10 steps to building out your B2B digital advertising strategy

Want the good news?

B2B digital advertising spend is growing.

According to eMarketer in 2020, UK digital ad spend was the only medium that experienced positive growth, with more traditional media such as TV & radio taking a significant hit.

And there’s even better news for the US. As digital ad spend has grown by 22.6% across all B2B industries since 2019. Technology was the highest growing sector (29.6% increase), making this an exciting time for B2B marketers.

So what are the pros and cons of digital ad spend growth?

Let’s start with the pros:

  • More customers are using connected, online and using digital media whilst face-to-face meetings and events are on hold
  • Advertising technologies are improving and expanding, with more platforms and upgrades available than ever before
  • Integrated digital campaigns allow companies to reach customers at every stage of the buying funnel
  • More users, more data, equals opportunity for better optimised campaigns

And now for the cons:

  • The market is becoming more saturated, which means more competition
  • More traffic coming from a larger spread of platforms means a more complex demand centre
  • More ad technology options mean greater investment and pressure on budgets

It’s no longer simple. And to make the most of this time, you need a strategy.

A carefully structured, planned approach will help to maximise your resource and most of all suit your customer’s needs, based around their behaviours and what they want.

Here are the ten steps you should consider to build-out your B2B digital advertising strategy:

  1. Take a strategy reality check
  2. Take a step back, and sense check the quality, quantity and diversity of your digital advertising programmes. Are they all aligning with your overarching business and marketing objectives? Are you getting what you need in terms of KPIs? And is there the opportunity to improve, reduce waste and drive greater efficiencies within your programmes?

  3. Refocus with the customer in mind (and think about tomorrow)
  4. It’s easy to look at the technology and activity and keep going, but it’s always best to put the customer first. Know your buyers, know where they are, what media mix they’re using (it’s most probably changed during the pandemic – find out how in our recent blog post). You also need to know how they behave and where they seek value. Then build your strategy and plan of attack based around their behaviours.

  5. Interrogate your data and reporting capability
  6. Review the data you have and ask yourself – are you getting the answers you need? Data is critical to deliver better performance so it’s worth spending time to ensure that the digital architecture, conversion tracking and CRM data is all singing and syncing.

  7. Check content, assets and conversion points available
  8. When you know your buyers, re-evaluate the content and conversion points you have for them. A regular check of assets and landing pages is critical, as well as considering if there are other suitable assets to use (but think carefully about how they are planned into the programme).

  9. Check the programme is designed to maximise the objective
  10. It may seem obvious, but sense check that the programme you’re running has actually been designed to deliver what you need. A third-party review is always useful for fresh thinking and a different perspective.

  11. Ensure the platforms are working together rather than in siloes
  12. Review how you’re using the platforms and combining intelligence across each. Are there areas where you could benefit from combined data or a more integrated strategy?

  13. Evaluate the team you have and consider reskilling, upskilling or outsourcing
  14. Once you’ve evaluated your performance and reviewed your strategy, turn to your people and determine if you have the right skills mix within your team. Do you need to train the team, expand headcount or could you get the specialist skills you need more effectively by outsourcing?

  15. Collaborate with partners who can enable your vision
  16. Some things just aren’t possible in-house, so choose partners that share your vision and can support your programmes with continuous improvement, ideas and ultimately results.

  17. Review technologies available and evaluate which can enhance capability or expand capacity
  18. Be cautious with committing to technology and ensure that it drives performance rather than ties you in on a long (and unprofitable) contract. Those silver bullets for B2C are unlikely to ring true for B2B, so be aware.

  19. Ensure reporting systems are in place for thorough evaluation
  20. It’s critical that data is passed from system to system seamlessly in order to ascertain value from digital advertising. While it may seem simple, even the most sophisticated businesses we speak to still struggle connecting the dots in B2B. Focus on data syncing and the sort of reports that show ROI and you’re onto a winner.

    What’s next?

    Use these steps as a guide. If any of the steps have raised questions, you can find more information, recommendations and reviews of optimisation techniques, management principles, advertising technologies in our guide:

    Breaking boundaries in B2B digital advertising

    Take a look, and if you have any questions, get in touch. Digital advertising is our bread and butter and we’d love to discuss new trends and innovations with you.

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