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For B2B Marketers, Building Relationships Trumps Blanket Approach

Targeting based on specific business needs is long-term strategy

B2B companies short on cash are trying to maximize the resources they have. According to an August 2012 study by Demandbase, a targeting platform, and Ziff Davis, a technology media company, B2B marketers said their No. 1 challenge was lack of budget.

With eyes set on getting more out of investments, social media has moved up the chain of importance for US B2B marketers, coming in just behind search optimization, a stalwart of the B2B online marketing mix. That social media was employed by 60% of marketers, followed by 53% using content marketing, is an indication of the important role engagement is now playing for B2B marketers.

As online marketing is no longer a niche endeavor but a wholly adopted B2B tactic, marketers must do more to entice and draw in prospects and edge out the competition. Putting up banners and getting the company to the top of search results is no longer enough.

To reach prospects, targeting based on vertical industry was the top approach used. Vertical industry targeting marries well with B2B content marketing, putting the focus on identifying the industries a B2B company can best support and demonstrating how a particular service can help. The report mentioned case studies and demonstrations of results as some of the most effective means of drawing in clients.

Vertical industry targeting was also cited as the most expensive approach, another indication that while content marketing may deliver results, it must be good to be worth the effort.

In keeping with the vertical industry focus, about three-quarters of B2B marketers surveyed said they decided what new content to create based on a company’s specific business needs, followed by the industry or company type targeted.

And the long-terms goals of B2B marketers reflect these priorities. Focusing on individual prospect types was the top long-term strategy, cited by 29% of respondents, followed by focusing on industries and verticals at 25%.

But wanting to target a particular prospect and successfully achieving that goal are two very different things. Half of respondents said they did not have a basic understanding of what their target markets were and who they could sell to—a sobering response for those ready to go all in on a vertical B2B approach.

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Check out today’s other articles, “Ereader User Increases Slow” and “Already Dominant, Russia Pushes Regional Ad Spend Even Higher.”

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