This study concludes that companies which fail to show up strongly in these environments are underserving potential customers, risk losing mindshare and sales opportunities. For display advertising industry-specific trade sites alongside business networking communities provide opportunities to reach the desired audience efficiently and across country borders. In a similar way to Facebook, B2B marketing on business networking communities such as LinkedIn can be targeted by information that members enter into their profile. Such as industry type, seniority, job function, company etc. This level of targeting yields almost no wastage.
However, you must remember you are talking with professionals in professional environments – so general, non-specific advertising will not be well received. This audience is most responsive to useful and relevant communications that they can use to benefit their job.
- For a Dagmar Global Connections travel advertiser we communicated to travel professionals about important upcoming changes to their fare structures.
At a basic level you can show this audience standard banner adverts and direct mails, but things get more interesting when you start conversations with your target audience: content creation.
In Finland, 89% of directors and senior white-collar workers use the internet to find information. 76% of private-sector decision-makers have used social media and nearly half have read conversations and comments about products and services online. Outside of Finland, BuyerSphere 2012 research revealed that in addition to search and WOM, online communities such as LinkedIn are important channels to find information to support decision-making. The study also revealed that 21% of the B2B buyers have used social media at some point of buying process.
Business networking communities offer a unique opportunity for you to have a direct conversation with your target audience, and it doesn’t require extensive resources or commitment. Members are identifiable, accountable, and representing their company in a way – so ‘trolling’ and excessive negativity is unlikely.
To break the ice with your target audience you should be authentic in your conversations and not have any preconceived plans as to where the conversations should lead. Have strong points of view and try not to let various levels of internal checking/approvals dilute your story.
- For a Dagmar Global Connections heavy-industrial advertiser we sought their professionals’ opinions about future challenges to their industry.
Marketing within business networking communities should be in addition to an on-going presence within established industry-specific magazines and their websites, SEM, as well as suitably targeted placements on traditional business news websites.
Just as with B2C campaigns, it is important to define clear KPIs before the campaign starts. Adserve and track as much as possible so all of the campaign’s effects can be identified: be it votes in polls; comments/likes to articles; openings of mails; downloads of white papers; or requests for contact. To take measuring to the next level, evaluate behaviour and thus recognise different stages your potential customers are in the buying process and follow through. Marketing automization tools can help manage leads by recognising interest points and taking conversation further towards to the desired goal.
For more information on how Dagmar’s B2B marketing solutions can benefit your business, please contact Anni Sirén (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Joe Woods ( email@example.com).
Sources: Global Festival of Media 2013; BuyerSphere Report 2012, The annual survey of changing B2B buyer behaviour; DiViA: Digitaalisen markkinoinnin barometri 2013 (DiViA research; Barometer of Digital Marketing 2013); The Digital Evolution in B2B Marketing, 2012 – Research Conducted by CEB Marketing Leadership Council in Partnership with Google; TNS Päättäjä Atlas 2012