How to build a digital marketing strategy for a B2B business

B2B strategy
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Digital marketing is big business. Global ad revenues exceeded $100 billion in 2018, primarily on marketing to consumers.

So what about B2B? This is a sector which traditionally has been driven by word of mouth, personal sales, relationship building, networking, and events. Does digital marketing have a role to play for B2B and if so, what is it?

Being ‘corporate entities’, we sometimes forget that businesses are run by humans like you and I. They are emotional creatures with wants and needs, the same as consumers. The B2B marketer needs to consider that there are some differences between consumers and businesses. For example a business will have multiple decision makers and a slow buying cycle. But at the end of the day these are simply people with a problem that needs fixing.

It’s estimated that 87% of purchase decisions start with an online search. These buyers are likely to spend no less time online as anyone else. As such, the opportunity for digital marketing to influencing B2B purchase decisions is significant. In essence you can, and should be utilising online channels in order to connect with and draw-in your target customers.

Where to start with your B2B digital marketing strategy

It’s sometimes difficult to know where to begin with your B2B digital marketing strategy. At Amplify Digital we follow a structured process that looks like this:

  • Website audit – are the right tools in place for tracking website visitors and progress?
  • Customer Analysis – clarity on who our customers are or who we want them to be. What is their need and how do we fulfil it?
  • Competitor analysis – who are they and where are they finding their customers? What are our relative strengths and weaknesses?
  • Messaging – what do we say to our customers to persuade them we are the right people to help versus competition?
  • Targeting/channels – analysis to identify where our target customers hang out and how to connect with them.
  • KPI’s and Reporting – which numbers are we looking to influence, how will we know if we are succeeding?

The defining factor for digital B2B is the targeting (who you going after) and channels (where online you will connect with them).

Today’s digital marketing channels can offer a surprisingly impressive level of targeting accuracy for B2B businesses which is probably being under-utilised by many including your competitors.

Although each of these steps look simple and straightforward, taking the time to think and research deeply and carefully before moving into the next will pay dividends. We all too often see businesses who miss or don’t complete a step which severely impacts the effectiveness of the end result.

How much should you spend on your B2B marketing budget?

How much money you allocate to your B2B marketing budget will depend on a number of factors, but a common rule of thumb suggests between 8% and 15% of revenue. If you are looking to scale aggressively then it can be over 30%.

The most important thing is to set a clear budget allocation and understand the role and risk of every budget line. You should be prepared to flex and adjust as you figure out what works and what doesn’t.

For more on how to decide how much money to spend on marketing, check out out article here.

If you need help, give us a call and we’ll send you a free list of recommendations to get you started!

Faisal Mian - Entrepreneur - Freelancer

Written by Jonathan Hedger

Jonathan Hedger is a Chartered Marketer and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (MCIM/FCIM) with over 15 years experience in B2B marketing & ecommerce having held senior positions for a number of market leading brands as well as VC backed startups.

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