An effective B2B advertising strategy differs greatly from any other types of advertising management. While executing a good B2B advertising strategy can be challenging, there are certain indicators that will show you, yours is on strategy.
You’ve Planned It Out
Planning a well-defined and accurate strategy is the first step towards successful B2B advertising. Typically, this involves audience mapping, media planning, message and creative planning by audience segment, and of course budgeting. A solid plan will have included a pro-forma ROAS analysis so there is an expected return on investment for the program.
You must also decide the end-game of your advertising – be it to drive more traffic towards your website or generate good leads. After you have a strategy in place, you can plan out tasks that align with your strategy and help you set your goals.
You Have Set Goals
Another important tenet of a successful advertising strategy is to see if you are meeting your marketing goals. With B2B marketing sales is our ultimate goal. And in some cases we can achieve that with self-serve B2B products. But in other cases, you will need goals that are marketing KPIs that have proven to be leading indicators of future sales. For example, brand favorability is such an indicator.
Notice, I didn’t say reach / frequency. While that is important to our media planning efforts (more below) it is not an outcome. Our goals should be marketing outcomes.
You Have Great (Relevant) Creative
B2B advertising creative historically has been, well, boring. But it doesn’t necessarily need to be. But what it does need to be is two-fold. Relevant to the audience and to the media content it’s adjacent to. And consistent across your brand.
Messaging to the audience in their language is critical for successful advertising. Messaging should begin the customer’s pain point or issue. Not your solution. Secondly, make your ad creative reflect the media property it is on. A 3 minute video will get low completion rates on LinkedIn’s feed, for example. But may be excellent in a trade publication’s online presence.
One of the important tenets you should keep in mind is the tone of your brand and applying that tone across all of your platforms where you advertise. It could be a formal tone or a casual approach with a touch of humor – whatever your brand’s tone is, it should remain consistent.
You Have Chosen The Best Media Partners
A good advertising strategy will consider the best media channels you can use to reach your target audience. Several factors determine what the best media partners will be. One such analysis is to calculate how your Ideal customers / prospects index in that partner’s particular audience.
But another important factor is how well that partner understands its audience to help you activate and grab your ICP’s attention on their platform(s). That they are willing to work with you to identify opportunities on their network(s) that drive your advertising business goals. In the digital world, are they able to work with your first party data to help optimize your campaigns.
You Make Good Use Of Paid Social
In B2B, LinkedIn is the 500 pound gorilla when it comes to paid social. The question is: Are you using it correctly? While LI’s reps will tell you to buy more tonnage. The reality to improve your ad campaigns on LinkedIn is quite the opposite. Break up your audiences into smaller segments to take advantage of LI’s targeting capabilities. Build targeted messaging variations for each of these segments to drive the best return. Typically, you should have 5-10 variations within each campaign to optimize your programs for better return.
Secondly, don’t mix metaphors. Build discrete campaigns for lead gen versus brand awareness. But build your audiences in the same segmented way so you can understand what’s moving the needle and at what cost.
The Key Takeaway
Effective B2B advertising strategy requires planning and knowledge. It is much more complex than people make it seem. But by formulating a plan, sticking to solid goals, and using effective partners – you can create a winning advertising program.