Building your B2B Fan Club

Most of our clients are continuing to exercise caution with their capital and expense spending.  That seems to be the new normal in today’s economy.  However, within progressive distributors and manufacturers there are some exceptions!  As evidence, nearly two-thirds of B2B marketers plan to increase their digital marketing spending in 2013. <Tweet This> This does not necessarily mean these marketers have deep pockets, nor have they gotten all the budget they requested.  They are not even becoming fiscally irresponsible.  However, this does mean they see opportunities for growth and are ready to take a leap.

I recently came across a Mashable infographic, which presented some 2013 planning research from B2BOnline.  The infographic outlines how and where marketers are investing—nearly half are increasing overall budgets, and nearly two-thirds are increasing digital.  While all tactics and media have their place, digital will continue to become more attractive and receive a greater slice of the marketing pie.  It is widely understood that digital tactics better support measurability and targeting, which lead to more effective marketing.

An interesting piece of the growth of digital is the rapid emergence of B2B content marketing.  For B2B brands, a compelling content marketing strategy can provide unique value to target customers and prospects.  Unlike consumer brands, most B2B companies do not want or need to generate broad based awareness. Their marketing should focus on creating advocates among target segments—think of these people as brand ambassadors for B2B.  Marketers need to give these people what they want, in the place and format most useful, at the right point in time in the consideration cycle.

The B2BOnline study and infographic have some great information about the tactics, channels, and sites being used to support content marketing.  Blogs, videos, social media, and appropriate print and digital support for in-person marketing events can all have a place in a B2B content marketing strategy.   However, these tactics really begin to pay off when they are used to distribute the right content, to the right people, in the right way.  That “right” solution has to emanate from a nuanced understanding of a target’s needs, attitudes, and behaviors—helping B2B marketers determine what will lead that person to becoming a fan and then a brand ambassador.  With decent content marketing, if you build it, they will come—once.  With great, insight-driven content marketing, if you build, they will come—and come back again at different points in their buyer journey, and tell their friends about the valuable experience.

B2B marketers fortunate enough to be among the majority whose digital marketing budgets are increasing in 2013 should apply a layer of insight, strategy, and measurement to the litany of content marketing tactics at their disposal.  That way, in 2013 they will be able to reach more of their target audience, create their B2B fan club, empirically prove the value of that fan club, and earn the right to continue growing programs in 2014 and beyond.

Have comments or questions? Contact Mark Eckman ( to discuss your B2B brand ambassador program.B2B Infographic

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