The B2B buying process has changed forever. By the time a B2B consumer reaches a brand’s website, they are already past the half-way mark to their decision. Today, content marketing is one of the most effective tools in reaching B2B decision makers for its ability to tell the brand’s story while they are looking for information to influence their decision. Great content is a key component to a successful content marketing campaign—but so is content amplification. Marketers need a successful paid media strategy to amplify their content past their owned and earned networks, and place their brand in relevant channels for consumers throughout the buying process. From ideation to amplification, a turnkey media partner can ensure that the brand is seen and trusted during this critical early stage in the purchase journey with a research driven media strategy.
Be What They’re Searching For
Research from Google shows that B2B buyers are already 57% of the way down the path to a decision before performing an action on a brand website. In fact, the average B2B influencer does 12 searches prior to visiting a specific brand’s site, according to Google. Marketers need to identify where they can engage with their consumers before they reach their owned networks, early on and utilize paid search to amplify their content. Google’s study found that about 71% of B2B buyers start their search with a generic query, indicating that “they’re looking for product first, not brand”. By pairing a strong content marketing strategy with a paid search strategy, B2B marketers can create those crucial early touch points with their target audience.
Full-Funnel Content Placement
The B2B path to purchase is longer and involves more resources now than just a year ago (LinkedIn, 2015). According to eMarketer, more than one-third of B2B decision makers in the tech industry read at least six pieces of content before making a purchase. In a LinkedIn survey, 21% of respondents said social media played a very important role in their research process, and almost a third (32%) said social media was somewhat important (LinkedIn, 2015).
Producing quality content is just as important to a content marketing strategy as placing it in the best channels to reach the target consumer. Understanding what channels are driving B2B buyers to the content that influences their opinions, as well as which networks, partnerships and outlets they perceive as trustworthy can help brands reach their consumers and create meaningful touch points throughout their purchase journey.
Leveraging Cross-Device Usage Effectively
The growth of mobile is happening now and it’s happening fast, from search right to purchase. According to a Google study, 42% of researchers use a mobile device during the B2B purchasing process. Of those, there has been 91% growth in use over the past two years throughout the entire purchase journey (Google). Echoing Google’s findings, LinkedIn also reported in its Q3 2015 financial results that 55% of all its traffic came from mobile (LinkedIn, 2015).
Content can adapt to the different devices that B2B buyers use, but our research shows that marketers could still utilize mobile advertising even more effectively. Marketers globally acknowledge their need to allocate more spending to mobile, while also stating the benefits are still a bit fuzzy to them. According to a 2015 study, three quarters (76%) of B2B marketers worldwide rated their mobile marketing initiatives as “somewhat effective,” while another 14% didn’t find is effective at all. Just one in 10 rated their company’s mobile marketing initiatives as “very effective.” The same study found that 64% of B2B marketers planned to increase their mobile marketing budgets through the rest of 2015 and beyond (eMarketer, 2016). The need to invest in mobile is here. Allocating spending dollars effectively and with a strategic balance is a challenge that an experienced media partner can help navigate.
Make Your Content Even Stronger
With a research driven media strategy, marketers can reach their target audience earlier in their purchase journey and continue to build awareness throughout the entire process. Media partners have the resources to help marketers source the best content creators for their brand, as well as the expertise in amplifying that content effectively. An impactful media amplification strategy can turn a brand’s content marketing campaign into a full-funnel experience, beginning with the very first generic search.
With the B2B purchase process becoming longer and more research-laden, marketers need to adjust their strategy, both online and offline to ensure they are making impactful connections with their consumers. Stay tuned for our next blog about the media strategy that marketers globally rate as their second most effective in reaching B2B consumers … Experiential marketing.