Digital: The State of B2B

According to recent data, digital marketing has overtaken traditional mediums and become some of the most-utilized tactics in the B2B marketers’ arsenal.

Traditional advertising is dead, sort of. While many of the general principles, creativity and strategies of the Mad Men era are still true today, the constantly growing digital landscape has transformed how we apply them, particularly in B2B. As print, radio, TV and direct mail now represent some of the least-utilized channels by B2B marketers, the dawn of digital has arrived.

By the Numbers

Recent surveys from Eloqua, CMO.com and Software Advice reveal which channels are the most-used by B2B marketers:

In-house email marketing                            98%
Search engine optimization (SEO)               94%
Social media (not ads)                                  88%
Trade shows & events                                  87%
Third-party lead originators                       86%
Paid search engine advertising                   82%
Telemarketing/cold calling                          81%
Third-party email marketing                       75%
Display advertising (CPM)                           67%
Third-party webinars                                   67%
Social media ads                                            63%
Direct mail                                                     63%
Retargeting advertising                                60%
Print, radio, TV                                              50%

Social Impact

The perception of social media channels as only having value in B2C is also changing. A Direct Marketing News survey reports that 64% of B2B marketers are using social media. In addition to the SEO benefits that come from updating multiple channels consistently with new original content, B2B marketers are now using social media to effectively reach and influence decision makers:

  • 40% are not yet tapping into the full marketing potential of social media
  • 85% of B2B marketers cite “ generating more business” as the top benefit of social media marketing
  • 83% of marketers cite LinkedIn as the most popular social channel for content distribution
  • LinkedIn surpassed 100 million users and 1 million groups in 2011. Forrester’s B2B Social Technographics® showed that 86% of decision-makers use social media for business purposes.

Creative Re-Revolution

The creative revolution of the 60s is experiencing a second awakening in the digital age for a number of reasons, the first of which is search engine algorithms. As search engines like Google update and alter their algorithms to deliver a better user experience, the days of content farming are dead and a greater emphasis is being placed on new, frequently-updated and original content.

Another reason for the renewed emphasis on creative is clutter. Much more affordable than traditional mediums, digital channels have allowed more companies the ability to afford advertising than ever before. As a result, there is also more clutter. As it was in the 60s, great creative that’s interesting and relevant is the key to grabbing viewers’ attention and delivering your message. Direct Marketing News reports, “Email inboxes are highly cluttered these days. It’s important to make sure your email stands out with a great “from” and “subject line.”

To learn more about digital marketing or to arrange a consultation, email Bob Kent at bk@timmonsandcompany.com.

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