HOW TO: Achieve display advertising success in B2B

Sales and direct channels such as telesales, email, PPC and SEO are becoming increasingly competitive, expensive and less responsive, which is why B2B marketers need a new approach. The answer is display advertising, but how can you master it for your business?

By Andrew Blackwood, Director Crimtan B2B,

Here are six key considerations for B2B marketers looking to build business with display advertising:

1. The importance of influencers

Consumer decisions tend to be made using emotions, such as how a product or campaign affects them personally. Business decisions are more complex, driven by company objectives, budget and job security. You probably have a good idea of who your ideal or intended customer is, based on numerous characteristics, but it is important not to forget who the influencers really are. B2B buyers rarely work alone, instead they will operate within a formal or informal group, and these are the people who influence the decisions – although they won’t necessarily be the ones signing the order.

A good sales person understands the power of influence and you can reflect this in your display campaigns by developing different messages for relevant decision makers and influencers.

For instance, a finance director will be interested in cost and return, an operations director in savings and efficiency, while IT directors will want easy integration with other systems. Each should have their interests and concerns addressed through display advertising even if the finance director is signing the order. Make sure you deliver relevant messages to each decision maker at each stage of the purchase, as messages that seek to educate and engage with a particular audience will deliver the best return.

 2. Where do you want impact?
To answer this you need to have a reasonable understanding of the way in which your customers make a decision, and how this fits within the overall buying process. The actions you want your customers to take should be based on where you think they are in the decision making process. Are they already aware of your products? Do they need educating about the services and solutions you offer? Do they need to test your products, or register for a webinar?

3. How are you going to measure success?
Your answer to this question will ultimately drive your campaign proposition and determine the type of creative that is produced. Are you looking to establish brand recognition and awareness? Do you want to encourage downloads, product demonstrations or registrations and sales? Display advertising can influence all stages of the buying process.

4. Don’t underestimate the power of your brand
Many businesses forget that buying decisions are influenced by trust. Trust means security, and the more valuable or strategic a purchase, the greater the trust required. Traditionally, businesses would have built rapport through their sales team, now a buyer can go through research, test and purchase without speaking to sales – so ensure your customer knows your brand and what it stands for.

5. Don’t limit yourself to office hours

We live in a world where we’re constantly ‘switched on’, with more and more people working 24-7. So take the opportunity to use display advertising to engage with potential customers outside of office hours where they may have more time to engage with your solution, for example when travelling and away from office distractions.

6. Don’t believe display is simply about the last click
Display advertising can build a sales pipeline as it gives you the opportunity to continually present new messages to prospective clients as they progress their purchase – keeping your products at the forefront of their minds. Some may respond directly, while others may seek information elsewhere before returning from visits to other channels. This is one of the reasons why solely considering last click is flawed, so be sure to consider how your customers interact at each stage of the purchase and how each brand exposure effects the final purchase decision.

In addition to sales, other metrics to consider could include:

  • Newsletter sign-ups
  • Whitepaper or case study downloads
  • Literature requests
  • Online demonstrations and trials
  • Webcasts

If you want to boost revenue with your target audience or tempt them away from your competitors, you need to win their attention. By thinking strategically and using display advertising as part of your overall business development plans, you’ll be able to engage with more of your target audience more often, and therefore maximise the chances of conversion.

This article appeared in B2B Marketing.