To help you navigate the ever-evolving world of B2B marketing, we have reached out to seven industry-leading experts, each with a wealth of knowledge and experience in crafting successful B2B campaigns. In this article, these seasoned marketers will share their invaluable tips and strategies to help you elevate your B2B marketing efforts to new heights. From understanding your target audience and crafting compelling messaging to leveraging the power of data and embracing innovative digital platforms, there's loads of practical advice that will enable you to create high-impact B2B campaigns that resonate with your target market and deliver exceptional results.
So in 2023, how do you create high-impact B2B campaigns?
Digital Communications | Brand and Content marketing
“The usual suspects immediately jump to mind when posed this question: definitions, data, iteration. Yet I have this urge to say that there is something fundamental that is not to be forgotten, and that is common sense.
As an import from journalism into marketing, I have yet to shake off my stupefaction about the many terms and frameworks marketers are so fond of.
I once told an audience gathered at a Marketing conference that it was all good and well to have all of these objectives and tactics and targets, but not to forget that I could be at that moment a potential QL (MQL, SQL, an acronym associated to a dot at some point of a “funnel”) of a shoe shop, a gasfitter, any number of subscription services, etc., etc.
But, guess what, I have two kids and a mother to look after. I have an old house and a job. In other words, I am a human being. Common Sense 101 is to remember that, first and foremost.
B2B can be particularly deceptive, in that the Bs seem to hide the humans behind them. Which is a great segue into the next idea: the funny thing about marketers is, we are in the middle of two lots of humans. The other B(eing) your Boss/the people who make up your Business. They are not only human but come with added terms and frameworks (and objectives and targets).
With that in mind, I have my own simple, plain English roadmap which I have used for tackling B2B campaigns, or indeed any individual piece within it. It is called PAVE and comes in at the start (“paving the way”, as it were). It requires figuring out a whole lot ahead of the game, but it is worth it. It goes like this:
P is for Purpose. This is your business side of the equation. What is the problem we are trying to solve, the goal we are pursuing? What are we going to get out of this campaign?
A is for Audience. Insert here all you know about them.
V is for Value. This is what ties together P and A. What is the value that your campaign can add to that audience?
E is for Execution. Lots of things to consider here, but please note -and this is very important- that E comes at the end. For example, don’t come to me asking for a video. Let’s figure out PAV and then decide whether a video is the right format.
I have written about this in more detail here.”
-Yolanda is a digital strategy consultant, advising clients on digital marketing and communications strategies, with a focus on content and social media. She has a wealth of experience in the space, having worked as Head of Social Media at BBC World Service and Head of Digital Engagement at Occado group.
CEO @ Misfit Digital | Co-Founder CLINK Drink | Proud Board Member of Celebrating Abilities Not-For-Profit
“The key to creating high-impact B2B campaigns in industries with long-lead-time sales cycles is to focus on proper measurement and data-driven strategies. By doing so, you'll be able to deliver personalised content and segmentation, create more impactful ad campaigns, and make strategic business decisions based on a clear full-funnel view of your customers. In an age of economic uncertainty, this approach will give your business a competitive advantage and ensure long-term success.
1. Emphasise proper measurement:
In B2B marketing, where sales cycles can stretch on for months, understanding how your campaigns are performing is crucial. It's essential to focus on metrics that provide actionable insights, such as lead quality, conversion rates, and cost per lead. By monitoring these key performance indicators (KPIs) and leveraging personalised attribution models, you'll be able to adjust your campaigns and allocate resources more effectively.
2. Invest in personalised content and segmentation:
Once you have a handle on proper measurement, you can use the insights you've gathered to create more targeted and personalised content. By segmenting your audience based on factors like industry, company size, and job role, you can deliver content that resonates with each group's unique pain points and needs. This level of personalisation will not only improve engagement but also help nurture leads through the sales funnel more effectively and give your sales team more insight on the lead to increase the likelihood of conversion.
3. Create impactful ad campaigns:
With a strong foundation in measurement and personalised content, you can now focus on creating more impactful ad campaigns. Leverage data and insights to identify the channels and ad formats that resonate most with your target audience. Test different messaging, creative, and targeting options to refine your campaigns and maximise ROI.
4. Make data-driven strategic business decisions:
A clear, full-funnel overview of your customers is key to making informed business decisions. By properly measuring your campaigns and understanding your audience's behaviour, you can identify areas for improvement, allocate resources more effectively, and measure the true ROI of your marketing efforts.”
Katija is the current CEO and Digital Strategy Lead at Misfit Digital, a data-led digital marketing consultancy. She is also a thought leader & advisor at The B2B eCommerce Association of Australia. And if that wasn't enough, she also runs a boutique Gin Subscription Service in New Zealand, Clink Drink!
B2B Marketing Consultant | Head of Marketing at StartUp Grind Scotland | Board Member at Creative Edinburgh | Fractional CMO
“From my own experience, creating high-impact campaigns takes time, patience and genuine customer empathy. It’s all too easy for marketers to launch a campaign and later share vanity metrics of success, but to ensure real impact is made, we have to address the big question: how will this campaign be measured? In the reality of B2B marketing, it likely comes down to engaging meaningfully with your target audience, in a way that helps support sales goals. Below are my top tips for creating effective B2B campaigns:
1. Create the core content of the campaign from real customer insight.
Unfortunately there are still too many marketing campaigns that are first pitched internally as a webinar/ LinkedIn campaign / event and then are worked backwards to the question ‘what content should we use’. This is limited thinking. Prioritizing the channel is purely to amplify the message via a lever, so it should not be the first consideration. The core of the campaign must be the message and it must be relevant, helpful, unique and is built on true insights from your customer. If you get stuck, ask a customer for their advice on what content would be helpful to them and go from there. I can’t explain how many times this helped drive hugely impactful campaigns in my previous roles.
2. Think of the entire customer experience of this campaign.
They downloaded your ebook, that’s great… Now what? Take your customer along on a journey after they’ve engaged with you. Try to remember how boring emails can be, especially when they’re flooding your inbox. So if you’ve added them to a typical email sequence nurture campaign, think about how you can be creative with this engagement, so as to make them enjoy the experience rather than be frustrated. Perhaps think of how you can drip feed them insights, top tips, or insights each day to help them in their daily work life. It’s always effective to think how you can amplify the campaign after your customer has completed the call to action?
3. Connect campaigns to amplify the message and create consistency.
The most successful marketing campaigns I ran in my previous role at a B2B SaaS tech company were the campaigns that were connected. By connected, I mean they were either part of a series or they referenced each other in some way. By building campaign series, you’re creating recall, connection, deeper understanding and sometimes even expectation and excitement. By promoting campaigns in a regular cadence style, this can create momentum and your customers will look forward to the next episode, article, email or social post with the content they’re enjoying as part of their weekly routines.
4. Lastly, be brave.
B2B marketing has changed. Potential buyers can no longer be easily swayed through typical ad campaigns or basic content. B2B buyers now look for authentic content that truly helps them with their problems or the content that really speaks their language. Don’t be afraid to stand out in your message, as long as you’ve based your content off of real customer insights and understanding. With the implementation of AI generated content, it’s never been more critical for B2B marketing to prioritize creativity and individuality.”
Amy Kelly is a B2B growth marketing consultant, a Board Member of Creative Edinburgh and the Head of Marketing at StartUp Grind Scotland. Amy was previously the Director of EMEA Marketing at the B2B SaaS tech company UserTesting and also worked in marketing teams at Meta, YouTube, ITV and agencies under the Publicis group.
“Printed messages deliver a credible, we had money to spend, we’re legit receiver experience. This is especially valuable in business to business applications. Consider the case study below. The advertising company identified 125 target decision makers. They bought 125 wooden boxes and had a trophy shop engrave the receiver’s name in the top of each one. The box was fitted with a sound chip (light activated) that simulated a ringing phone.
The box was loaded with a prepaid firefly cell phone. It was preprogrammed with their sales rep’s number. The phone was charged and loaded into a foam tray lining the box. Contents were the phone, a company brochure, a business card and a letter from the sales rep. The letter included a purl (personalized url).
The purl tracked the receiver’s interaction. Personal landing pages recognized the receiver and presented preference questions. The advertising company could see exactly where the receiver started, stopped and collected data to complete the market picture. When the target completed their interaction with the personal landing pages their rep was notified by text. Reps called the target instantly completing the experience.
Of course the prepaid phone ensured a near 100% interaction. 117 of 125 called their rep before interacting with their purl. 104 receivers used the phone and completed the purl Experience.
The ROI was astounding. The marketing firm spent $36,000 to build 125 kits. The return was in excess of $17,000,000 in directly trackable new sales. In addition, one of the receivers knocked off the campaign for their own use.
The “One Call” campaign, as it came to be known, won multiple awards including the AMY which is awarded by the AMA annually. Digital cannot do this. Print is the only media that can deliver this tactile, interactive experience.”
Bill Gillespie has been in the printing business for 47 years and has been in sales and marketing since 1978. He was formerly the COO of National Color Graphics an internationally recognized commercial printer and EVP of Brown Industries an international POP company. Bill has enjoyed business relationships with flagship brands including but not limited to Apple, Microsoft, Coca Cola, American Express, Nike, MGM, Home Depot and Berkshire Hathaway. He is an expert in printing sales having written more than $100,000,000 in personal business during his career. Currently, Bill consults with printing companies, equipment manufacturers and software firms. He can be reached by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by phone (770-757-5464).
SEO Coach | Content Strategist | SEO Copywriter | Freelance Writer & Editor
“Treat your content like a Swiss Army knife. Creating a piece of high-quality content takes time and resources; if you are designing every content piece to only do one thing, then you're wasting budget.
Instead, be thrifty with your content plan, just as you would with your own money. Plan ahead, starting with the big topics that matter to your audience. Then, ask yourself:
1. What does our audience want to know about this topic?
2. Where are there overlaps in our audience's curiosity?
3. How can we cover this topic thoroughly with as few content pieces as necessary?
This kind of foresight streamlines your content production process. For example, let's say you start with an interview with an expert on a topic relevant to your business. You could take the transcript from that and create a long-form blog, optimized for SEO. Within that blog, you create a number of visual assets, which you can share on social media and email marketing... you get the idea.
If you really want to see marketing ROI, then put an end to "single-use content."”
Liam Carnahan is an SEO strategist, coach, and writer, and the founder of Inkwell Content, He is training up the next generation of SEO freelancers through his SEO Bridge Builders course. Join his mailing list, or follow him on LinkedIn, for more tips like this.
“In our shifting landscape, marketing is an evolving art, requiring creativity and strategy. While it's easy to get lost in the sea of opinion, selecting an effective and appropriate marketing strategy shouldn’t be. Developing and executing a multi-channel marketing approach has proven to be a game changer in the world of B2B marketing. A well-executed multi-channel strategy can increase your conversions, build your brand, and generate more sales leads. Let me guide you through the basics, and steps you can follow, so you can create an effective and intentional multi-channel B2B marketing strategy.
Overview of Multi-Channel Marketing:
Any coherent multi-channel B2B marketing strategy should cover a vast range of online and offline channels. This will help your brand get the most out of different platforms by targeting customers in multiple ways. Your multi-channel strategy should incorporate various communication channels such as social media, email, pay-per-click advertising, and mobile marketing. You should never rely on a single marketing channel to generate leads and drive traffic to your website.
Understand Your Company's Vision and Marketing Goals:
The first and most crucial step to creating a strategy is to understand your vision (who you are and what you want to become) and clearly define your marketing goals. Start by examining your company's current marketing needs, its product/service offering, target market, value proposition, and at its core your brand's identity. Create a list of growth objectives, then brainstorm specific marketing goals that are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. The right marketing goals will guide you throughout the strategy-building process, and help you choose the most effective channels to reach your target audience.
Create Customer Personas:
To be successful, you need to deeply understand your target audience. You need an in-depth understanding of your customer's demographics, interests, challenges, motivations, behavior, and pain points. Building customer personas can help you create the most precise message that resonates with your audience and creates an emotional connection. The ideal customer persona should be written down as a detailed narrative and help you imagine how your clients interact with the marketing channels, so you can tailor each channel and message to suit specific customers' requirements.
Develop a Content Strategy:
Content is the currency of the digital marketing world. Creating quality content is the foundation of a successful multi-channel B2B marketing strategy. Choose your messaging themes wisely and develop a content strategy that aligns with them. High-quality content should be educational, insightful, and entertaining to capture your customers' attention and drive engagement. Create varied content types, such as blog posts, case studies, videos, whitepapers, infographics, and social media posts tailored to each channel.
Select Appropriate Marketing Channels:
After assessing your business requirements, crafting marketing goals, building customer personas, and developing a content strategy, you need to select the right marketing channels to attract potential customers. A multi-channel marketing strategy may include social media platforms, email marketing, SEO, and pay-per-click advertising. Experiment with different channels, assess which ones work best, and adjust the messaging and tactics of lesser-performing channels. It's essential to measure the effectiveness of each channel through data analysis and optimization to improve ROI. You’re not going to hit the ball out of the park until you learn how to better swing your bat. Learn what works, and improve upon your weaknesses through self-education, imitation, or experimentation.
Strategy is hard and can be an intricate (and time-consuming) learning and development process, yet it's the foundation of any successful and thriving business. By following the five steps outlined above, you can craft a comprehensive and effective multi-channel B2B marketing strategy that increases conversions, builds brand awareness, and generates more sales leads. Remember, every aspect of your strategy, starting from learning goals, marketing goals, customer persona, content strategy, and channel selection should be aligned with your business objectives. Keep your clients satisfied by regularly assessing the effectiveness of your channels and constantly optimizing your strategy to maximize ROI.”
Ben Heyworth is an experienced and passionate Digital Marketers and Sales professional, exploring and mastering the heart-centered intersection of Marketing and Sales. Loves the thoughtful, and practical application of big ideas, and serving others.
Senior Supervising Consultant at Sia Partners
“Here are a few tactics I've found helpful for creating high-impact B2B campaigns that cover the whole lifecycle of customer acquisition through customer retention and referrals:
1. Conduct thorough customer research:
You must know your target audience before creating content. Conduct thorough research to understand your potential customer's pain points, goals, and challenges. This knowledge will help you create personalized content that resonates with your target audience.
2. Use targeted account-based Marketing & advertising:
Use targeted advertising to reach your ideal customers. For example, use LinkedIn, Google, and Facebook Ads to target people based on job title, company size, industry, and interests focusing on building awareness and brand recognition at the top of the funnel through educational, informative, and entertaining content.
3. Create high-quality content:
It's impossible to overstate the importance of creating high-quality content that resonates with your target audience at each funnel stage. Use various formats such as blog posts, e-books, whitepapers, case studies, and webinars to engage your target audience. The content should provide value to the reader, educate them about your product or service, and showcase your expertise. The goal is to stay on top of mind when they are ready to search for a solution.
4. Implement marketing automation:
Implement marketing automation to streamline the lead nurturing process. For example, email marketing and targeted messaging based on behavioral characteristics often provide valuable information and keep leads engaged. Personalize the messaging based on the lead's behavior and interests through Zero/ First Party Data Acquisition.
5. Leverage existing customers for referrals through Product Led Growth:
Leverage your existing customers for referrals by creating a referral program or some incentive to drive additional value by adding other users. Offer incentives such as discounts or freebies for referrals. Encourage happy customers to leave reviews and testimonials, which can be used in marketing campaigns.
A full-funnel approach to personalizing content to the target audience is essential for creating high-impact B2B campaigns. By understanding your target audience, using targeted advertising, creating high-quality content, implementing marketing automation, and leveraging existing customers for referrals, you can acquire and retain customers while maximizing your ROI.”
Mike has worked in growth marketing since 2009, most recently at Adobe, DripDrop, Sephora, Rinse (Series C consumer technology startup), GrowInvest, and the Department of Homeland Security. He is now a senior supervising consultant at aSia Partners, an award winning management consulting firm.
The invaluable tips and strategies shared by these seven expert B2B marketers serve as a compass for creating high-impact B2B campaigns. By understanding the target audience, harnessing innovative techniques, and embracing personalized approaches, businesses can elevate their marketing efforts and achieve remarkable results. With a commitment to continuous learning and adaptation, marketers can navigate the ever-changing landscape of B2B marketing, stand out from the competition, and unlock new opportunities for growth and success.