5 tips for exploring b-to-b advertising options

The opportunities available in  b-to-b marketing  have grown tremendously in the last decade, way beyond trade journals. There’s  digital advertising  – on  websites , with  third-party vendors and through other programmatic options . There are content partnerships like webinars, event sponsorships, social marketing and much more. In order for today’s b-to-b marketers to be successful, they must look a little more like their b-to-c counterparts and approach their advertising plans differently.

Ultimately, businesses are run by people so it makes sense that b-to-b marketing is starting to look and feel more like consumer marketing. An individual decides whether or not to work with another business or purchase a product. Robotic, stale marketing isn’t going to win today’s b-to-b companies any leads. It’s more important than ever to focus on building and humanizing your brand, develop creative marketing strategies akin to b-to-c and craft messaging that will emotional resonate with your target audience.

Here are a few tips for b-to-b marketers to keep in mind as they explore advertising opportunities this year.

  1. Every campaign should begin with goals and objectives, which help dictate the right advertising medium. For example, if your aim is brand awareness, online display ads make more sense. If you want to get in front of a key group of constituents, you may want sponsor a trade show they regularly attend. If you want to exhibit your CEO’s industry knowledge, you may propose a co-sponsored webinar with a trade journal.
  2. B-to-b target markets are smaller and more focused than b-to-c, so it’s critical for marketers to clearly identify their prospects, including their companies, their titles, where they are located geographically, the sites they visit/publications they read, etc. For example, let’s say the focus of your next campaign to increase sales of your brand’s boat motors. You’ll need to determine if you’d like go after boat dealers, boat builders, repairers or all groups? That should dictate next steps and media outlets to consider.
  3. We don’t recommend pigeon-holing yourself to one outlet or even media type. Depending on the campaign’s objectives, your brand’s media mix may be holistic, encompassing different outlets. Further, you’ll need to take into account several additional variables, including cost, availability, campaign timeline and overall business objectives. You may want to advertise the boat motors in a trade magazine, but also determine how else you can work with that publication. Are there event possibilities, co-sponsored content or do they have a website that runs advertising?
  4. Don’t miss an ad opportunity because it’s hard to find on Google. The SRDS.com Business Media database gives you comprehensive planning data on trade media, including print journals, websites and direct marketing lists that reach your b-to-b audience. This includes 190 market classifications. Find media that you never knew existed as well as all the information you need to consider the property and add it to your plan.
  5. Explore digital opportunities beyond websites. You probably know what some of the key sites your target audience visits are; maybe the trade journal’s digital version or a blog written by a thought leader in the industry. But have you explored whether there are third-party networks dedicated to your market? Are you involved in LinkedIn groups dedicated to your space? There are more opportunities than ever for your brand to connect with your target audience through marketing and advertising. A dash of creativity can go a long way.

Find out more about the thousands of b-to-b advertising opportunities available here.

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