B2B Marketing: Is It Time to Expand Your B2B Internet Marketing Strategy?

Internet Marketing

Tom Schmitz Mar 18 2008

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What is your B2B Internet marketing strategy?

For most companies the answer is a website with:

  • Descriptions of products or services, contact forms and perhaps a shopping cart
  • Additional sales information in the form of case studies, industry lists or another organizational breakdown.
  • A description of the company, press releases and job announcements.

This strategy dates to the early days on the Web, back when the first companies were establishing an online presence. And while people have become
more knowledgeable and sophisticated in how they use the Internet to make purchasing decisions, most Internet B2B marketing strategies have not evolved
beyond trying to create a better landing page.

Consider this:

  • Most B2B purchases are made over a period of time that includes product research, becoming familiar with industry leaders, budgeting, product comparison
    and finally the purchase. The more expensive the purchase the longer the decision making process. It can be as long as two years or even more.
  • More B2B decision makers are using Internet search and research as part of the decision making process. As detailed information and opinion becomes
    easily available the Internet becomes more influential.
  • 65% of B2B buyers begin their online research with a search engine. 46% of B2B buyers begin their online research early in the decision making process.

Now ask yourself this:

  • Will B2B buyers find your company if they put your industry’s frequent search queries into a search engine? Your website only works when it is seen
    by potential prospects and leads. Most people find websites by using search engines.
  • Will B2B buyers find your company’s footprint on industry communities, blogs or forums away from your website? B2B decision makers will find your
    industry’s online gathering spots. Will your business be there? Will it be influential and admired by its peers?
  • If a B2B buyer puts your company’s name, brand or products into Google what impression will the top ten listings make? Is your website first? What
    are the other 9 websites and are they enthusiastic, neutral or negative about your company?

Now ask yourself how your competitors will answer those same three questions.

Investing in a robust Internet marketing strategy has become more important than ever. Companies that succeed will successfully anticipate the different
types of information that their prospects desire and then provide it to them. They will position themselves as industry leaders by being active and influential
away from their web site and on online industry gathering places. Many businesses are withdrawing monies from sponsorships, print advertisements, mailings,
trade shows and other means of promotion and investing those dollars into their online presence.

If your competitors are doing these things you are already playing catch-up. If not, then a strategic opportunity exists. Will you take advantage of
it?

In my next B2B Strategy post I’ll look at different opportunities for expanding your website to give people the information they are looking for.