Five Ways to Target B2B Effectively

Editor’s Note: An alternate version of this article, written by Mediasmith Associate Media Director Dawn-Marie Miesner, was first published in Direct Marketing News on April 8, 2013.

Lately there has been talk in the trade press about the difficulty of applying the targeting techniques used for consumer advertising to B2B. One article in particular that caught our attention was Al Urbanski’s Targeting Remains a Challenge for B2B Marketers, on the Direct Marketing News website.

B2B marketers are facing a perplexing situation. While they understand the value company size and industries bring to the quality of a lead, they are less likely to use this level of targeting in their advertising campaigns. According to a survey released in December 2012 by DemandBase and Ziff Davis, 45% of respondents state that they used company size when evaluating leads, while only 25% say they devote resources to targeting larger companies.

Mediasmith Morsel

Lead Generation Poses Biggest Challenge to B2Bs

Business-to-business (B2B) companies are constantly seaching for new client prospects that can benefit from their services. As a result, lead generation has proven one of the most critical and challenging B2B pursuits. BtoB Magazine surveyed US B2B marketers and found that in 2013 generating more leads remained their top challenge, cited by 60% of respondents. That was followed by the related challenge of successfully reaching their target audience.

Building brand awareness and accurately measuring performance were also important challenges to nearly two out of five B2B marketers. Customer retention was cited by one third of respondents in 2013.


 Marketing challenges

Thanks to eMarketer for their permission to reproduce this graphic.

We at Mediasmith, Inc. have a vast understanding of the B2B space, and after working on countless campaigns, we’ve identified five tactics that can help B2B marketers maximize the effectiveness of their campaigns.

1)  Job industry/vertical targeting helps B2B advertisers cut the waste by reaching key verticals that are most likely within the target audience of their product/service. For example, one publisher’s business-category targeting enables advertisers to show ads to users based on the industry they work in and the size of the company.

2)  IP targeting lets marketers identify whether a customer logs on to the Internet from a business or home connection. While some eschew IP targeting due to privacy concerns, this kind of targeting permits advertisers to reach key accounts and cut the waste.

Mediasmith Morsel

Newer Social Tools See Big Growth by Small Businesses

Smaller businesses are starting to use a broader mix of social tools as a part of their overall marketing efforts and 2012. Companies like LinkenIn, Twitter  and YouTube saw a lot of growth in 2012. Most businesses had already been using Facebook pages which continued to show growth, but the newer social tools saw the biggest gains overall by the end of the year.

Social media platform

3)  Combining vertical targeting with job titles and company size refines the B2B advertiser’s coverage to ensure that they’re reaching the right consumer with the proper message. There are several publishers that offer this. Some collect data from registrant records across thousands of websites to pull the business professionals’ industry, company size, job function, and seniority. Others derive all of their professional data from their own business social network. This provides some of the richest, most current data.

4)  First-party data targeting allows advertisers to reach more prospects that share the same characteristics as their current customer base.In doing so, advertisers are able to find their best prospects. This includes lookalike targeting, social graph targeting, and a combination of the two coupled with search history targeting.

    • Lookalike targeting – Builds a profile of the advertiser’s customers by modeling based on real-time visitor and purchaser data.
    • Social graph targeting – Reaches the social connections of most recent customers based on the content they share with their peers and what they follow. Data is pulled from vendors’ proprietary social sharing tools, including sharing widgets and link shorteners.
    • Multi-graph targeting – Starting with a lookalike model of the advertiser’s customers; search history, behavioral, and social data is layered on to refine targeting.

5)  CRM data targeting takes a look at an advertiser’s customer database, identifies key characteristics between the different profiles, and finds new prospects across hundreds of email lists and websites that match the advertiser’s current customer profile. CRM targeting can be deployed across email, direct mail, and display campaigns. Some vendors create a profile that advertisers can deploy through their preferred DSP and manage on their own, while others will build the profile and execute the buy across their inventory sources.

Contrary to the concern about lack of options, B2B marketers have many resources and methods available to help them limit waste and focus their media dollars on the prospects that matter most to their business. At Mediasmith, our partners heard our needs, recognized our appetite for this type of targeting and developed solutions to better equip our B2B planners.

By Dawn-Marie Miesner, Associate Media Director at Mediasmith, Inc.