Marketing today in many companies is a little like throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks. Too often, B2B marketers take a “ready, throw, and then think about aiming” approach. Through trial and error, they may eventually find something that works, but likely they will end up with poor or mediocre results.
This approach also wastes valuable resources, including time.
“We need to be in digital!”
I frequently receive calls from marketing managers saying they need to be doing digital marketing. Yes, digital marketing is the primary way to market today. Through online media, you are able to target your ideal audience wherever they live and work like never before.
Sometimes managers call after they’ve invested in building a website or social media presence only to see minimal results. Some have sunk thousands of dollars into online advertising, resulting in a low return on investment.
What they are missing is the overall plan. To be successful in any marketing effort – digital or otherwise – you need a plan.
Let’s stop for a second and review what digital marketing is. Digital marketing is a broad term covering an overwhelming number of options. Today it may include:
- Search or display ads placed in online publications, search engine results, and any well-established social media platform.
- Blog posts, articles, case studies, white papers and other content published on your brand’s website.
- Op-eds, press releases, and any kind of PR outreach where the publication has an online presence.
- Structuring your content and website to optimize search engine ranking.
- Virtual events, classes, and webinars.
- Video content shared via YouTube or LinkedIn.
- Social media posts on any platform your audience uses.
- Podcasts and other audio media.
Digital marketing changes all the time – and it changes rapidly.
What is your marketing plan?
According to a 2021 survey by the Content Marketing Institute, only about 40% of B2B marketers said they had a documented content marketing strategy. This data indicates that well over half of the brands publishing B2B content are doing so without a clear roadmap. This shows that simply having a clear strategy and executing it well can give you a competitive edge.
What you need to get results from your marketing
You first need a content plan and strategy to see results from your online marketing tactics. Without a strong strategy, your messaging will be haphazard and inconsistent, and I can promise you that you won’t see the results you want.
The right plan will guide your team in creating the right content with the right messaging for your target audience. You then use this targeted content to feed all your digital channels, including social media, ads, articles or blog posts, email messaging, and PR outreach.
Having a clear content strategy also helps when you have various team members handling different aspects of your marketing. Your designers, writers, and other content creators need clear messaging to create content that is on-point for your brand. I can’t stress enough how critical it is for your team to provide the right information to your content creators. This information allows the writers and designers to create content that is more likely to drive positive digital marketing results.
Your channel strategy should also be audience-centric. For example, instead of saying, “I should be on Twitter,” a strategic social media audit would first identify your ideal audience and which channels members of this audience use to communicate, engage, and get information. Being on Twitter is of little use if your ideal audience spends their online time on LinkedIn, as most of our clients’ customers do. Social media channels wax and wane in popularity, but a good strategy positions you for success regardless of the platform.
Content strategies take effort
Many science-based businesses lack a strong digital marketing strategy because they also lack the in-house expertise, time, and resources required to develop one. To create a strong strategy, you need to do some research and legwork.
While many believe the upfront time and work that goes into crafting a strategy is too time-consuming or expensive, it actually saves you time and money. Instead of flitting from message to message or platform to platform looking for the secret and confusing your audience, you can focus your efforts and evaluate progress as you go. Chances are you already operate this way in other aspects of the company!
The good news is you don’t have to create your strategy alone. Draw from your in-house expertise and skills. Since most of your team members will likely have limited experience creating effective digital marketing strategies, consider hiring an agency or content marketing professional to facilitate this process.
If you’re want to focus your marketing efforts and create tangible ROI from your marketing campaigns, contact us.
Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, technology and contract pharma industries. We work with companies that want to make the most of their marketing – who want their marketing empowered to help drive leads – and ultimately sales. If you want to move your product or service forward in a smart way, we want to work with you. Call us at 215.997.8575.