B2B Marketing In the Digital Age

Posted by Eric Scism

The Current Landscape

If you talk to most marketers today they will tell you that they are inundated everyday with new channels, technologies, and tactics that are sure to enhance their marketing efforts. Surely you’ve heard the old wives’ tale “SEO is Dead”? I’ve even heard stories such as: “If you’re not on Periscope, then you’re getting left behind in the digital age of marketing.” I’ve read marketing “gurus” tell us that you have to be EVERYWHERE and be there all the time because you never know where a customer might need your services! That sounds exhausting, doesn’t it?

Now, while I do believe that could be the case for some businesses, it’s just simply not true for the majority. My firm stance is “Be Where You Can Own It.” If you can dominate your marketing efforts across 18 different social channels, email marketing, SEO and trade shows, then do it and write a book to show us all how we can follow in your footsteps. If you can’t, then take a more focused approach and own the channels, technologies and tactics that really drive that top 80% of your business.

Let me throw some stats at you. According to Media Bistro, on average B2B marketers are utilizing 6 different social media platforms! According to that same study Social Media is the preferred marketing tactic compared to articles, newsletters and blogs. However, if you ask Demand Centric they will tell you, “Content marketing generates 3 times as many leads as traditional outbound marketing, but costs 62% less.” We can find stats everywhere that tell us we should be utilizing one tactic versus all the others.

Understanding the current digital landscape honestly comes down to knowing what tools are at your disposal and which tools work best for you and your business. All of these channels, technologies and tactics are just that, tools that can help you achieve your marketing goals and objectives. We’re going to walk you through how to get started and how to make decisions on the best options to help your business.

Let’s Get Started

Because it’s the beginning of the year, it’s a great time to start setting goals and resolutions for your marketing. We all know the old adage “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” (most often credited to Benjamin Franklin), but one of my favorite credits of the saying goes to Sir Winston Churchill. They didn’t have the internet and time stamps back then, so who knows which one actually said it?

Let’s start planning our digital marketing takeover by creating a S.M.A.R.T. goal for 2016. If you don’t know what that means, it’s a simple acronym as follows: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-focused, Time-bound. There have been many iterations of it, but this is the one GS&F sticks to most often. Thinking through 2015 marketing goals, where did you fall short? Where did you succeed? Let’s build off of those as we write goals for this year.

How about this goal as a jumping off point:

Increase sales from digital channels by 15% over 2015 numbers by the end of 2016.

Now this is a S.M.A.R.T. goal! It’s specific—it tells us exactly what we want to do. It’s easily measurable (assuming you can track sales). It’s achievable—15% is a substantial increase but doable if you’re disciplined. Definitely results-focused, it’s not aspirational such as “I want to be a better marketer.” It’s time-bound—get it done by December 31, 2016! Using this as our overarching marketing goal for 2016, let’s dig into it a bit deeper and see how we can start formulating our strategy and aligning tactics to get there.

Using Historical Data

Ideally, you already know which digital channels are driving most of your sales. Either you’re using some form of a database or a CRM package that tracks this information. If not, we’ll touch on that in the Leveraging Technology section. For now, though, let’s take some example data from Google Analytics that displays our hypothetical leads from digital channels in 2015.

january-b2b-google-analytics

This data is telling us that 67% of our goals/leads came in through Google organic traffic (SEO traffic). 10.5% came from direct site traffic, someone putting in yourdomain.com into their browser. So on and so forth down through some rather obscure traffic sources.

Break It Down

Analyzing this info we can determine a few things. Based on this data set, we know that approximately 1,400 goals were completed in 2015.

Let’s take a hypothetical formula of lead conversions > to closed sales. We know that 2 out of 10 leads convert to closed sales. Each sale is worth $1,500. That math is pretty simple.

20% x 1,400 = 280 closed sales


280 x $1,500 = $420,000 in sales revenue

Now we need to determine our 2016 goal based on 2015 sales.

$420,000 x 15% = $63,000

$420,000 + $63,000 = $483,000

A $63,000 increase doesn’t seem like that big of a jump in sales to accomplish, right? However, we need to break it down one more time to see how many additional leads we need to drive to hit our goal.

$483,000 / $1,500 = 322 closed sales

322 / .2 (Lead to Conversion %) = 1,610 leads

We need to create 210 extra leads, without losing pace of the 1,400 leads from 2015. All in all, we need 1,610 leads for 2016 to hit our S.M.A.R.T. goal. That is definitely doable! Now we have our goal so we can start looking at how we’re going to strategize across channels, technologies, and tactics to drive this goal home in 2016.

What to Expect

If there is a new channel, technology or tactic that you’ve been wanting to try, then now is the time to do it. Just remember that it needs to ladder back up to your overall marketing objective and goals!

In this series, we’re going to talk about Digital Channel Integration, Leveraging Technology, Calculating ROI, and How to Sell all of this into your C Suite/decision makers up top. Each section will go into detail on each topic to give you more than a high level view. We’re going to dive in and get our hands dirty to show you how to beef up your B2B marketing for 2016!