Businesses have been selling to businesses for quite some time now, but only recently has B2B marketing risen to a whole new level with advancements in online targeting, display advertising, and marketing automation. And thanks to the Web, the scale, precision, and cost-efficiency of those technologies are within reach of any B2B marketer, regardless of budget, looking to reach and educate audiences online.
However, despite the massive opportunities available and rapid pace of advancements in this discipline, what really drives success in B2B marketing can be hard to decipher. Here are seven misconceptions about what makes for truly successful B2B marketing—and ways you can steer your efforts in the right direction.
1. Branding isn't as important in B2B as it is in B2C
Actually, branding is arguably MORE important in B2B than it is in B2C. Here's why: The B2B buyer's journey has changed in the last decade, resulting in a B2B purchase process that is long and complex, and it often involves multiple decision-makers. Up to 90% of the process is done before a prospect ever engages a sales person, according to Forrester.
Against that backdrop, creating awareness through branding may be more critical in B2B than it is in B2C marketing. Yet, many B2B marketers often fall into the trap of investing only in lower-funnel lead-gen marketing programs, such as SEO, PPC, and email marketing. Those channels reach only the small portion of target audiences that are ready to engage today, whereas investments in social and targeted display advertising can offer the extended reach needed to educate the broader audience B2B marketers after.
Marketers need to deploy a balanced mix of programs to reach and educate target audiences—wherever they're consuming content online and at every stage of the buying process. So take a "full-funnel" approach that moves beyond purely lower-funnel programs to ensure you make it onto a buyer's short list.
2. Last-click measurement provides an accurate picture of where your marketing dollars are working
On average, a buyer interacts with a brand 4.3 times in the final 48 hours before making a purchase, according to Google. What does that mean? If you measure marketing value by only the last marketing touch, you risk misrepresenting marketing ROI by more than 100%.