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When it comes to digital marketing budget for business-to-business (B2B), there are always more places to spend than there are dollars. It can be difficult to know that your bases are covered and that your decisions well position your team and your company to both build on achievements made and explore new opportunities.
Here are 7 areas you should focus your B2B digital marketing budget in 2020 (and perhaps beyond):
Your marketing technology stack is the engine fueled by your digital strategy, and making sure the engine has the power and efficiency to carry your organization forward effectively is key going into 2020.
Consider beefing up what you’re already doing while looking for opportunities to build your stack – both vertically and horizontally – to take things to the next level.
Investing in review, analysis, updates and upgrades to your customer relationship management (CRM), marketing automation, email automation, analytics systems and configuration will help you keep up. Going deeper in personalization, A/B testing, and social media scheduling will drive richer connection with prospective leads, and can be a distinguishing factor in B2B. With that foundation, make sure that you’re leveraging newer techniques such as progressive profiling and predictive content.
These are the marketing stack players worth keeping an eye on as we transition to 2020:
A/B Testing & Personalization
Social Media Automation
More and better content has always been an improvement, but as we transition into 2020 that momentum continues and remains a key focus area for your digital marketing budget and strategy. Investing in articles, blogs, white papers, and other website content remains an important part of digital marketing strategy, and there are no shortcuts to getting there.
Meaningful content should connect with and relate to your prospects at various points in their buying cycle, revealing deep understanding of the problems they face and how the solutions you provide solve those problems.
Be sure you have a smart content strategy that includes personas for your target audience as well as a content plan including specifics for how to engage them. Consider putting your best content behind a gate to capture additional leads.
In addition, make sure you extend your content marketing plans beyond your initial website launch. A common mistake is to start strong but neglect to plan for continued content publication, updating and removal of out-of-date material.
Content marketing done right won’t just draw in your audience and advance them on the buying journey, it will also provide SEO benefits to your website.
Interactive calculators — either standalone or woven in as part of a larger content group — have become important elements in helping B2B prospects move along the purchase path. When supported by quality interaction design and good content, they can bring you a great return and thus are a key focus area for 2020.
Interactive calculators provide heightened engagement, build trust with users and can be powerful lead generators.
Whether on your homepage, integrated into your product or service sections, on landing pages or elsewhere, interactive calculators can be a way to increase lead generation without having to execute a broader website redesign. They also provide myriad promotion opportunities, including via search ads, banner ads, newsletters and other content campaigns.
Not only can B2B digital marketers realize gains from social media, it may be their most effective marketing channel. Given this, it makes sense to remain a key focus as we flip our calendars to 2020.
Consider the following use cases in your 2020 B2B approach:
Apply these considerations across social media platforms – particularly with the more-established players such as Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and so on. Make sure your plan fully supports continued engagement with your existing audiences.
As platform fatigue among users becomes more of an issue, B2B digital marketers should consider integration with newer platforms, including TikTok. The video-editing and sharing platform skews younger, though as it continues its explosive growth, it is expected to gain traction with older audiences as well. While it’s still clearly in its early days, it is already catching on with some major brands.
While it’s been a key part of B2B digital marketing for some time, it has remained relevant and will continue to do so in 2020 and beyond. While the number of searches has flattened, there is still a large audience out there with questions you can help answer.
Make sure your budget continues to cover the basics and that you continue to analyze performance and adjust your SEO strategy accordingly. If you’re just starting out, there are some good guides to help you starting with a foundation accessibility and good content.
Going into 2020, a few areas are increasing in importance and helping B2B prospects connect with solutions. Evaluate your performance in the following areas to help identify improvement opportunities:
Online video continues to expand and has some exciting new trends that make it a smart place to spend your B2B digital marketing dollars going into 2020.
As audiences grow and consume more video than ever, your organization should focus on delivering the right video content on the right platform at the right time. Trends driving deeper engagement include “stories” in social media, 360 degree videos delivered by virtual reality, and personalized videos.
One of the strengths of video is not only that it’s highly engaging, but it is easily distributed across social networks as well as on your own website.
Your website remains the foundation of your B2B digital marketing and should be updated, enhanced, refreshed, and perhaps redesigned as part of your 2020 plan. It is your best online lead generation tool, so you want to make sure that it’s secure and effective for your digital marketing team and your audience.
The following are some important signs that your website needs more attention in 2020 than it received in 2019:
A full website redesign can address all of these issues and bring modern features such as AI-generated and personalized content to your B2B digital marketing portfolio. A new website can also modernize your website security and reduce the likelihood of successful intrusion and data loss.
If your design problems are less severe (ie., you’ve accounted for most of the B2B website must-haves), you may find that a refresh is enough to address your most-pressing issues.
Being smart and efficient with your B2B digital marketing budget isn’t easy. You have to know what’s working, what’s not, and have a good sense of where things are going.
Make sure your marketing technology stack and website are effective and easy to use, that you are investing in the right content for the right audience, and that you’re structuring and distributing that content in ways that make it easy for your customers to find. And, throughout the year, keep an eye out for ways to make things better.
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