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What’s going to make B2B marketers happy? Conversions and qualified leads are a good place to start. 

Meanwhile, they’re not getting what they want from digital advertising campaigns. 

A new Demandbase study found 71 percent of B2B marketers believe their organization’s digital advertising frequently fails to meet their expectations. The Demandbase Ad Waste survey was conducted by Wakefield Research among 500 B2B marketers at the manager level or higher, at companies with 250 or more employees, through an email invitation and an online survey.

Demandbase is an Account-Based Marketing (ABM) provider headquartered in San Francisco.

B2C Wrong Route

Peter Isaacson

Maybe if they stopped deploying B2C strategies they'd be happy. While there's crossover in deployment methods between B2B and B2C, ultimately they're on different sides of the highway.

“Many B2B marketers are finding that their digital advertising fails to meet expectations because they’re relying on strategies and technology that was created for B2C marketing,” said Demandbase CMO Peter Isaacson.

B2C solutions are built to target only personas, he said. In a B2B world, buying committees can include as many as three to four decision makers. 

“For B2B marketers to build consensus early on in the buying cycle, they need to deliver personalized messages to the key accounts and stakeholders before they raise their hand,” Isaacson told CMSWire. 

“Furthermore, even though B2C technology enables B2B marketers to reach a large audience, it doesn’t provide them with the results they need to be successful. As such, B2B marketers need to look for solutions that are created specifically for B2B and deliver more effective advertising and personalization.”

Inside the Numbers

Anytime a marketing vendor releases a survey that finds that marketers are frustrated with something, take that for what it’s worth. “Hey, there’s a problem, so use our stuff to fix it.” Demandbase did exactly that in its press release yesterday.

Nonetheless, this survey had some interesting findings:

  • 96 percent admit that their digital advertising inevitably reaches a significant number of people outside of their intended target, leading to ad waste
  • 89 percent agreed that their digital marketing mix is not optimized and a different mix would yield better results
  • More than 50 percent measure success by conversion rates and cost per impression, much like B2C would 

“We were surprised to find that more than 50 percent of B2B marketers measure success based on metrics like conversion rates or cost-per-impression, which are typically used for B2C marketing,” Isaacson told CMSWire. “For B2B marketers to deliver more high quality leads to sales and prove ROI, they need to measure everything at the account level. This means basing performance on metrics like pipeline, close rates, funnel velocity and lift.”

Quick Tips

So what can you take from this survey if you’re a B2B marketer?

Don’t target visitors with irrelevant display advertising. Isaacson said 85 percent of B2B web traffic is composed of people that are never going to buy your product. They’re friends, family, partners, etc. 

“However, many companies still retarget these visitors with display advertising that’s simply irrelevant,” he said.

Use a mix of digital ad programs. It’s the most impactful for B2B companies, Isaacson said, because it enables them to communicate more effectively with current customers and prospects.

“An example of a successful marketing mix might include website or SEO, direct response, mobile, social, display and native ads, and video,” he said. “Moving forward, B2B companies should invest more in website and SEO, social, mobile and direct response.”

B2B marketers certainly seem to have their work cut out. 

New Content Marketing Institute research last week found B2B manufacturers are getting worse at content marketing. Only 18 percent of B2B manufacturing organizations say their content marketing programs are effective. Last year, 26 percent said so.