Richard Cook

30 November 2020

Building awareness amongst decision makers is the start point for most successful commercial opportunities for a B2B brand, and one that has become more complex as a result of the changes that this year has brought upon us. The disruption of the pandemic has led to an increased reliance on digital channels, many of which are continuing to evolve, making the decision about which tactics to invest in less clear.

There are so many options available, but here are the three areas I would recommend should be part of any B2B Brand’s marketing plans for 2021.

SEO

"According to BrightEdge, paid and organic search drives more than 70% of revenues for B2B and the other verticals." Search Engine Land.

BrightEdge has done a neat infographic which shows that B2B companies generate 2X more revenue from Organic Search than from any other channel. And Organic Search is on the up, by 53% across industries on average.

An average B2B brand is getting 64% of its site’s traffic from organic visits versus 12% from paid traffic. Search isn’t going anywhere although the way that prospects search may continue to evolve. (Google, for example, forecasts a rise in  Conversational and Visual Search, although this may be more of a consideration for B2C Marketers, at least in the short term.)

Thought Leadership Content

Terrible term, “Thought Leadership Content”, I loathe it, means everything and nothing. What I really want to describe is proprietary material (written, video, visual – or all of the above) that is of consequence and value to prospects and audiences, that is not a sales pitch, but imparts knowledge, insight and opinion which is relevant and interesting. B2B Marketing conducted a survey which found that:

  • 68% of senior executives said they read thought leadership content to give them a competitive edge
  • Some 64% also said they used thought leadership to help them make informed decisions

And the “corporate voice” is not the way prospects want to connect. In a separate study B2B Marketing also found:

  • 90% of purchasing decisions are made subconsciously, based on emotion rather than logic
  • Business professionals are around 50% more likely to buy a product or service that demonstrates personal value through emotional appeal

So, the question of where to publish this content in order to get it in front of the right audiences remains. According to this YouGov Study, 46% of US Adults report that they are consuming more financial news than they were before COVID-19.

Press Gazette reports that this increase in appetite for news from readers has indeed translated into increased audiences through earned media consumption: “web traffic to the most widely read business titles surged during the pandemic… Business Insider saw its monthly online readership grow from around 7 million unique views per month in the previous quarter to an average of 9.5 million in the first quarter of 2020…. The other leading publications including Bloomberg and Forbes saw a similar increase in readers.”

Earned media coverage, content that has been published by third parties, delivers credibility and validation and reach, and possibly an SEO enhancing back-link. The same content can also be repurposed and amplified across shared and owned media environments, potentially adding to domain authority.

LinkedIn

The third area I think every B2B Marketer should invest in 2021 is in LinkedIn. It’s just getting better and better. I don’t know of any other environment that offers the B2B Marketer with such direct, interactive and measurable access to an engaged audience of this calibre.

According to Sprout Social the platform currently has

  • 660 Million Users (303 Million of which are active on a monthly basis)
  • 90 Million are senior level influencers in decision making positions

2020 has been a year of disruption for B2B Marketing. 2021 may be the same, however these activities will continue to drive success in terms of demand and lead generation for B2B brands. I don’t see that changing in the year ahead.

To learn how to leverage these B2B strategies to drive B2B awareness and support lead generation for your company, reach out to letstalk@championcomms.com