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May 1, 2024

Why your B2B digital marketing strategy is falling flat – and how to change that

Becky Tugwell
Marketing Manager
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Are you feeling like your blogs and social posts are shots in the dark, fired out without a clear aim and, ultimately, missing the mark?

Or maybe you feel there are never enough hours in the day to be consistently updating your digital platforms, like you’re always catching up.

There are a number of reasons why your B2B digital strategy might be falling flat.

So, how do you keep the conversation about your brand, products, and services fresh and engaging, without sounding like a broken record? And why does it feel so challenging?

“…58% of businesses don’t have a digital strategy in place…”

It turns out, 50% of businesses don’t have a digital strategy in place. Those that do certainly aren’t immune to avoidable marketing mistakes. And, as Roger L. Martin – strategy and management expert, and author of A New Way to Think – puts it, strategy is NOT planning:

“A strategy is an integrative set of choices that positions you on a playing field of your choice, in a way that you win.”

In essence, strategy is a theory, meaning there is a ‘how’ and a ‘why’. The ‘why’ is the reason you choose to do it. And the how, is the way you plan to beat your competition – playing to your organisation’s strengths to gain opportunities and sidestep risks.

Why do you need a digital strategy?

Every business will have different aims, but here are some reasons you might want to dial up your digital strategy:

1. Your competition is growing a strong following and gaining market share

Digital platforms give you the opportunity to test what works and what doesn’t, helping you hone your messaging and stay competitive. If your competitor is gaining traction online, it’s likely no accident – you can bet they have a solid strategy in place.

2. You’re under pressure to do more with less where your marketing budget is concerned

Compared to traditional OOH marketing, TV and print, digital marketing can offer low-cost opportunities to reach even more people – both organic and paid. A robust digital strategy will help you prioritise where you spend that limited budget to maximise returns.  

3. Your sales and marketing teams don’t have enough data to confidently modernise their approach

It’s a misconception that B2B sales are all about meeting rooms, suits and handshakes. In fact, a recent report from Sana found that 58% of B2B buyers prefer placing complex and high-value orders online. By harnessing the power of data in your digital strategy, you can learn a lot about your audience and their preferences. This has the power to transform your marketing communications, your sales patter and direct messaging, and dictate how and where you choose to advertise.

4. Your audience needs your products or services, but they don’t know it yet

Sometimes an extra step of awareness and education is needed to nurture prospective customers. If you have products or services that require a bit more explanation, digital marketing offers numerous opportunities to build anticipation and understanding, guiding them into the next stage of the funnel. LinkedIn advertising is a particularly effective way to educate a B2B audience.

How will you plan your strategy, to ensure success?

“Invest deeply in understanding the problem before proceeding. You create a strategy; you don’t pick one. Design and imagination are critically important to strategy.” - Richard Rumelt, Good Strategy/Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why it Matters.

Diving deep into the complexities of your industry and consumer behaviour isn't just helpful – it's essential groundwork for crafting your B2B digital marketing strategy.

You’re battling lengthy sales cycles, multi-seat buying committees, and high-stakes transactions. So, it’s crucial to nurture your audience with a well-thought-out digital marketing strategy.

This means catering to every key audience persona, at every stage of the marketing funnel – from awareness, right through to decision.

Equally, business-to-business marketing is a competitive game. Developing an effective B2B marketing strategy requires an in-depth understanding of not only your industry and audience, but your competition.

Once you have your market research in place and a solid understanding of the pain points your audience is facing, you can figure out how you want to position yourself.

Key challenges when developing a B2B digital marketing strategy:

  • Buyers often face decision fatigue from seeing too many similar products with none standing out. Figuring out your unique perspective and differentiators in a saturated B2B market can therefore prove tough. It requires pinpointing an area of focus that you know your competition isn’t talking about.

  • Buying behaviours can change, influenced by economic factors, cultural shifts, and values-driven buying. Some of these are out of your control, but ensuring your brand is authentic and human will improve loyalty, helping you weather these social transitions. Promoting your values and brand via social media can be a great way to forge genuine connections with your audience, and build trust.

  • The rapid evolution of tech and the introduction of generative AI to the workforce has been both an advantage and disadvantage to businesses in many ways. ChatGPT, for example, can help you summarise, plan and focus your ideas, but it cannot guarantee the data it provides is original, authentic or reliable. So, it’s best your content strategy doesn’t rely too heavily on AI content creation.

  • Resources and time constraints can be a major factor for many businesses trying to develop a digital marketing strategy. We are lucky enough to have an in-house team of graphic designers, copywriters, videographers, web designers and developers, but we know that isn’t the case for every business. So finding ways to create high-quality content appropriate for your brand can be a real challenge.

  • With the introduction of Google Consent mode V2 and the death of the third-party cookie… regulatory and privacy challenges are becoming more of a barrier to connecting with your audience, but they’re incredibly important changes that protect consumers against intrusive marketing and security risks. When developing a digital marketing strategy, it is very important to remain compliant across all platforms to avoid unwanted financial penalties.

What to do?

1. Choose the channels you want to reach your customers on

Where can you find your audience? How do you want them to engage?

2. Develop a content strategy

Provide content that speaks to your audience in every stage of the buyer journey: awareness, consideration, decision, as well as making it unique and reflective of your brand. What value are you adding to your audience? How is your content going to solve their problems?

3. Use paid promotion to your advantage

Decide where you want to put your budget that will be most effective for you. For instance, do your customers mainly search for your product on Google? In that case PPC may be the most viable option. Or perhaps you offer a product that appeals to Gen Z – if so, consider TikTok, Instagram or Snapchat. Be sure to track your spending and the conversion rate to optimise wherever possible and get the most bang for your buck.

4. Map out the customer journey

Use tools like Hotjar and GA4, and any other analytics tools you’re subscribed to, and map the journey of your customer from awareness of your brand (social media engagement, for example) and first website visits right through to purchase.

5. Decide which tools best meet your aims

Ensure you research marketing tools carefully before subscribing, and select ones that most seamlessly slot into your processes, providing the most efficient and effective support for the least investment.

6. Get your hands on as much data as possible

Use it to evaluate the effectiveness of your digital marketing strategy, which should be flexible enough to adapt with your findings. Then, be sure to make use of A/B testing to find out how your data works in practice.

Not sure where to start?

Chat to us today for a free consultation and we can provide some tips to help breathe new life into your B2B digital marketing strategy, boost engagement and get you those all-important conversions.