Explore B2B digital marketing tactics

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Explore B2B digital marketing tactics by channel

Learn more about selecting the right B2B digital marketing channels & tactics

What is a B2B digital marketing channel?

Digital marketing channels are the routes you can use to reach your market. Search and social are examples of different channels you could use. We live in an Omnichannel world and in marketing, we need to think omnichannel digital marketing since one channel alone won’t work as well as a relevant mix.

Within each digital marketing channel, there are different tactics you need to think about. This usually breaks down as paid tactics or earned tactics. Paid is where you need a budget, and pay for attention, earned is where you organically reach your audience through your content. Once you have selected your digital marketing tactic you can then select your platforms. Here is and example of how this breaks down:

  1. Digital marketing Channel: Social Media
  2. Digital marketing tactic: Paid/Sponsored social
  3. Platform: Facebook

Social media could be your B2B digital marketing channel of choice. On this channel, you want to run paid ads (tactics). You use Facebook Ads (Platform) to reach your audience. 

Omnichannel vs Everychannel in digital marketing

As a B2B marketer you want to be everywhere all the time, but you can’t be and in fact you shouldn’t be. Different channels, tactics and platforms serve different roles. Omnichannel digital marketing is where you select the right channel mix, it’s called Omnichannel not Everychannel for a reason. AS a B2B marketer if you select too many digital marketing channels and spread yourself too thin you will do more damage than good.

  • The more marketing channels you are on the more time you need to spend on tailoring your message to channel and managing your activity. Select channels based on the time you have available.
  • Some channels have better ROI than others. If you try to cover every channel there will inevitably be ones with poor ROI, impacting your overall results.  

How do you select the right B2B digital marketing channel?

Channel selection need to be an outcome of your B2B digital marketing strategy. Your strategy will capture who your audience is and where they are, what they like and what will resonate. As a B2B marketer you build campaigns to reach the audience and based on your campaign goals and the overall strategy you need to select your digital marketing channels. 

What are B2B marketing tactics?

B2B digital marketing tactics are the actions you execute to deliver on your marketing strategy and ultimately your business goals. Tactics are executed within digital marketing channels. For example, LinkedIn ads are a tactic you could execute if you select social media as a digital marketing channel.

Digital marketing must always be accompanied by a clearly communicated strategy. Digital marketing is more visible than the more traditional forms of marketing and open to more scrutiny. I’ve received many emails from the boardroom, as the C-level run Google searches and wonder their website doesn’t appear in the results. I’ve also seen many marketing team members create their own microsites which impact the digital marketing of an entire organization. These are the symptoms of a poorly defined and communicated marketing strategy and plan. 

How do the strategy, digital marketing channels and tactics fit together?

A digital marketing strategy is a vision. Where do you need to be? Digital strategy captures high-level goals and business objectives that your marketing serves to deliver. More than a vision or list of objectives, a marketing strategy must answer questions such as who your audience is and how you should appeal to them.

A marketing plan is a map of what your marketing team will execute, when it will be executed, and who is responsible for its execution. The marketing strategy is your compass, it tells you the rough direction you need to go in, to meet business objectives. The marketing plan is your exact route map.

Many organizations lack a digital marketing plan or have individual and isolated campaign plans. The point of a marketing plan is to ensure everyone is clear about what marketing tactics to execute, on which digital channels and when. Without a central marketing plan, it’s likely everyone will execute individually, everyone ‘doing what they think best’. This duplicates effort and dilutes the overall impact and message. In digital marketing tactics can work against each other if deployed in an uncoordinated fashion.

Decide on marketing channels before you select your marketing tactics.

Digital marketing is a huge space. It may not look like it from the outside but even with the subset of social media marketing the are multiple tactics and platforms.  Start by selecting your channels, then select your tactics,  and finally the platforms you will deploy those tactics on. 

Digital marketing channels – Social, search, email and even podcasts are all different channels you can use to reach your audience. How can you best reach your audience?

Digital marketing tactics – What tactics do you want to deploy of the chosen channel? Will it be paid advertising? Organic reach? 

Digital marketing platforms – Each channel has a subset of platforms. For example, if you select search and want to run paid ads you’ll want to use AdWords.

If the matter wasn’t complicated enough, one tactic deployed alone will never work as well as using a mix of channels, platforms, and tactics. This is where your marketing strategy should guide your channel mix.

What are the different B2B digital marketing tactics?

There are dozens of B2B marketing tactics across many channels, each can be used in combination or individually. How each is executed varies the results you can expect to achieve. B2B marketing tactics are a complex minefield, but something you must become familiar with for marketing success. You can break down B2B digital marketing tactics as paid, earned and owned.

Paid B2B digital marketing tactics – These tactics are anywhere that requires media spend. Here you are buying attention. Search and social advertising are examples of paid tactics in digital marketing.

Earned B2B digital marketing tactics – These are tactics you can deploy because you have earned the attention of an audience. There is no media spend here, the attention you have is because of the effort you have put in. Organic social media marketing is an example of earned media and natural search engine rankings are examples of earned tactics.

Owned B2B digital marketing tactics – These are the tactics that you execute on properties and platforms you own and have control over. You don’t need to pay for attention or earn attention to use them. Your website is an owned property. You can run conversion rate optimization on your site. Your campaign landing page is also owned.