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  2. 3 Key Areas Where B2Bs Need To Raise The Bar

B2B marketing and advertising has been evolving for some time now. As channels previously dominated by the B2C market start being adopted by B2B companies, and with B2B eCommerce being adopted by a growing number of suppliers and manufacturers, the use of digital marketing channels has never been more crucial.

But as a recent Business2Community article points out, many of these channels are still being under-utilised, particularly by small- and medium-sized B2B companies. So let’s take a closer look at three of the key channels where B2B companies simply cannot afford to be off the pace

1. Getting more savvy in the use of email as a marketing channel

Although email is a key component of most vendors' marketing strategies, that doesn’t mean it is being used to best effect. Many suppliers use email as their main channel for communicating news, offers and new product releases with their clients, but few are taking advantage of the new opportunities being provided by modern e-marketing software and eCommerce platforms. Through granular segmentation, analysis and more thorough testing capabilities, emails can be far more personalised nowadays and made relevant for very specific customer needs.

2. Social Media Marketing goes mainstream for B2Bs

Social media was once thought of mainly as an end-consumer-facing channel, but those days are long gone, with Forbes research suggesting that B2B salespeople who regularly use social media perform 78% better than those who don’t. Even more tellingly, Salesforce’s excellent ‘State Of Marketing Report 2016’ (drawing on insights from 4,000 marketing leaders worldwide) found that more than 80% of global marketers now regard social media as 'core' to their business, under the headline“Social Media Marketing Leaps Ahead as an ROI creator”.

The fact is that more and more B2B buyers - including senior-level executives - are using social media to conduct research during the purchasing process. And according to a Sacunas study, 85% of millennial B2B professionals use social media to inform their buying decisions. This strongly suggests that vendors with a sub-standard social media presence will suffer more and more as the next generation of procurement and purchasing professionals comes to the fore.

3. Mobile optimisation

We all know that mobile marketing is a top priority for B2Cs , so why are B2Bs still falling behind? Mobile use in the B2B realm is increasing - for example, more and more buyers now use their smartphones and tablets to make repeat orders. Mobile-specific features can help B2Bs to improve their mobile offering, including push notifications, third-party apps and paid ads. In fact, B2B buyers may be particularly influenced by mobile ads...according to data from the International Data Group (IDG), more than 2 in 5 B2B buyers responded to at least one mobile ad over a period of six months. And according to the Sacunas study referenced above, 82% of millennials think mobile devices are important when researching new products and services.

The bottom line? Today's B2B marketers need to be every bit as attuned to the latest developments in digital marketing as their B2C counterparts. And the inexorable rise of millennials as key decision-makers within the B2B buying process means that laggards in areas such as mobile and social media marketing are inevitably going to feel more and more pain over time.