Marketing hasn’t changed much since the term first appeared in dictionaries in the late 19th century. It’s still about getting stuff from the people that make it to the people willing to buy it. But what has changed—many, many times—are the tactics employed by those of us in the ever-evolving marketing profession. In the last decade or so, to state the obvious, those tactics have largely gone digital.
There’s no shortage of advice on how to master the world of digital marketing. And it all sounds so easy. You know the words; feel free to sing along:
- Start with a compelling strategy. Easy. And part of your job description.
- Then build a beautiful website. Make sure it’s optimized for SEO. And Mobile.
- Fill it with great content. “Great” often being defined as optimized for SEO while also being of interest and value to your audience.
- Don’t forget social media, with its platform quirks, audience nooks and metric crannies. Be sure to build a following by posting early and often with—you guessed it—great content that drives engagement.
- Then add your email campaigns. Make sure your lists are segmented and brilliantly managed. And keep track of those opens and clicks.
I’m sure there’s more that I’m forgetting, but you get the idea. Check those items off
and you’ll be digitally set to get your stuff into the hands of people willing to part with cash for it. OK, maybe it’s not as easy as it sounds.
What’s frustrating to most B2B marketers is that every step on the above list is important. But everything can’t be equally important at the same time. Each of those tactics can require a significant investment of resources. Strategists, researchers, project managers, writers, art directors, photographers, videographers, editors, etc.
Then there’s the technology infrastructure required––hardware and software––to pull
it all off. So that “free” Facebook page can get really spendy in a hurry.
You don’t have to do everything.
Most of us in the B2B marketing world deal with limited resources. With that in mind, here are three practical tips to get the best ROI from your digital efforts:
1. Define your objectives.
Think both long and short-term. Identify your goals and your rationale for them. And keep in mind that the real incentive behind every marketing effort is our old friend,
sales. But in B2B the sales cycle is often lengthy and with multiple stakeholders. Is your challenge awareness? Or should you focus on sales support? And what are the KPIs that will allow you to evaluate your success? Define those as well.
2. Choose tactics that align with your objectives.
If you can’t draw a line from your tactics to your objectives, you’re in trouble. This can be a challenge in an organization with competing agendas. What might be great news for shareholders could upset your dealers. You can’t make everyone happy all the time, but you can manage the campaign so all parties are clear on the objectives.
3. Be realistic about what you can support.
This goes beyond budget to personnel and bandwidth. How long does the effort need to be sustained and will it have a life beyond the immediate campaign or program? Try to avoid joining the countless zombie social media pages that haven’t had new content since 2017.
You have more leverage than you think. Use it wisely.
B2B marketers have never had more tools at their disposal, and that’s both a blessing and a curse. When anything is possible, it can be hard to prioritize tactics to get the best results. You have plenty of leverage to move your digital sales meter way to the right. Just remember that you don’t have to use all the tools in your toolbox. At least not all at once.