Many industries are marked by rapid technological advancements, changing regulations, and increased competition and standing out in a crowded market has never been more challenging—or critical. The key to thriving is a multifaceted marketing strategy that aligns with your brand’s core values and resonates with your target audience.
In Sagefrog’s 2024 B2B Marketing Mix Report, we found that B2B marketers’ top objectives for the year ahead are brand awareness, lead generation, client retention, and sales support.
Explore nine essential B2B marketing strategies that can help companies succeed in all of these areas in 2024. From establishing a consistent brand identity to leveraging cutting-edge channels like webinars and podcasts, these actionable insights aim to accelerate your success in an increasingly competitive field.
- Establish a Consistent Brand Identity
- Spend Time Researching Your Ideal Customers
- Generate Direct Leads through Targeted Outbound Channels
- Build Inbound Channels with Value-Driven Content
- Optimize with an Omnichannel Approach
- Leverage Webinars & Sponsored Opportunities
- Build Awareness through Podcasts
- Attend Industry Trade Shows
- Spread the Word through Public Relations
1. Establish a Consistent Brand Identity
Your brand should embody the complete visual and emotional experience you offer your clients. A professional brand identity can set you apart and lend credibility to your products and services. It encompasses several key elements:
- Logos: Your logo serves as your brand’s first impression in the marketplace. Whether you’re launching a corporate brand, sub-brand, or a division, a logo designed with current best practices in mind is essential.
- Color Palettes: Color evokes emotion and inspires action. A carefully curated palette should not only align with industry expectations but also distinguish your brand from the competition and tie your visual identity together under a common theme.
- Typography: The typography you choose for your website and marketing materials adds a distinct and cohesive touch to your brand. It shows your audience that you care about the details and don’t cut corners.
- Imagery, Graphics & Iconography: In a space inundated with stock images, professionally crafted imagery, graphics, and iconography can better represent your brand’s ethos and messaging to make your materials more impactful.
2. Spend Time Researching Your Buyer Personas
In the B2B market, decision-making often involves multiple stakeholders, such as procurement officers, leadership teams, administrators, and regulatory bodies. Knowing who holds influence in the buying process enables you to tailor your messaging and marketing strategies effectively.
- Precision Targeting: Understanding each decision-maker’s roles, pain points, and needs allows you to craft targeted campaigns that resonate with readers.
- Streamlined Sales Cycles: When you know who calls the shots, you can focus on engaging the right people in the buyer’s journey, thus expediting the sales process.
- Enhanced Content Relevance: By understanding the specific information each decision-maker seeks, you can create highly relevant content, like whitepapers, case studies, or product demos.
Reevaluate Your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)
Understanding your decision-makers is foundational, but for a laser-focused marketing strategy, you also need to define your Ideal Customer Profiles (ICPs). An ICP is essentially a blueprint of your ideal customer company. This profile guides all aspects of your marketing strategy, from lead generation to customer retention. Maintain robust ICPs by revisiting them with each new year to ensure they stay accurate and actionable.
- Data Analysis: Examine your customer base to identify common traits and characteristics. Make use of data from your marketing team, salespeople, average leads, and current customers to create a more complete picture of who you’re after.
- Market Research: Gain insights into market trends and emerging needs within your target industries. Take a peek at what your competitors are doing to keep up and map out your company’s own buyer’s journey and purchasing paths.
- Validation: Test your ICP through focused campaigns or pilot programs to validate its accuracy and effectiveness. Personalize and segment your marketing tactics by subsets of your audience and experiment with A/B testing to nail your messaging.
- Iteration: Continually refine your ICP based on performance metrics and feedback. Various aspects of your audience or industry may change, so it’s a good idea to revisit your ICP every year or so to make adjustments and continue to target the right people at the right time.
Diving deep into your decision-makers and crafting well-defined ICPs provide the foundation for a successful B2B marketing strategy, guiding how you communicate with your target audience for maximum effectiveness.
3. Generate Direct Leads through Targeted Outbound Channels
Outbound marketing channels, including paid ads and promoted social posts, are invaluable for generating direct leads in the B2B market. These platforms offer the advantage of targeted reach, allowing you to engage with the right leads swiftly. To harness the full potential of these channels, consider the following tactics:
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Harness the power of search engines to target and capture high-intent leads.
- Campaign Creation: Initiate campaigns grounded in historical data, competitor insights, and buyer personas. This approach ensures you reach the most relevant audience, maximizing your investment.
- Campaign Management: Fine-tune your campaigns regularly by adjusting bids and other variables. This proactive management enhances ad performance and ensures a better quality of leads at a lower cost.
Social Media Ads
Leverage social platforms to connect directly with industry professionals and decision-makers. 24% of B2B marketing professionals found that paid social media was a top source for marketing leads in 2023, according to the 2024 B2B Marketing Mix Report.
- Platform Selection: Choose platforms that offer precise targeting features to ensure your message reaches the right users. LinkedIn is generally considered the best option for B2B social media ads because its tools make it much easier to target your ideal decision-maker.
- Campaign Customization: Utilize platform-specific tools like LinkedIn Campaign Manager to tailor your campaigns, enhancing resonance with your target profiles and improving engagement rates.
Expand your reach across the digital landscape to engage potential customers at multiple touchpoints.
- Display Ads: These are visual ads of various sizes, from desktop to mobile, that appear on websites your target audience frequents. Google display ads offer great conversion rates in B2B, where 5 to 10% is considered high-performing. Check out our ultimate guide to B2B display ads for tips!
- Text Ads: These responsive ads appear as sponsored links on search engine results pages and can change according to incoming performance data. You only pay for qualified leads on a pay-per-click model, so be sure to spend time finding keywords that align perfectly with your offering to avoid wasting money on attracting the wrong users.
- Retargeting: This technique reaches users who previously engaged with your website but haven’t yet converted. Creating retargeting lists based on user behavior, like users who’ve visited specific product pages without making a purchase, is a smart way to get specific with ad copy and CTAs.
Diversifying your digital advertising allows you to reach potential customers at different stages of the buyer’s journey. The aim is to accelerate lead generation and yield a quicker ROI while supporting your long-term inbound efforts.
4. Build Inbound Channels with Value-Driven Content
Inbound marketing is a cornerstone of any successful B2B marketing strategy—and it’s especially important in 2024, with the sea of poor content flooding in from AI tools used by your competitors. Unlike outbound methods, which push your message to a broad audience, inbound tactics pull interested prospects toward your brand. The key here is offering value-driven content that solves problems, answers questions, and provides insights for your target audience, such as:
- Whitepapers & eBooks: Whitepapers, guides, and eBooks are perfect content assets for diving deep into complex topics relevant to your industry, positioning your brand as a thought leader. SEOmator says 48% of B2B marketers use eBooks in their content marketing efforts. Extend the value of these longer-form assets with structured email campaigns, recap blogs, and well-designed social media posts.
- Blogs: Regular blog posts on timely subjects can drive organic traffic and engage your audience in ongoing conversations on trends, tips, and more. Backlinko found that 72% of B2B companies make the most of their website’s blog. By prioritizing monthly blogging, your team can drive leads, retain customers, and build awareness for your brand.
- Webinars: As a form of interactive content, webinars can be particularly effective in engaging prospects and establishing your brand’s expertise. And data from the latest B2B Marketing Mix Report reveals they will be an essential lead gen and brand-building tool in 2024. Companies can easily structure webinars around key service offerings or existing content like your most recent blog or eBook—they don’t have to take months to develop. Learn more in section 6!
- Case Studies: Real-world examples of how your product or service has helped others can offer compelling evidence of your value proposition. Case studies should contain details on the situation or problem, solution, and results to create a story readers are invested in. If you can, insert quotes from the client you served or stats on how your product or service helped them accomplish a specific goal.
- Videos: Informative videos can break down complex topics into digestible information, making it easier for decision-makers to understand your offerings. You can design videos to tease a new product, go deeper into a product’s benefits, summarize stats from a recent eBook, showcase a client’s story, and accomplish so much more.
5. Optimize with an Omnichannel Approach
In today’s fragmented digital landscape, potential clients interact with brands through multiple touchpoints—social media, email, webinars, and more. An omnichannel approach consolidates these interactions into a seamless and efficient customer experience, regardless of the channel or device used.
This strategy is particularly crucial, as we’ve already covered how complex the B2B sales cycle can be. Here is an example of what an omnichannel strategy might look like, broken down into steps, which will occur ongoing and in tandem:
- Customer Journey Mapping: Tailor channels to suit different stages in the sales cycle.
- Channel Integration: Ensure SEM, social media, and email offer a cohesive user experience.
- Content Consistency: Maintain a uniform tone, messaging, and visual branding across channels.
- Data Analytics: Monitor customer behavior to identify friction points and optimize accordingly.
- Performance Metrics: Track key indicators such as conversion rates and customer retention.
- Feedback Loops: Continuously refine your strategy based on customer feedback.
Adopting these elements can create a more cohesive and effective marketing strategy, leading to better results and ROI.
6. Leverage Webinars & Sponsored Opportunities
89% of B2B marketing professionals believe webinars will show promising results in terms of lead generation and brand exposure in 2024, according to this year’s B2B Marketing Mix Report.
Whether sponsored or independently hosted, webinars serve as a versatile platform for educating your audience and positioning your brand as an industry leader. Sponsored webinars are financially backed by an organization other than the host, usually in exchange for promotional opportunities. In many cases, these webinars can offer more reach and build extra credibility through third-party validation. No matter which methods you engage in, webinars can bring multiple benefits:
- Thought Leadership: Hosting webinars on key industry topics positions your brand as an authority and draws in an audience eager for expert insights.
- Lead Generation: Webinars attract a self-selected audience genuinely interested in your topics, making them a prime source of qualified leads.
- Customer Engagement: Use webinars to introduce new products, provide updates, or offer specialized training, keeping your existing customer base engaged and informed.
Maximize Webinar Impact with These Best Practices
To get the most out of your webinars, consider these key strategies:
- Planning: A well-planned webinar starts with identifying your target audience and the topics most relevant to them. Check out Sagefrog’s comprehensive guide on planning a successful webinar for a complete list of tips!
- Promotion: Utilize your existing channels—email, social media, and even SEM—to promote your webinar and encourage more attendees.
- Post-Webinar Engagement: The engagement shouldn’t stop when the webinar ends. Follow-up emails and surveys can provide valuable insights and keep the conversation going. For more on this, take a look at Sagefrog’s post-webinar checklist!
- Repurposing Content: Turn your webinar into a range of content pieces, such as blog posts, whitepapers, or short video clips, to maximize its utility.
7. Build Awareness through Podcasts
Podcasts are a powerful medium for sharing expertise, storytelling, and connecting with niche audiences. In B2B, podcasts can serve multiple functions—from thought leadership and brand building to direct audience engagement.
Why are podcasts so popular? Podcasts can be consumed anytime, anywhere, making them highly accessible to busy professionals. They provide an opportunity to experience authentic conversations with insights from industry experts, potential clients, and colleagues—and the audio discussion format allows for a more in-depth and engaging exploration of ideas than most blogs or social posts can achieve.
Tips for Leveraging Podcasts in Your Marketing Strategy
- Topic Selection: Choose topics that resonate with your audience’s pain points and interests. Make sure these topics align with your brand’s expertise.
- Guest Appearances: Invite industry experts, clients, or partners to your podcast to provide additional perspectives and credibility.
- Promotion: Use your other marketing channels, such as social media, email newsletters, and webinars, to promote upcoming podcast episodes.
- Synergy with Existing Content: Integrate podcast content into your broader content marketing strategy by summarizing key takeaways in a blog post or using snippets on social media.
- Metrics: Track listener engagement, download numbers, and other key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the success and ROI of your podcasting efforts.
- CTAs: Include compelling calls to action within the podcast or accompanying materials to guide listeners toward next steps and fuel the sales cycle.
8. Attend Industry Trade Shows
Trade shows remain a cornerstone in B2B marketing—and the top area of marketing spend for 25% of those surveyed in the latest B2B Marketing Mix—for good reason. These industry events offer a unique opportunity to meet potential clients, partners, competitors, and decision-makers face-to-face, providing a level of engagement that digital channels can’t replicate. Some of the biggest benefits of attending and participating in trade shows include:
- Networking: Trade shows allow for direct interaction with industry professionals, opening doors for partnerships and collaborations.
- Brand Exposure: Your presence at a major industry event significantly boosts brand visibility and can position your company as a key player in the field.
- Product Demos: Live demonstrations offer a tangible way to showcase your products or services, giving potential clients a firsthand experience.
- Market Insights: Observing competitors and attending panel discussions can provide valuable insights into industry trends and consumer demands.
Remember that participating in a trade show is much more impactful when you have a well-planned strategy. Knowing about the space, who else is there, where everyone is located, and the event agenda can help you enhance your brand’s visibility, connect with potential partners, and gain a competitive edge in B2B. Here are a few specific tips to make the most of your trade show experience:
- Preparation: Successful trade show participation starts well before the event. Sagefrog offers a checklist for trade show exhibitors detailing pre-show to post-show tips for success.
- Booth Design: Invest in a professional, eye-catching booth that aligns with your brand identity and attracts attendees.
- Follow-Up: The real work often starts after the trade show ends. A robust follow-up strategy ensures the connections you’ve made turn into tangible business opportunities.
- Metrics: Track KPIs such as lead generation, customer engagement, and ROI to measure the success of your trade show participation.
9. Spread the Word through Public Relations
Public relations (PR) can be a game-changer in B2B. It helps control your brand narrative and amplify your messages, offering credibility that paid media can struggle to match. 24% of B2B marketing professionals surveyed for the 2024 B2B Marketing Mix Report stated their public relations efforts helped them secure strong marketing leads in 2023.
PR channels strengthen and leverage media relationships, boost news coverage, promote thought leadership, and help position your team as industry experts. To maximize PR’s impact, consider these key tactics:
- Press Release & Media Kits: Announce milestones with well-crafted press releases. Support them with comprehensive media kits that include high-resolution images, company backgrounds, executive bios, and relevant data sheets. This simplifies the journalist’s job and helps you tell your brand’s story your way.
- Social Proof: Feature testimonials and case studies to build credibility. Use a mix of video and written testimonials from key stakeholders or satisfied customers. For case studies, outline the problem, solution, and results backed by quantifiable metrics to demonstrate your product’s efficacy.
- Monitoring & Metrics: Utilize tools like Google Alerts or specialized PR software to track media mentions. KPIs should include metrics like reach, engagement, and sentiment analysis. Regularly review these metrics to adapt and refine your PR strategy.
By strategically integrating public relations into your B2B marketing mix, you can bolster your brand’s reputation, extend your reach, and create deeper connections with your target audience. It’s an essential layer that adds depth and credibility to your overall strategy.
Take Actionable Steps for Your 2024 Marketing Success
Now that you’re equipped with these nine essential strategies, you’re well-positioned for success. Each of these strategies—from brand identity to public relations—is integral to a comprehensive B2B marketing strategy in 2024. But you don’t have to do it alone.
Partner with Sagefrog for expert guidance in implementing these strategies and accelerate your path to greater success. Contact us today to get started.