What makes a great B2B marketing agency?
There are several attributes you want to look at when selecting a B2B marketing agency. What are your needs? Do you need strategic advice or marketing campaign management or a new website?
Not just knowing the key industry trends, but being able to implement them.
B2B marketing has seen a lot of changes come about quickly. The world of B2B marketing is continuing to evolve and adapt to new opportunities and challenges and 2017 looks like it will be no different.
B2B companies are still a bit behind their B2C counterparts when it comes to content marketing and social media marketing. However, thanks to new technology and strategy, B2B marketers are developing their own unique ways to effectively connect with their audiences and change the playing field for their industries.
Here are some trends your B2B marketing agency should be masters at. These will help indicate if you’ve found the right agency for your organization.
Strategy is Key
Most B2B marketing agencies have caught on to the importance of content marketing. 89% of B2B marketers say that they use content marketing. It’s time for marketers to focus on expanding and maturing their content marketing strategies in order to be competitive in their industry. Simply because these teams have reported using content marketing doesn’t mean they’ve been effective.
52% of B2B content marketers say that their marketing efforts are struggling because they are unable to devote enough time to develop an effective content marketing strategy. Compared to B2C, B2B marketers have struggled to incorporate content marketing into their efforts, but in today’s social media dominant world, good content marketing practices are a necessity.
It’s not good enough to just be producing content. Everybody is pumping out content these days. Your business needs a clear and concise content strategy in order to succeed.
Organization and B2B Marketing Agency
This means understanding and outlining your marketing goals. Kissmetrics lists the big questions that a B2B marketer’s strategy should answer:
- What is your brand trying to represent?
- Who are you trying to reach?
- What are you trying to accomplish?
You need to understand your customer base in order to reach them successfully. Think about whom your company is trying to reach, and what your intended audience is looking for. Make use of analytic tools and research in order to find out who you should be marketing to. You can make use of tools like questionnaires in order to better understand the emotions and characteristics of your audience.
Remember Your Marketing Data!
Part of having a successful content marketing strategy is being able to analyze your efforts to understand what is working, and what isn’t. Does your B2B marketing agency focus on providing updated KPI reports, or even what ROI they are generating from their efforts?
Unfortunately, this is the step that most marketers miss. There are lots of tools online that can help you analyze your content marketing. Apps like crazy egg can provide heat maps, indicating where the most user engagement is occurring on your websites.
Buzzsumo allows you to analyze data from various social media and content channels from a single dashboard. Our personal favorite is HubSpot, as they act as your companies all in one marketing automation tool, it is very little they can’t do. Those are just a few examples, the market is seemingly endless with options.
Social Media Marketing
Social media might not seem like the obvious area for B2B marketers to focus their efforts on. After all, they often have a reputation as being highly specified and “boring”. Although, social media has started to become an important influence within their markets.
Just because your B2B Company might not seem obviously social media-friendly shouldn’t deter you. It’s time to get creative! You should be integrating social media into your strategy because it can up your company’s reach and relatability.
Just because you sell to other businesses doesn’t mean there aren’t people behind the conference table. You don’t want to be a faceless company.
Perfecting Your Social Media Strategy
While your end goal is to produce content for both your content marketing strategy and your social media strategy, social media requires a bit more finesse, because you want to create content that is tailored to the sites that you are posting on.
Your social media strategy should be similar to your content strategy in that you should be defining your goals early on and outlining what you want to achieve through your efforts.
You should be thinking about which social media platforms are the best fit for your business and which platforms your target audience is most likely to engage with.
Don’t Limit Yourself
LinkedIn is definitely an important platform for B2B marketers. While this has always been true, more and more marketers are branching out to different social media platforms. Sprout social’s infographic shows that 88% of B2B marketers use Facebook and 83% use Twitter.
That’s close to the 89% that use LinkedIn! LinkedIn is a good platform for generating leads, but don’t underestimate the power of a varied social media presence.
There are plenty of ways to leverage different social media channels. Facebook is a great platform for B2B companies Check out the many exciting ways B2B marketers are making use of Facebook. Sites like Facebook and Instagram are useful because they are well supported for visual content.
Visual Marketing Content
Visual content is quickly becoming the best way to inspire engagement from your audience. Visual content can help your company to develop a presence online.
There are plenty of ways to create engaging visual content on social media platforms like creating branded images or even profiling company employees to give your audience a more intimate look into your company’s culture.
The most common forms of visual content are infographics, blog images, social posts, and videos. The virtual reality field is starting to make their play as well, so watch how some larger brands start to capitalize on this newer opportunity.
Along with visual content, video is becoming a popular form of content on social media. Video content is a great, personalized way to engage your audience. Videos can grab user’s attention where a block of text might be dismissed. Platforms like Facebook, Youtube, and Instagram are great for live video. If you need some help coming up with inspiration for videos, there are plenty of resources online.
People spend a lot of time browsing the internet on their phones. Marketers recognize this and are beginning to catch on to the importance of mobile marketing. Because users spend the majority of their time accessing content through their mobile devices, companies need to have sites that are easily accessible and navigable by mobile.
A Forbes article cited a study that showed that in 2016, 50% of B2B companies had mobile-friendly sites. As the mobile marketing field develops the number of mobile-savvy marketers will definitely rise.
Marketing Automation and and B2B Marketing Agency
According to Forbes, the adoption of marketing automation is fast-growing, particularly in the world of B2B marketing. B2B marketers have benefited particularly from automation’s increase in lead generation.
A smart insights report found that the adoption of marketing automation is still in its early phase. 28% of marketers rated their relationship with marketing automation as “basic” while 18% are not using marketing automation at all.
Marketing automation can help your company to streamline its processes and save you time and energy that would be spent following up with customers and completing repetitive tasks.
Marketing automation can be used to create lead nurturing campaigns, aggregate social media actives, build landing pages, send newsletters, produce ROI reports, monitor marketing campaigns, and just about anything else you can think of.
Marketing automation is a great way for companies to maintain a relationship with their customers and track the data that these automated interactions produce. Marketing automation is continuing to develop and evolve as a tool.
Agile Marketing and B2B Marketing Agency
Agile marketing is a flexible and intimate approach to marketing. Agile marketing has an outlined set of practices that values the customer over convention. The Agile Marketing Manifesto lists some important guidelines for the marketing approach:
- Validated learning over opinions and conventions.
- Customer-focused collaboration over silos and hierarchy.
- Adaptive and iterative campaigns over Big-Bang campaigns.
- The process of customer discovery of static prediction.
- Flexible vs. rigid planning.
- Responding to change over following a plan.
- Many small experiences over a few large bets.
Generally, Agile marketing means being able to think on your toes and pivot your efforts when needed. Agile marketing practices are very useful for content marketers.
B2B marketers already report some discomfort with content marketing. Content marketing institute reports that the number of marketers who see their content marketing efforts as effective actually fell 8% between 2015 and 2016. Agile marketing is becoming the key for many B2B marketers to finding success in their content marketing.
Agile marketing keeps your day-to-day efforts connected with your larger strategic plans. This is particularly important for your content marketing efforts. Agile marketing helps you to develop concise and on-target content that will propel you towards your strategic goals instead of falling into the trap of pumping out content for a poorly planned strategy.
Agile marketing is all about being nimble at this leads to great productivity and effective practices. Instead of creating large, out of touch strategic plans, Agile marketing requires that marketers can adjust their practices as needed and change their approach to fit their marketing needs.
Agile marketing is growing in popularity and is a great approach for B2B marketers who struggle to adapt to the fast-paced, constantly changing world of content marketing.
Experiential marketing is about creating an immersive and personalized experience for your audience. It’s a relatively new and exciting way to interact with your audience on a different, more intimate level.
B2B is seemingly at a disadvantage in this area because they often can’t rely on the same public excitement as B2C events, but experiential marketing can still be a viable area for B2B marketers to explore.
There are many more focused ways for B2B’s to engage in experiential marketing and allow business consumers to sample products before they buy them.
Conferences and tradeshows are great locations for experimenting with experiential marketing. There, you’ll have the added benefit of marketing to like-minded consumers. In the process, B2B companies create a unique personalized connection with their customers.
Account-Based Marketing (ABM) and B2B Marketing Agency
Forbes cites a definition for account-based marketing as “a strategy that targets high-value accounts than targeting leads—the goal of ABM is to improve efficiency and gain higher revenue from marketing efforts while using fewer resources.”
Kissmetrics notes a report of companies using account-based marketing and the huge disparity between profits. 45% less than $100 million, 18% between $101 million and $1 billion, and 36% more than $1.1 billion.
There’s a large gap between the opposite ends of the spectrum of companies using account-based marketing. That leaves a lot of space for B2B companies that fall in between those numbers to adapt ABM tactics and see success.
B2B marketers already have a limited pool of clients based upon the more specialized nature of their business. That’s why account-based marketing is such a valuable tool. B2B companies need to make sure that they are making the most of their interactions with potential clients. That means creating highly individualized and personalized approaches to engaging with prospects.
B2B marketers are quickly moving towards account-based marketing. As the content marketing field becomes more and more saturated it’s important for B2B companies to find a way to personalize their marketing efforts and stand out in the crowd. If you want to try out account-based marketing and need some help getting started, check out this helpful Kissmetrics article on how to start doing ABM.
What do you think?
So, you’ve made it to the end, what do you think? Does your B2B marketing agency understand these key marketing initiatives or are they falling short on your goals? If they don’t, that’s okay. Try our complimentary marketing assessment to do a deep dive into your organization’s marketing activities. It’s in-depth, actionable, and completely free. Stop creating marketing fluff and start generating meaningful returns.
Have something to say about your thoughts on B2B marketing agencies?
Are you not getting the results you had hoped for with your current marketing agency? Let the experts at this Denver B2B marketing agency help you generate more web traffic, converts more leads, and close more sales. Our team knows just what it takes to build and maintain a proven marketing strategy that drives high-quality leads. For more information, check out our marketing services or contact us to schedule a free consultation to discuss your needs and our services.
Definition of B2B Marketing
B2B (business-to-business) marketing is the marketing of products to businesses or other organizations for use in the production of goods, for use in general business operations (such as office supplies), or resale to other consumers, such as a wholesaler selling to a retailer.
One example of a traditional B2B market is in automobile manufacturing. Everyone knows some of the biggest consumer-facing brands, but in every model of the automobile, they produce are dozens of other companies’ products.
What is a B2B marketing agency?
What is a B2B marketing agency? In marketing, “B2B” is short for “business to business”; the term refers to organizations that sell primarily to other businesses (as opposed to businesses that sell to consumers, which are known as “B2C” companies.
What are the benefits of a B2B marketing agency?
All B2B businesses can benefit from customized branding, SEO, content marketing, digital and web optimization, public relations, social media outreach, and a traditional marketing backbone.
What is outsourced marketing?
According to Wikipedia, “outsourcing” is subcontracting a process like product design or manufacturing to a third-party company. In a content marketing context, most businesses are structured to offer their products and services but are not often formed to be content publishers.