1. Embrace online channels
The tradeshow must die – at least as a way for B2B companies to drive leads. The same dollars invested in webcasts, online demos, videos, and other online methods are more measurable and more effective. The same is true for other offline marketing methods. Email and RSS feeds have lower cost and higher engagement than most direct mail campaigns; mass advertising should be replaced with search engine marketing and online ads; and PR must change to include blogs and SEO optimization.
B2B marketers have been slower than B2C marketers to come around to this change. According to Forrester Research’s Q2 2006 Business-To-Business Marketing Effectiveness Survey, 91% of B2B marketers still use trade tradeshows and 77% use print advertising, while only 59% are using search engine marketing. The good news is that Forrester also reports that over 60% of B2B marketers plan to increase spending on search marketing, 50% on webinars, and 40% on email. At the same time, 20% plan to decrease spending on tradeshows and print advertising. As a result of this transformation, eMarketer’s B2B Marketing Online report states that online ad spending for B2B companies will grow 24.6% in 2007, versus growth of only 4.4% for offline ad spending. (Note: You can find slides from the Forrester report here.)
This is important because as B2B marketers embrace online channels, they will find it easier to target prospects, build relationships, and measure the bottom-line impact of their activities. Forrester goes on to state that:
By moving their marketing online, business-to-business (B2B) marketers will evolve from tactical demand generation to strategic ownership of the customer relationship, and they will regain their rightful place as the corporate head of customer experience, knowledge, and influence.