Digital Tools for B2B

Many B2B clients adopted the Internet long before consumer brands. Email, banner ads and text links do the pushing to encourage customers to respond. Incentives, special offers, discounts and other sales promotion tools facilitate the pulling through the next stage of the pipeline. Whether it’s used strictly for information or for direct selling, the Internet provides B2B marketers with tremendous advantages over “traditional” media, including the following:

  • Provides more detailed information that you can’t fit into an ad.
  • Shows streaming video, animation, and interactive media.
  • When used as part of an integrated personalized direct mail program using PURLs, it can build customer relationships faster than with traditional methods.
  • Includes links to co-op partners and/or affiliated companies.
  • Provides updated product information such as spec sheets, catalogs, parts forms, and troubleshooting guides that can be downloaded.
  • Delivers company news; announces new promotions and special offers.
  • Sets up merchant accounts for direct sales.
  • Identifies dealers, shows their locations, and provides links to their sites.
  • Tracks inquiries, builds databases, and establishes customer relationship management (CRM) programs.

The following table, adapted from a presentation by B2B consultant Holger Schulze, shows the new world of B2B marketing communications.

Adapted from Advertising Creative: Strategy, Copy, Design, 4th edition, Tom Altstiel and Jean Grow

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The above table shows a direction, not a destination for B2B marketers. While few companies embrace all the above trends, we are moving away from the old “spray and pray” approach–throw as much stuff out there as we can afford and hope someone gets the message. Marketers who take advantage of new technology will forge stronger, more personal relationships with customers with measureable results.

When building a B2B site, don’t forget the three things you need to accomplish—get them to come, get them to stay, and get them to come back. When you want to drive customers to your site, trade ads, direct mail, articles in trade publications, banner ads on other sites, and all the other tactics used in business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing apply. As far as keeping them there, the focus should be on education, motivation, and generating action, not entertainment. Even if viewers feel like playing games, watching videos, and reading blogs, chances are their bosses would rather see them downloading specs, comparing prices, and saving time on the web. When you want to get them to come back, it’s the same as with consumer sites—keep the content fresh and let them know you have a new product or service worth checking out. Businesspeople are looking for updated sites that offer a wide range of web-based tools for sales leads, direct mail marketing, telemarketing, and CRM.

Watch for Advertising Creative,
4th edition–
January 2016.

For more detailed information about digital design for B2B sites contact Temo Xopin, Digital Art Director, PKA Marketing (temo@pkamar.com); Twitter:@TemoXopin. For information about B2B marketing, contact Bill Elverman, Vice President/Public Relations Director at PKA Marketing (bill@pkamar.com); Twitter: @IndustrialPrGuy

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