With each evolutionary step the web takes, business-to-business (B2B) marketers face a challenge. Do you shift your focus to shiny and new marketing resources, or do you continue investing in the tried-and-true?
This is especially challenging for B2B marketers because much of the buzz surrounding the latest web tools is often aimed at consumers—typically younger consumers. Determining the balance of new versus traditional resources can be a difficult decision and one that you must make in the context of your specific industry. Look at the ways your potential customers use the web for research, discovery and decision-making.
One good rule of thumb is to use social media as an outpost wherever you find your customers. If you discover a concentration of people in your industry actively use one particular social media service, such as LinkedIn or Twitter, make sure to provide a steady flow of updates, helpful links and, especially, links to news stories you post on your business’ website.
Your B2B social media outposts support your brand
While there are many exceptions, for most B2B marketers, social media platforms are more likely to be used as ancillary outposts for reaching and serving existing customers. While consumer social media efforts often define “engagement” in terms of contests, coupons and puppy videos, B2B marketing objectives are typically focused on supporting and strengthening an existing customer relationship.
Being able to answer questions on a social media platform can display to customers, both new and old, that you support them and are committed to helping them understand and use your products. That, of course, makes it important to be responsive to the comments generated on such platforms.
Your website is your brand’s home on the web
While social media is an effective marketing tool, your website plays a more critical and important role: It’s your brand and product’s home on the web. It is you.
It’s where prospective customers seek information about your product or service, your history and your brand story. And, according to research about the customer journey, the customer’s early research focuses more on learning about the possible solutions available with those products or services. If your website has helpful information presented clearly and concisely, potential customers will treat the content with a high degree of trust and credibility.
And unlike social media marketing, using advertising in traditional media such as industry magazines and leading industry websites helps bolster the brand of the marketer, rather than compete with the social media platform.
Marketing in the era of multi-channels
Today, the options for how to allocate your marketing resources seem endless.
Determining the right mix of media—social or print, virtual or live—is an on-going experiment and “dance” between you and your customers. They will help you discover what works best for them.
Seeking a balance between new and traditional marketing options will always be a challenge. Listening to your customers and verifying your intuitions with research can help you build upon your current foundation and experiment with new opportunities.