B2B Digital Marketing in 2019: Back to the Future

Erica Hakonson B2B Marketing, Email Marketing, Lead Generation, Online Marketing, Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Optimization 0 Comments

Today the world of tech is evolving faster than our understanding and rest assured it’ll continue to change a mile a minute in 2019. Like it or not, you must equip yourself with the right marketing strategies leveraging data, analytics and all the right tools to set yourself apart in today’s marketing world.

For years now, leaders and executives have been chasing the goal of ‘creating an integrated digital marketing experience for customers’ but it feels like the more we chase that goal, the more elusive it seems to be.

Admittedly, integrated marketing is hard to digest, let alone achieve, especially with fragmented marketing technology and data analytics stack that we try to integrate to get them to speak to each other.

No matter the size of your business, there are online advertising and analytics tools that you can start using (some free) to run your marketing function smarter so that you could measure the effectiveness of online marketing tactics – no excuses!

So, what are some of the strategies and tools that can make you disrupt your marketing and measure results in 2019?

Demystifying the Digital Experience to B2B Customers

So, let’s be clear! A B2B digital marketing experience is not as simple as running digital tactics, creating a mobile responsive website and loading pages faster. These are givens now.

It’s more about orchestrating the customer experience where you’re capable of reaching and interacting with your existing and future customers across touch-points in different channels.

It starts by truly understanding your audience and the different personas across your lifecycle to be able to anticipate their needs. Identifying your persona and where it is key to meet them at the right place at the right time before progressing to fulfilling those needs across your paid, owned and earned media channels.

That’s all well and good, but easier said than done. Why? Because you need a strategy where you invest in planning and getting the basics right as well as prioritizing your efforts to execute with operational tactics.

What I mean by ‘basics’ is discerning when and how to reach, act, convert and engage the RIGHT audience with the right content across all your digital channels – that’s where understanding the buyer’s journey comes to play.

Keeping Pace with the Buyer’s Lifecycle with Content Marketing & Marketing Automation

Laying the foundation by identifying your buyers’ personas and personalizing their buyer journey is the first step of your integrated strategy. Think about where they would turn to get information as they identify their pain points (Awareness Stage), do their research (Consideration Stage) or get closer to deciding (Decision Stage). What kind of content they need and how to best deliver such content in a seamless and integrated way.

During Awareness, you have to develop strategies that leverage marketing automation and content to educate people about their need and help them ask the right questions. For example, sharing feature comparisons of your solution with those of competitors wouldn’t be very helpful for someone who hasn’t yet identified their need for your solution.

As buyers move along the buying cycle into Consideration stage, you’ll have to build more trust with your leads and earn your credibility through nurturing strategies [see email marketing below], positioning your company as thought leaders. As a marketer, you’ve an opportunity to engage with your prospects and move them the path to sale. This is where you craft and automate lead nurturing campaigns and adjust lead scores to further qualify your buyers’ interest.

As buyers move further down the funnel to the Decision stage, your marketing strategy has to leverage testimonials and case studies that showcase how you have served existing happy and satisfied customers.

It’s important to remember that your integrated marketing strategy doesn’t stop here. It must account for customers with post-purchase drip nurturing strategies to drive loyalty and renewals.

Needless to say, a successful integrated strategy (integrated is key here) requires alignment, coordination and collaboration across different teams and stakeholders.

From experience, an integrated marketing experience doesn’t work in silos; it requires sales, marketing and client success/support teams to join forces and own part of the buyer journey with respective touch-points.

Back to the Future: The Google Marketing Platform

Now, it’s time to implement and bring your strategy to life because we’ve always heard that ‘in business, it’s all about execution’ and rightly so.

One of the most powerful tools is the Google Marketing Platform, an end-to-end campaign management suite that helps you plan, optimize and measure the effectiveness of your web content and all of your paid media.

The Google Marketing Platform is more than just a rebranding (AdWords, now Ads). The newly released platform builds on existing integrations between ads, site and app analytics to create more relevant and effective marketing in Search, Display and Video 360 in one environment. The DoubleClick ad platform and analysis tools like Google Analytics, Data Studio and AB testing are more tightly integrated.

Search Ads 360 helps your run search marketing campaigns with smart bidding options to maximize your return. The flexible and automated bidding will get you out of the ‘optimizing all the time’ mode. What’s really cool is that Search Ads 360 now lets you build, manage and measure campaigns from across media channels like social for more holistic reporting and attribution.

With new capabilities in Display and Video 360, The Google Marketing Platform is able to measure custom metrics to count impressions and unique users so you know how well your awareness campaigns are performing.

Simply put, the new Google Marketing platform integrates digital campaigns (search, display and video) and analytics together, so you can execute end-to-end advertising campaigns in one place.

The Future of Social Media in 2019

If you’re not on social media, you don’t exist – that’s the reality. Good news is, more and more small-medium sized businesses are growing their reach organically with rich content like imagery and video on social media, creating fun and engaging content experiences.

According to Social Media Examiner’s influential 2018 report, the continuing rise of visuals and social TV across all age groups in 2018 makes Instagram the second most popular media platform after Facebook. The continuing rise of Instagram with IGTV makes us expect further growth and more advertising options on the platform in 2019.

According to Smart Insights, the increase in revenue and active sessions on LinkedIn, 37% and 41% respectively, in 2018 is indicative that LinkedIn will continue to grow in importance for B2B marketing in the year ahead.

Twitter is also tightening its advertising options for Marketers with the new Promote tool. The new ‘set-it and forget-it’ option works in sync with your existing ad campaigns, automatically promoting your video ads and tweets that are likely to drive the most engagement to your target audience.

Has your business woken up to the opportunity yet?

Integrated Digital Marketing in 2019

Embrace The Future of B2B digital marketing with an Integrated Marketing Strategy

Your demand generation efforts in 2019 should cover various digital tactics that resonate with your audience to fuel your business growth. If you haven’t already started, you need to think about deploying email and marketing automation, with content, SEO and social in one integrated marketing strategy.

2019 Email Marketing and Marketing Automation

Harness the power of personalization with relevant triggered emails based on your intelligence of the buyer lifecycle. Integrating content marketing into the customer journey across different touch-points not only helps to nurture your leads, but also retain existing customers, which is less costly than acquiring new customers.

2019 Pay-Per-Click (PPC) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

It’s no secret that more and more businesses are utilizing digital advertising through PPC campaigns. While search remains key to remain visible online, you need to escape the bidding war on keywords.

There is no point in investing in AdWords (now Google Ads) campaigns if your website isn’t optimized for search engines. Take the time to hash over your SEO tactics to make sure your website is driving organic traffic and not just paid.

If your website isn’t mobile friendly, its’ time to consider Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) for improved site speed and better user experience.

2019 B2B Content Marketing and Social Media Marketing

Be more strategic about your content and take a more holistic approach to your content creation, targeting and distribution. Invest in rich and higher quality content like videos, blogs, images and other creatives. Then go-all-out on B2B social media to further promote your content. You really can’t afford not having social part of your marketing strategy for 2019!

Digital Marketing Analytics and Marketing Reporting in 2019

You can’t improve what you can’t measure. With the tight integration of Google Analytics 360 and Data Studio within the Google Marketing Platform, you can easily measure the impact of your search, display, social and video campaigns.

Data Studio lets you add your ads data to measure all your campaign metrics and analyze your PPC campaigns and the cost-per-conversion all in one place. The code-free analytics platform lets you compare, filter and organize data in powerful reports and dashboards.

Your Digital Marketing Game Plan for 2019 & Beyond

Tools change but the fundamentals stay the same. A digital marketing strategy leveraging buyers’ data and intent is the only way to attract, inform and build loyalty with the B2B buyer.

Capturing the right audience when and where they are ready to find out more about you, listen and eventually convert is your way to stay competitive in an ever-changing playing field.

What we know by now is that all buyers, including B2B, are willing to share their data in exchange for personalized experiences. Implementing digital marketing tactics that incorporate relevant and personalized communications to keep the buyer engaged and satisfied will keep you ahead of the competition 2019 and beyond.

Want to learn More about B2B Digital Marketing in 2019?

Need help with your marketing strategy for 2019, or want to learn more about digital strategies, get in touch at maven@mavencollectivemarketing.com.

Erica Hakonson
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Erica Hakonson

Erica Hakonson, Founder of Maven Collective Marketing, has likely spent more time pondering, testing and contemplating your web searches than you will ever be comfortable knowing about. For over 13 years, she has been working in B2B marketing with companies like the Microsoft Corporation, Safeco Insurance, Intranet Connections and many more to disrupt the norm, connecting people-to-people rather than business-to-business.

A graduate of the Management of Technology MBA program from Simon Fraser University (SFU) and a former Board of Director for the SFU Alumni board, Erica finds balance through academic challenges as well.

As a self-diagnosed digital marketing junky, she spends a most of her days studying search engine algorithm updates, A/B testing her own confirmation biases and building digital marketing strategies for various B2B clients.

When unplugged from the Digital World, Erica spends her time brewing beer, ultra marathon running and exploring the vast north of the 49th parallel with her husband and kids.
Erica Hakonson
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