3 Underutilized B2B Advertising & Marketing Channels

By
Elizabeth Scolari
August 16, 2016

As manufacturing and distribution continues to evolve, a range of new B2B advertising and marketing opportunities have arisen. B2B advertising channels that were previously seen as being of use only to B2C companies are now driving increased sales for those in the B2B sphere. In particular, the widespread adoption B2B eCommerce by manufacturers and suppliers, with B2B eCommerce sales expected to top 1.13 trillion by 2020, has meant that digital marketing channels have grown increasingly important. Yet they remain underutilized by many small and medium-sized B2B companies. In this post, we’re going to look at three key marketing and advertising channels that both manufacturers and suppliers can use to boost sales from new and established customers. Adopting new channels, or tailoring those you currently use to better suit the modern landscape can give you a key competitive edge.

B2B Advertising & Marketing

1. Email as a primary B2B advertising channel

Email is a mainstay of most suppliers’ and manufacturers’ marketing arsenal, and it might seem somewhat out of place on a list of “underutilized” channels. Yet whilst suppliers in particular are heavily reliant on their mailing lists for communicating with their customers, often using it as the exclusive method for promoting new offers, discounts and products, not all are taking advantage of the new opportunities that modern email marketing software and new digital eCommerce platforms have created. Email marketing boasts the highest ROI of any marketing channel, with a return of $44.25 per $1 spent. Segmentation, analytics and testing functionalities can be used to tailor and adjust email marketing campaigns to better meet specific customer demands and pains. Also worth mentioning is the fact that email marketing works particularly well when combined with an eCommerce platform. Email often assumed a purely informational role and conversions and engagement was difficult to measure. With the rise of B2B eCommerce, however, customers are able to click through to tailored landing pages, special member areas and more in-depth promotional materials. This allows suppliers and manufacturers to take an increasingly data-driven and customer-centric approach to their email marketing.

2. Social media transitioning from B2C to B2B

Social media holds a reputation for being a customer-facing marketing channel. Yet one study cited by Forbes outlines how B2B salespeople who use social media perform 78% more effectively than their peers who eschew platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn. With a growing number of high-level business executives using social media, particularly for research prior to buying, suppliers can’t afford not to expend resources on maintaining their own social profiles and advertising strategies. One study from Sacunas shows that 85% of millennials use social media to conduct research as part of the B2B buying process. Social media also has a broader use for B2B companies in terms of building brand awareness, for both B2B customers and end consumers. Many manufacturers and suppliers are underutilizing social media marketing by not accounting for all its potential uses. Suppliers should understand that a strong social media marketing infrastructure is one that accounts for a broad range of customer needs. Amongst other aims, posts and updates should cater to those conducting research, work to foster relationships with new clients, and also aid in building a positive consumer-facing brand identity. Social media advertising on platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn can also help manufacturers and distributors target their customer base through display ads.

3. Mobile-focused advertising becoming increasingly important

Mobile use amongst those in the B2B sphere is on the rise. Many corporate and retail buyers are using mobile devices to make regular orders, particularly in regards to mobile eCommerce (or M-Commerce). This shift towards increased mobile buying offers opportunities for suppliers to gain new customers whilst also marketing to current ones. A range of mobile-specific features, like push notifications, allow for speedy communication, whilst the integration of mobile eCommerce platforms with third-party apps allows for near-effortless sharing and referrals. The prevalence of mobile usage is also an opportunity for B2B marketers to target traditional advertising methods, like paid ads, at mobile users. One study, for example, shows how B2B buyers are particularly susceptible to mobile ads, with 41% of B2B tech buyers responding to at least one ad over a six month period. Another report by Forbes also suggests that 52% of B2B executives are comfortable with placing orders via a mobile platform.   What are your thoughts about underutilized advertising channels? Let us know in the comments section below!