6 Reasons Why Online B2B Advertising Is Important

Author: 
Tuan Nguyen

It’s no secret that modern marketing campaigns rarely launch without being accompanied by a major online advertising push. The positions of digital marketer and social media manager have become standard at just about every large American company.

The question is: why?

And it's not a dumb question either. We may take digital advertising channels for granted at this point, having seen them around so much, but that’s a dangerous attitude to take. The second the original motivation for an ad campaign is forgotten, so are the goals that it seeks to achieve. We’ll take some time here to explore all of our digital roots, and find some answers for that surprisingly important question.

You Can’t Afford Not To
The first reason may be the most persuasive. Unless you’ve truly managed to carve out a niche for your company, you’ll have competition, and probably quite a lot of it. And at this point in the game, you simply have to assume that they're dropping money on digital advertising.

The Internet deals a double whammy to businesses that fail to effectively advertise. First, they lose out to more vocal competitors; in a crowded room, the loudest voice is generally the one that gets noticed. Second, the net destroys the safety of physical distance, at least for many services. Companies that could have once relied on word-of-mouth and physical advertising now suddenly find themselves with overseas clones with better marketing plans.

B2B and information advertising is almost universally widespread. A 2014 study found that all told, the two fields managed to pull in $27.6 billion. That's an obscenely high number, and if you think it's about to drop, you're kidding yourself, because...

Digital Advertising Tools Are Evolving at the Speed of Light
Ad tech and marketing tech stand to be true industry monoliths over the past couple of years. Startups in the two sectors have popped up like mushrooms after a rain, sucking down funding with almost obscenely consistent success.

Just look at Engagio, a B2B automation service that recently pulled $10 million without even reaching beta testing. Or consider the pivots that monsters like Foursquare have made – moves that bring them squarely into B2B space.

Marketing tools are going nowhere but up, and companies that already understand how to leverage existing ones will stand to profit most from these advances. Willfully cutting yourself off from not only current, but potential future advantages isn't good policy if you're trying to keep a company in the black.

A Positive Campaign Can Establish Your Brand Before Contacting Clients
Sometimes, it’s not about how many people you reach, but how you reach them. We often focus on metrics such as follower counts or clickthroughs while quantifying the success of an ad campaign, but the greatest benefits are sometimes a little more intangible.

Consider advertising your digital handshake. In many instances, the first interaction a prospective client will have with you will be through an ad. Whether they actually engage with it, or simply take note of it, they're still forming an impression of you, be it good or bad.

This is easiest to see with LinkedIn, a platform that remains arguably the single most important social B2B hub. Blindly reaching out to someone via LinkedIn likely won’t score you many points, but if you do so through a well-curated account, they're likely to find common points of contact between you, each one serving as a possible testimonial to your character or abilities.

Advertising Gives You An Opportunity To Exhibit Your Company
Let’s talk content marketing. With few exceptions, effective online marketing begins with effective content. A brand’s prominence on the net is often determined by what it says as much as what it does.

Of course, it doesn’t matter what you have to say if you can’t reach your audience.

This is the difficulty that many people have with the concept of company blogs or vlogs. It’s a little heartwrenching to take the time to write an article or record a video, then simply see it dribble out into space, completely ignored.

Digital advertising prevents that. Let's look at a surprising poster child of content marketing to illustrate that point. GE isn't exactly a group you'd expect to see gorgeous photos from, but the utilities giant has one of the prettiest Instagrams around, fully populated with soaring vistas and picturesque windmills.

In doing so, they’ve grown a brand personality out of a handful of photos. That unexpected appreciation of beauty allows them to break the mold of uncaring, environmentally clueless corporate monolith – it's PR gold, and it came around because they found an opportunity to post quality, relevant content, then pushed the heck out of it via Instagram.

Budgets Can Be As High Or As Low As You Want
Social media is the ultimate advertising vehicle for a cash-strapped company. Sure, it's possible to blow enormous amounts of money on a B2B campaign – plenty of companies do, and we won't pretend that they'll likely have vastly better results – but that's no excuse for smaller companies to skip out on digital advertising.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and other popular channels all offer vast amounts of potential for a canny marketer. Even the pros use them at high clips; around 90% of B2B organizations depend on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn as ad channels.

It Works
That's the final word on the subject. We’ll run through a couple case studies to wrap.

  • Email marketing agency Constant Contact rose to prevalence partly off the back of an innovative Pinterest campaign that drew 18,000 followers in two years.
  • Sage, an accelerator, looked to reach out to small, growing companies. A combination of savvy content marketing and PPC campaigning managed to pull in 578,000 engagements with their various posts, representing an enormous, newly tapped well of clients.
  • DocuSign, a transaction management firm, basically grew 25% overnight after a LinkedIn email campaign targeted at executive officers brought in a flood of new customers.

It’s not easy to hit these heights, and few companies ever do. But while digital marketing isn't an assurance of success, it's definitely a path to it. There's not a B2B company around that can't benefit from a well thought-out campaign. So start thinking – there's no better time than now.

Tuan Nguyen is a long-time online marketer, and as the founder of 20DollarBanners, an acknowledged guru in the field of banner marketing. He’s also the founder of Aplusmedia, a web design and marketing firm.