Who's targeting what and where in B2B marketing? And what works? Depends on who you ask. LinkedIn is hot for B2B. No, actually Twitter's gaining steam. Banners ads are not dead. Yes they are.
Demandbase, a B2B marketing software provider, spent last year analyzing how verticals are targeting prospects. It tracked 2013 campaign strategies and spend from its customer base of B2B marketers spanning over 20 vertical industries.
Any surprises? "Software technology has always been a high-activity vertical when it comes to business marketing and advertising," Demandbase CEO Chris Golec told CMSWire, "so it was interesting to see a change in this pace with other industry players, such as financial services and manufacturing, stepping up their game in online advertising."
Vertical Growth Spurt
Why the uptick in spending for financial services, manufacturing and software and technology verticals?
They're adopting account-based marketing and the increasing sophistication of tools that enable B2B marketers to hyper-target ads and increase the level of personalization on B2B Websites, the study results found.
Up until now, these tactics have been consumer-based, mostly, Golec said. Now, audience identification, targeting, real-time bidding (RTB) and personalization are empowering B2B companies to laser-target and engage their customers with customized messages across the Web and through to their corporate Website.
We asked Golec why this survey stands out from others, and how can it help.
He said the survey gives business marketers a chance to see how their own and other industries are faring when it comes to targeting the companies they want to reach.
"Furthermore, our data shows how audiences are being segmented based on industry, so this data can help marketers from various verticals," he said. "For example, financial services has seen most success by segmenting by revenue and software companies target companies based on the technologies they deploy than any other vertical."
Other Survey Findings
- Three most common attributes used to segment and target audiences included: industry, revenue and/or a specific list of businesses from the customer’s first-party CRM data
- Financial services industry saw the most significant growth rate in B2B advertising, with a 144 percent increase in 2013 over 2012. Financial services companies were also the most likely to target audiences by revenue (82 percent) more than any other attribute
- Marketers from manufacturing companies were most likely to target companies based on the industry (91 percent). However, this sector was the least likely to personalize the creative of their ad and carry that personalization through to the Website
- More than any industry, software and technology companies have been early adopters of account-based marketing. As a result, they have holistically incorporated their marketing to a specific set of pre-identified companies throughout the entire lifecycle from acquisition, retention and growth. It is also more likely than any other sector to target business buyers on Facebook
Karl Wirth, CEO/founder of Evergage, told CMSWire that in addition to the kind of attribute-based targeting that Demandbase mentions, Evergage is seeing businesses gain substantial lift (up to 75 percent for targeted segments) by targeting their visitors based on their behavior.
"Visitors are at very different stages of interest," Wirth said. "The best gauge of this is behavior. For example, a frequent reader of blog articles of a certain category, when targeted with relevant white papers or company product information related to that category, is more likely to move from browser to lead. A lead who is targeted with an ROI calculator for his particular industry or pain point is more likely to convert to a customer."
For behavior-based targeting of the Web experience, Evergage sees a similar adoption trend within B2B.
Software and technology is the most aggressive, followed by financials and manufacturing.
"In B2C however," Wirth added, "we are seeing behavior-based real-time marketing adopted equally rapidly by ecommerce, travel, lead generation and content."
Personalizing content and targeting by specific audience segment can really help "move the needle when it comes to sales," Demandbase's Golec said.
"Engagement levels seen by our customer base were very high -- almost 30 percent -- because of this laser focus," he added. "That also does not include the money saved by marketers when they select only the audience that matters most; they are preventing the wasted spend that would have gone to companies and even individuals that have no need or interest in their products or services, perhaps even the industry."
Marketers need to look at the ways they are targeting and ensure they are selecting the right audience, whether it's industry, company size or something else, Golec told us.
"Each company has specific targets, and with today's technology, it's getting much easier to segment audiences," he added. "We've also seen increased interest in targeting by specific accounts. For example, companies are bringing us a list of specific companies — and in some cases, just a handful — and targeting them as a means to accelerate those companies through the buying cycle. We expect this kind of targeting only to grow in the coming year."
Title image by alexwhite (Shutterstock).