Digital B2B Marketing

Your Ultimate Guide for Online Marketing in B2B

Digital B2B Marketing refers to all marketing efforts that use digital technology. Most commonly via the internet online. Businesses use digital channels such as search engines, social media, email, and websites to engage with current and prospective customers. This article covers everything about the subject, from a proper definition to differences and similarities of traditional marketing to 5  reasons digital marketing benefits your business.

This article is updated frequently. It’s worth checking back.

3 Highlights of this Article:

  • What is Digital Marketing in B2B
  • Differences between, and Similarities of Digital and Traditional Marketing
  • Why Digital Marketing is important
  • No time? [TL;DR] Read Summary

Post: Digital B2B Marketing
By Categories: Digital Marketing13 min readLast Updated: January 29th, 2023

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

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What is Digital B2B Marketing?

Undoubtedly, digital marketing plays a vital role in today’s business environment. Marketers are more than ever bound to focus on digital marketing strategies.

Before going into details, here’s the definition you are looking for:

Digital B2B Marketing refers to all marketing efforts that use digital technology. Most commonly via the internet online. Businesses use digital channels such as search engines, social media, email, and websites to engage with current and prospective customers.

The number of people using the internet is steadily growing. The last ten years since 2010 saw an increase from 28% of global internet users to 56%+ in 2020. Further, the world has become increasingly connected by digital means, and the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated this trend.

Here are some key statistics to get today’s digital environment in perspective:

  • eCommerce: It is estimated that eCommerce sales will total $5.55 trillion in 2022, growing steadily over the next few years.
  • Social Media: 2.86 billion people used social media in 2017. This number will grow to 4.41 billion in 2025, according to Statista
  • Digital ad spending worldwide has grown to 455 billion USD in 2021 and will make up 2/3 of the total media spending in 2024
  • The e-mail marketing market reached $7.5 billion in 2020 and is predicted to increase to $17.9 billion by 2027

However, there is another number that has increased rapidly. The count of terms, definitions, and buzzwords for Digital Marketing has reached an all-time high.

Don’t get lost in this sea of terminology. Here is a step-by-step approach to what Digital Marketing is.

The value-add for customers is that digital marketing helps them find what they want when they want it. The ultimate goal is to drive more sales and leads for a business.

Chapter Overview

  • Digital Marketing vs. Online Marketing, does the difference matter?

  • Definition of Digital Marketing in B2B

  • Digital Marketing vs. Traditional Marketing

  • Why is Digital Marketing important?

Digital B2B Marketing vs. Online Marketing, does the difference matter?

There is no difference in daily life. The different definitions are merely technical matters. What matters most is that you understand the impact of digital marketing, online marketing, and – yet another term – internet marketing.

All terms have one aspect in common: digital marketing, online marketing, and internet marketing use digital technology to market products or services.

This image summarizes the differences:

Digital Marketing vs Online Marketing vs Internet Marketing

What can be seen at first glance that Digital Marketing is an umbrella term for both online and internet marketing. The difference between the latter is, is that online must only sometimes happen on the internet. The boundaries, however, become more and more blurry.

We use all three terms synonymously in this article for easy readability.

Definition of Digital Marketing in B2B

Digital marketing can be a great way to creatively engage with your customers and teach them who you are and what your product does. You can create your brand story by taking control of the conversation with your customer. This will form emotional bonds and build trust in your products and company.

This aspect is called inbound marketing via owned media. These two marketing strategies are the most significant advantage of modern digital marketing.

So, what exactly is digital marketing? It is pretty simple. At its core, digital marketing is about reaching consumers through the devices they spend time on every day.

It is marketing through digital channels instead of traditional means like print or TV ads. Instead of relying on paper mailings or commercials, digital marketers focus on their ideal customer personas and use technology to deliver the message digitally.

Online Marketing allows targeted communication as the opposite of mass communication.

So, what is the modern definition of Digital Marketing?

Digital B2B Marketing refers to all marketing efforts that use digital technology. Most commonly via the internet online. Businesses use digital channels such as search engines, social media, email, and websites to engage with current and prospective customers.

The value-add for customers is that digital marketing helps them find what they want when they want it. The ultimate goal is to drive more sales and leads for a business.

Digital B2B Marketing vs. Traditional Marketing in B2B

A glance at Traditional Marketing further helps you deepen your understanding of Digital Marketing. Let us have a look at the differences and similarities.

Digital Marketing vs. Traditional Marketing

Traditional Marketing

Traditional marketing is what you think of as marketing: advertisements in newspapers and magazines, billboards, flyers, commercials on television and radio, etc. Traditional marketing relies heavily on what is known as outbound marketing: reaching customers through various forms of media.

There are a few benefits to traditional marketing. One advantage is that it allows marketers to reach many customers at once. Especially if they run a print ad or commercial on television or the radio. However, this is also the most significant disadvantage of traditional marketing. There is no easy way to segment your target group. It is like giving everybody a slice of the marketing budget. Whether this makes sense or not.

This type of marketing can still be useful for specific target groups. Traditional marketing appeals to customers who feel comfortable with more familiar forms of advertising, such as a newspaper in their driveway every morning or a commercial during their favorite TV show.

Digital B2B Marketing

Digital marketing relies on the internet and online-based digital technologies. As already discussed, digital or online marketing is also referred to as Inbound Marketing. The biggest advantage of digital marketing is to reach people 24/7 in a particular, targeted way. And best of all, online marketing can be easily measured.

When reaching a broader audience, digital marketing gives you more options than traditional marketing methods. Digital media has become a part of our daily lives; almost everyone uses their smartphone or tablet daily. We live in the age of social media and online purchases.

The needs of a modern customer are to be fulfilled by something other than traditional methods. Digital marketing is a vital part of every marketing mix, with an increasing budget share.

Differences between Digital Marketing and Traditional Marketing in B2B

The main difference between digital and traditional marketing is the media through which the information is exchanged. Traditional marketing relies on traditional media such as television, magazines, newspapers, and radio to reach consumers. Digital marketing uses digital media.

Secondly, traditional marketing is only sometimes measurable. Marketers may measure the effectiveness of conventional marketing by looking at the number of phone calls they get from a magazine ad or the number of people who walk into their store from a billboard. However, these methods are only sometimes accurate. On the other hand, digital marketing allows marketers to see how often a website has been visited, what time people visit, and where the traffic comes from. This allows marketers to measure their campaigns more accurately and more efficiently target their perfect audience.

Thirdly, traditional marketing is less interactive than digital marketing because it cannot track real-time consumer responses. Digital marketing can give marketers feedback instantly, so they can easily adjust their strategies based on consumers’ behavior.

Similarities of Digital Marketing and Traditional Marketing

Let’s keep things simple.

One key aspect that both types of marketing have in common is the focus on customer demand. Marketing has the aim of creating a customer centric company culture and to address the customer need.

Both digital and traditional marketing, therefore, have the customer at heart.

While this seems an obvious thing to say, it is still the most specific similarity there is. All other aspects are minor compared to the customer-centric nature of marketing.

Why is Digital Marketing important for B2B?

B2B Marketing might have some distinct differences compared to B2C Marketing.

But your target audience is online and uses digital means to find information, interact, and shop. Therefore, your company needs a digital presence to meet your customers where they are. There is no denying that every business, small or large, in every industry needs to have a customer-centric online marketing strategy.

Online Marketing helps in increasing visibility and enhancing brand awareness around the globe at a lower cost compared to traditional methods. It also allows you to analyze customer behavior and preferences to provide personalized services based on customer preferences. This is mainly because Digital Marketing allows you to reach customers directly.

If you are not convinced, here are the significant benefits of Digital Marketing:

  • Focus on your target group

  • More cost-effective than traditional marketing

  • Online Marketing is measurable

  • Broader reach on a global scale

  • With digital marketing, you can reach audiences at every stage of the customer journey

Benefits of B2B Digital Marketing

Let’s look at the 5 aspects that make Digital Marketing for B2B beneficial.

1. Focus on your target group

If you run an ad on TV or in a magazine, you will have limited control over who sees it and if the person is part of your target group. You can broadcast a TV ad for beer during soccer and place an advert in the leading industry magazine. Still, the beer ad is seen by everyone sitting in front of the TV, e.g., children, and the industry magazine is thrown away by the manager’s assistant before reading it.

Digital Marketing allows you to target a specific audience based on multiple segmentation criteria. Social media ads provide targeting options to narrow your audience. LinkedIn, for example, lets you choose different ad goals, target group settings, and ad formats.

The following images are examples of how to define your target group with LinkedIn Ads.

LinkedIn Ad Formats

LinkedIn Ad Formats © LinkedIn

LinkedIn Ad Goals

LinkedIn Ad Goals © LinkedIn

LinkedIn Ad Target Group Example

LinkedIn Target Group Examples © LinkedIn

LinkedIn Ad Target Group Overview

LinkedIn Target Group Overview© LinkedIn

These possibilities are just the tip of the iceberg. Modern tracking possibilities allow you to create campaign target groups that are almost 100% specific. The laser focus segmentation is the base for cost-effective marketing.

An actionable approach provides this framework of 8 steps for LinkedIn Paid Ads.

2. More cost-effective than traditional marketing

First, the more specific your targeting options, the lower your relevant cost-per-mill price. A clear advantage for digital marketing.

Second, you know how a campaign performs. Digital Marketing allows you to track campaigns in real-time and decrease spending on a channel if it is not showing the desired ROI.

Both aspects are unique to online marketing if you use performance marketing and measure your actions.

3. Online B2B Marketing is measurable

Digital marketing can provide your business with a full range of metrics that are important to your company. Metrics include impressions, clicks, conversion ratios, traffic sou,rce and all sorts of engagement. Knowing what works and what does not, is the most significant advantage of online marketing.

Many KPIs are available in real-time and therefore allow you continue improvement of your marketing campaigns. These numbers help to make better decisions about where to invest time and money.

Examples of how to measure Digital Marketing are:

  • Website Traffic Source

    Standard tools like Google Analytics measure where the website traffic comes from. You can judge if the usage of e.g., LinkedIn creates relevant traffic. With UTM Links, you can track all your online efforts to drive traffic to your website.

  • Lead Generation

    Filled contact forms, live chat engagement, ebook downloads, or filled lead generation forms on LinkedIn. All these conversions are measurable and comparable to the related cost.

  • Social Media Ads

    Cost-per-mill, cost-per-click, and further details are measurable on all social media platforms. You can decide if the marketing budget is spent wisely or needs to be reallocated.

4. Broader reach on a global scale

Internet marketing allows your company to reach customers regardless of their geographic location. Before the internet, many businesses had a local focus. Sure, global trade always happened, but with the rise of eCommerce, literally, every one-man show can reach customers globally. Digital products such as online courses, software-as-a-service, and digital consulting are available without shipment.

Marketing enables companies to do business globally. The next potential customer is always just a click away. Online Marketing enables your company to grow much faster than a classic brick-and-mortar shop.

5. With Digital B2B Marketing, you can reach audiences at every stage of the customer journey

The above-mentioned aspects, enable you to meet your customers at every stage of their journey. From the initial awareness phase, during the purchase decision phase, and the actual sale, until after-sales support.

Online marketing is an output-oriented discipline. Each action has a specific aim. In that case, lead your future customer through the sales funnel. That’s why online marketing is also referred to as performance marketing.

Further, digital communication is working both ways. While traditional marketing conveys a message from the company to the customer, online marketing includes communication between the company and the customer. Social selling is a prime example of engaging with a prospect instead of waiting for the purchase.

Even if a prospect or lead does not convert immediately, it will be an opportunity to create a connection with them.

Does digital marketing work for all businesses?

It’s a myth that Digital Marketing only works for B2C.

It works for all types of businesses in all sizes and industries. Digital marketing aims to identify your audience’s needs and answer these needs with valuable content.

Google knows that 89% of B2B researchers use the internet during the B2B research process.

Different types of businesses, however, have different needs and should tailor their digital marketing strategies to meet those needs.

Applied to B2B Marketing, this means a focus on

  • Fact-based, educational content
  • Lead generation and Lead nurturing
  • Account-based marketing
  • Social Selling and Social Advocacy
  • Professional networks and communities, like LinkedIn

Depending on your budget, brand awareness campaigns or rebranding campaigns are also common in B2B.

In the example of the B2B digital advertisement spending in the U.S., we see that digital marketing is not limited to B2C.

14.57 billion dollars in B2B compared to 15.78 billion dollars in B2C shows that 50% of US advertising dollars are already spent in the business-to-business marketing industry.

Digital Marketing is only for B2C? Myth busted!

US B2B Digital Ad Spend

B2B Digital Ad Spending © EMarketer

Why Digital Marketing in B2B is the Future

In a nutshell: there is no longer the question of “digital vs. traditional.” Marketing in 2022 requires the usage of all marketing disciplines by combining both online and traditional marketing. The aim is to meet your audience wherever they are. Online and offline.

To underline this, here are some critical facts on digital marketing:

Summary

This article is updated regularly. In a nutshell, here’s  the definition of modern Digital B2B Marketing:

Digital B2B Marketing refers to all marketing efforts that use digital technology. Most commonly via the internet online. Businesses use digital channels such as search engines, social media, email, and websites to engage with current and prospective customers.

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