them to their consumers, like store owners.
B2B marketing targets the needs of an entire organization and not consumers at an individual level. Simply put, the organization becomes the customer, which means the marketing strategies need to be tailored to that specific audience. Businesses might be looking for ways to help their teams become more efficient, tools to make their work easier and more manageable, or industry-specific products and services their teams simply can’t live without.
How to organize a B2B marketing plan
You can organize a B2B marketing plan in many ways, depending on your goals and what you want to achieve.
Understanding the B2B marketing funnel is one way to create a clear and solid B2B marketing plan. The B2B marketing funnel maps the buyer’s journey from prospect to customer, using various channels and messaging along the way until the prospect converts. You can organize each function of the B2B strategy within each stage of the funnel to ensure you’re hitting every step.
The typical B2B marketing funnel can vary, but we’re focusing on the following six-stage model:
- Awareness: At the first, widest stage of the funnel, you’re trying to pull in potential customers by bringing awareness to your products, services, and solutions offered. Within this stage, you should include all activities that enable you to reach prospects. This might consist of paid advertising, social media, and search engine rankings.
- Interest: At this stage of the funnel, your primary focus is to increase interest among the audience that you attracted in the awareness stage. Prospects may learn more about your business and offerings through your website. This stage creates an opportunity for your business to develop a relationship with prospective leads and start building a sense of trust.
- Consideration: You’re now working with prospective customers who may end up purchasing your product. Activities that fall under this stage should include utilizing email marketing to provide more information about your products and offers. Targeted content is crucial, and you can nurture the relationship with free trials, resources like guides and case studies, and more.
- Intent: If the prospect reaches this stage, they have demonstrated that they’re interested in purchasing the product or service. This provides an opportunity to prove why your product or service is the best one on the market. Convince the prospect that they’re making the best choice to give them that extra bump to complete a purchase.
- Evaluation: At this stage of the funnel, your prospective buyer is making a final decision about whether or not they want to purchase from you. This is the last chance to hook the prospect, and sales and legal often jump in to help close out the experience.
- Purchase: The transaction is complete! You’ve signed a new customer.
With these funnel stages as a framework to organize your marketing plan, you can then set clear goals you want to achieve, determine what resources you have, and identify the marketing channels you’re going to focus on.
For example, awareness and interest are often cited as the key components needed for lead generation. So if you’re looking to bring in more leads, you’ll likely want to focus on these two stages of the funnel and identify which channels you’ll start with to support them.
Speaking of channels to focus on, let’s take a look at the top B2B digital marketing strategies you should consider that fall within various stages of the funnel.
Top B2B digital marketing strategies
B2B marketing happens both offline and online. In our increasingly connected world, digital marketing strategies are crucial when it comes to supporting your overall marketing plan.
Fortunately, there’s no shortage of B2B digital marketing strategies to choose from to complement your offline efforts. Here are the top B2B digital marketing strategies we see companies lean into:
- Develop a company website: A company website might seem like a no-brainer, but did you know that over 80% of buyers visit a company’s website before making a purchase? Your website is an entry point for prospective buyers to learn more about your business, what you have to offer, and how to get in touch with you to complete a purchase. Your digital presence is a simple and easy way for prospective clients to share your business with the key decision-makers within their organization too.
- Expand your digital presence through search engine optimization (SEO): According to Hubspot’s 2020 Marketing Mix Report, 36% of sales and marketing leads result from SEO efforts. Your business needs to be discoverable. The internet is filled with websites and companies offering similar services, so it’s necessary to utilize SEO tactics that will help your website rank near the top of search results.
- Harness the power of social media: How many times do you check social media throughout the day? How many social media channels do you engage with regularly? If your answer is “a lot” to both of those questions, you aren’t alone. Social media isn’t just a time suck — it’s a purchasing tool. Over 80% of C-level and VP-level B2B buyers use social media to influence their purchase decisions. Even though it might seem like social media is the place to target individual consumers, you should know that businesses are utilizing this channel too. And if you aren’t sure where to start with your B2B social media strategy, LinkedIn is the most used and trusted channel, reporting an 86% usage amongst B2B professionals.
- Give pay-per-click (PPC) advertising a go: It’s not enough to get in front of your current audience — you’ll want to get in front of new audiences too. PPC campaigns are paid campaigns where advertisers only pay when people interact with their ads through impressions or clicks. In the 2020 B2B Content Marketing report, 61% of B2B marketers used pay-per-click advertising in the previous 12 months, making it one of the top three choices for paid distribution channels.
- Commit to email marketing: When executed correctly, email marketing has an unbeatable return on investment (ROI). One 2019 report suggests that the ROI for email is $42 per dollar spent. And if that’s not convincing enough, Content Marketing Institute reported that email is one of the top three free content distribution channels B2B marketers use.
These are just a few of the B2B digital marketing strategies you should consider building into your larger strategy. The specific choices you make will depend on the number of resources you have to allocate, your digital maturity framework, and the priorities of your business.
In addition to the strategies mentioned above, let’s talk about some more specific (and popular) strategies. We’re breaking down B2B influencer marketing, B2B content marketing, and a B2B marketing mix, as well as how you could build these efforts into your strategy.
What is B2B influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing is all about promoting your business and products or services by collaborating with influencers. Influencers build a level of trust and connection with their audience members, which makes consumers open to the idea of making purchases based on their recommendations.
Simply put, B2B influencer marketing leans on well-known people with large followings to share marketing and brand messages with a broader market. Brands generally pay influencers to promote their products to their followers and encourage them to take action and purchase the product for themselves.
In a survey of 300 B2B marketers, 96% of the ones who engage influencers feel that their influencer marketing program is successful, so it’s worth considering adding some level of influencer marketing to your strategy.
What is B2B content marketing?
Content marketing plays a significant role in B2B marketing. In fact, 59% of marketers believe that blogs are the most valuable marketing channel.
B2B content marketing isn’t merely about generating content or posting on a blog — it’s about creating content that’s valuable, relevant, consistent, and inspires action. You can use B2B content marketing to expand your audience, emphasize your brand, and drive leads to your business. Forget the days of pumping out content for the sake of publishing and focus on creating content that’s useful and actionable for readers.
With B2B marketing, it’s essential to understand who your ideal audience is. You also need to know what type of information your audience needs and how you plan to promote your content and get it in front of your audience.
What is a B2B marketing mix?
The origin of the marketing mix dates is attributed to Jerome McCarthy’s introduction of the 4 P’s in the 1960s. We’ve seen the original 4 P’s expanded and modified in a few different ways throughout the years, but the 4 P’s still hold to be most prevalent when thinking about a marketing mix.
The B2B marketing mix allows you to create a unique selling proposition (USP) and determine how best you fit into the market. B2B marketing mix is sometimes thought of synonymously with the 4 Ps:
- Product: Goods or services
- Price: The amount the consumer pays
- Place: Where the marketing of the product occurs
- Promotion: Level of advertising involved
The 4Ps don’t have to be defined in any particular order but should be defined in relation to one another as part of a holistic strategy. These elements, or pillars, should be defined to help you maximize the impact you have and satisfy your customers and your business. With the 4 P’s, you’ll be able to lay out a more effective B2B marketing strategy.
Why use Wrike to create business to business marketing strategies
As you can see, a lot of work and information goes into building and executing effective B2B marketing strategies, and Wrike has all of the features you need to manage this process with ease. With Wrike, you’ll be able to:
- Take advantage of instant insights and optimize your ROI with real-time data
- Plan and manage your marketing campaigns in one place
- Use our campaign management template to manage campaigns from start to finish
- Adopt a marketing campaign calendar and ditch spreadsheets
- Create centralized, steady streams of content with our editorial calendar template
- Streamline your team’s collaboration and communication so they can focus on executing the strategy
Are you ready to elevate your B2B strategy and start seeing a huge ROI? Sign up for a free trial of Wrike today to help you get started.