The cards are stacked against marketers and salespeople trying to reach B2B buyers.
Not only are 6–10 stakeholders involved in the average B2B transaction, according to data gathered by Blue Corona, but “The average B2B buyer now makes an average of 12 online searches before interacting with a vendor’s website, and they are already 57 percent of the way through the buying process before they want to speak with a sales representative.”
The only solution? Reaching buyers during this research period with a thoughtful, highly-targeted B2B marketing campaign — long before they reach out to your sales team.
But while B2C campaign-building best practices are well-worn territory, there are far fewer blueprints available to B2B companies. To help fill this inspiration gap, I’ve pulled six great examples you can use to shape your future B2B marketing campaigns.
1. Juro’s Legal Operations E-book
Building authority is always slow going. It’s even slower when those prospects are lawyers, professionally motivated to be risk-averse. As a seed-stage business, UK contract management startup Juro didn’t have the time or the resources to spend ages building authority. So it decided to take a shortcut by finding thought leaders to help build authority on its behalf.
Juro found 14 heavyweights in the legal operations space, from the UK, US and Australia, and tapped into their expertise to write a 71-page e-book featuring practical advice from leaders at great companies like Microsoft, Monzo, and Pearson.
The e-book drove a thousand downloads in its first month, but what made it really effective was the long tail, says Tom Bangay from Juro’s marketing team: “The content was so in-depth and voluminous that once we sunsetted it properly into our blog and got some backlinks, we jumped into the top 5 in Google in several jurisdictions for the relevant keywords — which drives an ongoing stream of downloads with no cost on our part.”
Finally, befriending and promoting eager contributors early on paid off from a content standpoint — many of the ebook authors are now regulator contributors and columnists, in addition to providing B2B sales intros in their networks. Juro even had the book printed to send out as direct mail to prospects — because lawyers love getting books in the mail.
2. Proof’s “The SaaS Marketer’s Guide to Website Personalization”
Entering the market with a new software product can be challenging for any marketing team, as it takes time and energy to position your new product and niche, get targeted traffic to your website with guest blogging and SEO and then make sure people actually convert once they get on-page.
Despite being a new player in the space, Proof launched a high-value long-form six-chapter ultimate guide set on its own microsite. As a result, the ebook and corresponding site positioned the company as professional and authoritative, in addition to giving the marketing team a footing to start having conversations with leads.
Ben Johnson from Proof’s marketing team describes the team’s thinking behind the guide, “As we started to sell our new product, we realized we lacked a lot of educational content around personalization, so we decided to change that. We wrote this guide with several intentions: to drive traffic through SEO, to get the content shared throughout the SaaS industry, to educate future customers and to repurpose the piece as a lead magnet throughout our blog and marketing site.”
3. SAP’s Sapphire Now Event
The power of influencer marketing will come as no surprise to anyone involved in B2C marketing, yet B2B marketers don’t always leverage this potentially-transformative effect as often as they should.
To begin tapping into the audiences commanded by influencers as part of your own campaigns, draw inspiration from the marketing activities SAP uses to promote its Sapphire Now annual customer conference.
Moses Velasco, Chief of Strategy at Socialbakers, shares with MarTech Series that, “SAP is one of the few B2B companies to really make good use of influencer marketing. Not only do they work with industry influencers to build credibility with their audience but they also work with global celebrities, like Justin Timberlake, who was performing at the event, to extend their reach across industries and age demographics. This intelligent use of micro and macro influencers is the reason I find this campaign so interesting.”
Success with B2B influencer marketing is about more than calling up your favorite former NSYNC member. It’s about figuring out which public figures can reach your different customer segments, as well as balancing their potential impact with their cost. When done correctly — as SAP has seen — the results can be powerful.
4. Influitive’s Referral Program
Despite being a leader in advocate marketing, Influitive doesn’t just talk the talk. In fact, the B2B company grew by 650% in 2014, thanks to the referral program it put in place for its customer advocates.
More on Influitive’s referral program can be found in its Exposed e-book. But you don’t have to use the program to take advantage of the same principles. If you have satisfied B2B customers, a properly-constructed referral program can help you turn these relationships into new leads and revenue.
Whether you ask for referrals outright or build an automated referral capturing program, consider carefully when you’ll time your ask and whether or not you’ll incentivize referrals. Don’t waste precious relationship capital on a thoughtless program that customers won’t feel good about participating in.
Some B2B founders assume that a referral program can work only in the B2C space. But according to Gal Dubinski, co-founder of Prospero proposal software, that’s not always the case. “Usually, business owners know other business owners that fit your target audience because they share similar characteristics. Therefore, as long as you recruit the right referrals, a referral program can become a huge revenue generator.”
5. PathFactory’s GDPR Wars
When all else fails, leverage the power of a cultural phenomenon to transform a seemingly-dull topic into something that’s highly engaging. At least, that’s the lesson that can be taken from PathFactory’s GDPR Wars campaign:
Released in support of the company’s rebrand from LookBookHQ, the GDPR Wars campaign added a fun twist to the personal data privacy and protection regulations implemented by the European Union in May 2018.
As B2B News Network editor-in-chief Shane Schick notes, “There haven’t been too many campaigns in recent memory that would make marketers feel as powerful as a Jedi knight; this one did it not with a lightsaber, but with a professional approach to opt-ins.”
Capitalize on PathFactory’s approach by finding your own playful spin that’s sure to capture the attention of B2B buyers.
6. Refract’s “Can You Coach a 10yr Old To Cold Call?” Video Campaign
Refract’s Marketing Manager Matt Hayman explains: “Standing out from the crowd presents significant challenges for B2B marketers. The risk is that in an attempt to grab attention the subtext of the content is ignored. Our initial goal with the campaign was undoubtedly to capture attention — many salespeople hate cold calling, and seeing a kid attempt it with no fear resonated powerfully. But the film, and subsequent podcast, also subtly demonstrated how a salesperson can easily surface insights from their sales activity with the Refract platform, a core part of the value prop of Refract.”
Creating Your Own Successful B2B Marketing Campaign
As you’re deciding on your own path forward, consider carefully both the resources available to you and the strategies that are most likely to resonate with the unique stakeholders of your business targets. With time, effort and research into great campaign examples like these, you’ll be able to identify the B2B marketing campaign strategy that’s most likely to drive results for your business.
Sujan Patel is a partner at Ramp Ventures and a co-founder at Mailshake. He has over 15 years of marketing experience and has led the digital marketing strategy for companies like Salesforce, Mint, Intuit and many other Fortune 500 caliber companies.
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