Marketers face new challenges as new digital revolutions emerge and evolve almost weekly, with new platforms, formats, and channels to reach new audiences. The sheer volume of content on social media platforms like Facebook, TikTok, and even B2B’s favorite, LinkedIn, has made it increasingly challenging for marketers to cut through the noise and capture their increasingly segmented target audience’s attention. AI art and text generators like ChatGPT or DALL-E have also begun producing a massive influx of content that will once again change the marketing landscape forever.
The current deluge of digital ads, sponsored posts, and branded content fatigues audiences faster than ever, decreasing the effectiveness of many traditional tactics. This is an issue for B2B companies as much as B2C, since 94% of B2B buyers research products and services online,1 and 88% of B2B marketers use content marketing to help them make buying decisions.2
What B2B Integrated Marketing Is & Why It’s Important
Integrated marketing is a strategic approach to creating a unified customer experience across different marketing channels and touchpoints. It involves coordinating and integrating various marketing tactics and messaging to ensure consistency and coherence in the brand’s communication with its target audience. B2B integrated marketing aims to build solid, long-term relationships with your ideal customers by delivering a cohesive and personalized brand experience that meets and exceeds their needs and expectations. It requires a deep understanding of the customer journey and the ability to leverage data and insights to create targeted and effective campaigns across social media, email, search, and traditional media. Ultimately, B2B integrated marketing can help businesses maximize their ROI by streamlining efforts and resources, enhancing customer engagement, and driving business growth.
Increasingly, integrated marketing is a go-to solution for businesses to increase leads and sales, but it is often misunderstood and misapplied, leading to mixed results. However, when properly strategized, a B2B integrated marketing campaign can combine traditional and digital channels to create a sum greater than its parts. Integrated marketing isn’t just opening a Twitter account to supplement printed ads; it’s a holistic process that guides marketers through the buyer’s journey and beyond, ensuring your brand stays in focus and serves your marketing and sales goals.
To help you apply the fundamentals, we’re sharing the critical dos and don’ts of B2B integrated marketing.
Do: Target Your Audience
To re-create the consistent brand exposure that marketers once took for granted, focus on getting your message to the right prospects and following them as they move across channels and platforms. Simply creating content and blindly posting it will not help your business build its reputation or develop a relationship with prospects. B2B integrated marketing instructs us to develop detailed buyer personas to figure out who we want to sell to and how to sell to them. Start by asking yourself:
- Who are we marketing to?
- What is their position, and what type of businesses do they work for?
- What problems do they have that our product or service can help them solve?
- What channels do they use to find information?
Use these questions to target an audience you can pursue effectively. This strategy will help you avoid losing focus, wasting resources, or executing generalized and uncompelling marketing tactics. It will also help you stand out in the deluge of content that’s desensitizing consumers.
Don’t: Deliver Conflicting Messages
Your digital and traditional marketing efforts need to stay in tune with each other, or you’ll lose prospects when they cross from one channel to another.
Use every available channel to broadcast a unified and consistent brand voice and message. While your messaging should adapt to each individual platform, it should still convey the original message and remain uniquely you, following your company’s personality, tone of voice, and brand identity.
In the age of smartphones and smart TVs, consumers have constant access to media and expect a seamless experience across devices and platforms. Movement between channels seems natural to prospects, so they expect content, and the brands they show interest in, to remain consistent too. Integrated marketing teaches us to build our marketing efforts around the buyer’s experience, and the buyer requires clarity, convenience, and engagement.
Consumers will reward you by paying attention to your company and purchasing your product or service; research shows that supplying a consistent message across channels increases a prospect’s brand perception by 68 percent and their intent to purchase by 90 percent.3 To create this experience, define that brand for yourself and then consistently instill it in the market.
Do: Use an Integrated Marketing Framework
B2B integrated marketing uses a reliable framework that applies your brand’s strategy through your tools and tactics. It creates a fully-formed experience throughout a consumer’s involvement with your company as they interact with content, engage with sales, and make a purchase. This increases your message’s staying power and potency, attracting prospects, converting prospects into customers, and turning customers into brand evangelists and influencers. It’s even beneficial to your bottom line since delivering a single message from the beginning is more cost-effective than struggling with multiple conflicting messages.
The framework starts with developing your brand and planning how to adapt it to the market. From there, it encourages you to develop assets like websites and collateral based on how you want to communicate your brand so they’re optimized to convey it. Once everything is in place, integrated marketing leverages these tools to deliver your messaging and build brand awareness through the right channels for your goal.
Different channels, or tactics, have different purposes and advantages, and integrated marketing ensures they have a rational, supportive connection with each other that optimizes their performance. Through pay-per-click and SEO, digital, and content marketing guarantees exposure. PR and social media programs build on that exposure by shaping your brand’s reputation and building direct relationships with prospects. Traditional marketing cements those relationships and closes sales with tangible, in-person tactics that carry a greater weight for consumers accustomed to navigating the morass of online media.
By utilizing each platform harmoniously, the integrated marketing framework builds a reliable sales cycle that promotes your brand at every step. Since your content, messaging, and how you deliver it all stem from your brand, you can be sure that your channels complement each other and that what reaches your prospects supports your goals. To read more about the integrated marketing framework and other advantages of integrated marketing, check out this whitepaper, The Case for Integrated Marketing.
Don’t: Rest on Your Laurels
If you apply the integrated marketing framework, you’ll be well on your way to optimizing your B2B messaging with a consistent voice that works for both digital and traditional media. But optimization doesn’t stop there; integrated optimization offers continuous improvement. Because you manage your channels with a single purpose, you can track what techniques work best.
Unlike other types of marketing, B2B integrated marketing allows your business to function as a cohesive unit, adjusting levels of digital and traditional according to their efficacy and even drilling down into specific channels such as email and social. This optimizes your marketing by ensuring it fits your prospect pool with precision.
If your social media marketing attracts a small, supportive audience while your email marketing achieves broad interest, you can decrease the frequency of your social posts to avoid turning off your followers, and increase the reach of your emails to take advantage of the potential customer base you’ve located. By increasing communication and control, integrated optimization produces maximum impact with minimal waste.
Do: Use Data to Make Decisions
An efficient, fine-grained marketing approach can only be achieved with data, and integrated marketing makes the most of your database by measuring digital and traditional channels by the same fundamental criteria. Although each channel requires individual KPIs, by measuring their success against the same goal of serving your brand, you have consistent values for what’s working. This creates an accurate, reliable way to tell if your marketing is growing your business and empowers you to compare social and traditional channels and spot trends across all your marketing efforts. You’ll know if a traditional ad takes off because of digital’s support, for example, or if certain kinds of content perform better on social than traditional. By tracking your collective audience, instead of individual channels, you can message more effectively and build deeper relationships with your prospects.
Don’t: Neglect the Future
Once you optimize your current approach, you should set yourself up for continued success. Integrated marketing helps businesses invest in their future by continually growing their audience and client base. To do this, you need to focus on building trust in your brand, not just prodding leads to make a purchase.
Consumers today have been overexposed to branded media, so they’re more interested in engaging with companies that have genuine authority on a subject. They expect to google topics and access content freely, and to begin a relationship, you need to be the one to provide them the experience they’re seeking, whether they’re a new prospect or a loyal client.
Here are three reliable, long-term programs to gain lasting credibility and achieve enduring engagement with prospects and clients:
- Content marketing
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Social media marketing
Content marketing campaigns are affordable to create and compound over time. Once you’ve made one, it’s yours forever to adapt for everything from social posting to collateral. It gives you authority over a subject related to your product, builds trust in your brand, and attracts new leads to your site. If the information stays relevant, one great piece of content can continue to attract leads year after year.
Content marketing works best when partnered with SEO and social media marketing. SEO will ensure your ideal prospects see your content. Using keyword research, you can design content around topics your target audience cares about, and with the correct website structure, your site will appear high in their search results.
Social media marketing allows you, your prospects, and your customers to share your content. This is a key advantage because 83 percent of consumers claim they trust the recommendations of friends and family on what to buy—more than any other source.4 It’s possible to tap into this potent form of marketing, but you’ll have to earn your audience’s trust, and thankfully, social media allows you to do so by engaging with your prospects, answering questions, and providing timely customer support.
Do: Consult the Experts
If you apply these fundamentals, you’ll be ready to tackle the most pressing challenges of today and tomorrow. However, while these dos and don’ts are a great place to start, we recommend further study to fully adopt an integrated marketing approach. To facilitate that process, we at Sagefrog are happy to answer questions or provide support as needed. Sagefrog is a leading B2B integrated marketing agency, and we’re always open to providing information that will help accelerate success. Feel free to contact us, and if you’d like to read more, check out our whitepaper below.
If you have questions or want to talk with a B2B marketing expert about implementing an integrated marketing strategy, contact Sagefrog Marketing Group.
1. 94 Percent of B2B Buyers Research Online for Purchase Decisions, Brafton
2. 35 Content Marketing Statistics You Need To Know In 2016, Forbes
3. The Undeniable Benefit of a Consistent Cross Channel Marketing Message, Oracle
4. Recommendations From Friends Remain Most Credible Form of Advertising Among Consumers, Nielsen