As a B2B CEO, it’s crucial to know if your marketing tactics are delivering results. The question: “Is my marketing working?” or “Is my marketing any good?” is one we hear from many CEOs—both clients and otherwise—who simply don’t know how to tell one way or the other.
With the rise of digital marketing, there is a lot to track, but not all metrics or key performance indicators are created equal, and what’s “good” for one brand, may not be for another.
So is your marketing working? Is it any good?
That all depends on how well you’re targeting your buyers, and whether your company is achieving its goals.
In today’s digital landscape, there are countless marketing strategies and tactics to consider, and each one plays a role in driving growth and increasing brand awareness for your B2B. Understanding how marketing works can help you determine which types of marketing are best for your business and evaluate if your strategies are actually making an impact on your bottom line.
We will cover the importance of creating a buyer persona, measuring brand awareness, and using earned media to increase your share of voice. By understanding how to measure the success of your marketing efforts, you can make informed decisions about your B2B marketing strategy and ensure that your marketing is, indeed, working.
Measuring the Success of B2B Marketing
When it comes to evaluating the success of your B2B marketing efforts, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what metrics to look for. Some of the key indicators that can help you determine if your marketing is working are:
- Website traffic
- Share of voice
- Online presence
- Lead generation
Let’s take a look at each of these in more detail.
One of the most straightforward ways to measure the success of your B2B marketing is to look at sales. If you’re seeing an increase in sales, it’s a good sign.
Remember, the buyer goes through the majority of the B2B sales cycle autonomously, researching and evaluating potential brands. Buyers don’t tend to reach out to a brand or speak with a salesperson until they have already made their decision. According to Gartner, only 5% of the sales cycle happens with sales—the rest is the buyer interacting with marketing assets (social media content, website content, blogs, earned media, and more).
So if your sales are going up, that’s a good sign your marketing is working.
Another key metric to consider is website traffic. If your website traffic is growing, it’s a positive indication that your B2B SEO, earned media, and/or paid ad campaigns are effectively driving interest and engagement.
If your website traffic is going up, but your sales are remaining stagnant—or worse—that’s a good sign that while some components of your marketing efforts are working, your owned content—website, blog, case studies, etc. are not. This could be because of a poorly designed website; irrelevant, unclear, or unengaging blog content, or simply because your pricing structure is above the market standard.
The key, here, is that sometimes one marketing component is succeeding, while another is failing. Part of assessing whether your marketing is “working” or if it’s “any good” is identifying what is working and what isn’t.
Share of voice (SOV)
Share of voice refers to the proportion of total industry discussions that are attributed to your brand compared to your competitors. A low SOV can indicate a lower market share, and it may be an indication that your marketing strategy could use some improvement. Increasing your SOV through earned media and B2B PR can help you gain a competitive advantage and increase your market share.
Your online presence, including your website and social media activity, has a significant impact on your overall marketing success. You can’t have a strong SOV in today’s digital world without a strong online presence, nor can you have strong website traffic.
Online presence includes how “searchable” you are—if someone Googles you, does your website appear on the first page? What about earned media press hits?
As well as your social media presence and following: Do you have active social media accounts with engaged followers?
If you don’t have a strong social footprint, your marketing may not be “bad,” but it certainly isn’t as “good” as it could be.
Related reading: 6 Reasons Why Social Media Marketing Matters for B2B
In addition to website traffic, it’s also important to track the number of leads your marketing efforts are generating. Higher lead generation can indicate that your marketing is effectively attracting and converting new prospects into leads.
By keeping an eye on these metrics, you can gain valuable insights into the success of your B2B marketing efforts and make the necessary adjustments to refine your marketing strategy. In addition to monitoring these components, B2B marketing leaders must ask themselves three important questions about their brand:
- Do you have brand awareness?
- Is your content “good”?
- Do people see you as the expert?
Do you have brand awareness?
Measuring brand awareness can be a bit more challenging, but it’s important to keep track of it nonetheless, as it can give you insight into how well-known and recognizable your brand is within your target market.
Some of the metrics above—namely monitoring your web traffic and SOV as well as your online presence in general—can help you determine how aware people are of your brand. But beyond generally having heard of your brand, brand awareness is also about the frequency with which people come across your brand. It’s about how visible your brand is in the spaces your prospects frequent, from social media platforms to press publications, podcasts, and more.
According to Forrester, the average buyer needs 27 touchpoints with a brand before they convert. The more brand awareness you have, the more touchpoints you make (and the faster you make them).
To determine whether you have strong brand awareness, consider the following questions:
- Is your brand active on social media platforms? If so, which ones? Are people liking, commenting on, or sharing your posts?
- If you search your brand’s name on Google, does your website appear on the first page of results? Do other search results include your press hits, blogs, or other branded content?
- Do you have a high SOV? When people think about your industry or type of product, do they think of your brand, or is a competitor top of mind? The higher your SOV, the higher your credibility, and the more likely your brand will become the “default” (which should be your B2B’s goal!)
An effective marketing strategy should focus on building a strong brand image and improving your online presence through tactics like B2B content marketing, B2B SEO, and B2B earned media.
Is your content “good”?
The quality of your content is a crucial factor in the success of your B2B marketing efforts. The writing used in your website, social media, and email marketing should be engaging, easy to understand, and provide a clear message. Effective messaging, combined with eye-catching offers and educational content, can help to make your content more appealing to potential customers.
Related reading: How to Write Crazy Successful B2B Marketing Content
Incorporating video content into your marketing strategy is also a great way to enhance the quality of your content. Video is a powerful tool for communicating complex ideas and can help to build a deeper connection with your target audience. In fact, 96% of video marketers say video marketing has increased user understanding of their product or service, and 95% say video marketing has helped them increase brand awareness.
The visual appeal of your brand is also important. This includes the design of your logo, website aesthetics, and the overall look and feel of your brand. A strong brand image can help to increase brand awareness and create a positive impression on potential customers. In addition, a user-friendly website is a key component of a successful B2B marketing strategy. Your website should be easy to navigate and have a positive user experience, helping prospects find what they need to know about your brand.
Related reading: 11 B2B Web Design Trends for 2023
Do people see you as the expert?
In B2B marketing, building credibility is essential to establishing trust with potential clients, setting the foundation for long-term business relationships, and establishing a strong brand reputation.
There are various strategies for building credibility in B2B marketing. User-generated content, such as reviews and testimonials, can provide valuable insights into the experiences of other customers and can help build trust. Developing a B2B earned media strategy and being featured in industry publications can demonstrate expertise and establish the company as a thought leader in the industry.
Thought leadership plays a significant role in establishing your brand and its leaders as trusted experts that people can rely on for solutions. It can also help your brand differentiate from your competitors. In the world of B2B marketing, building credibility and standing out from the competition is essential to success.
Related reading: The Ultimate Guide to Thought Leadership
Competition is an integral aspect of B2B marketing, and understanding how your brand stacks up against others in the industry is crucial for developing an effective marketing strategy. By understanding the competition and identifying areas for improvement, you can create a more effective marketing plan and increase your share of voice in the market. Researching your competitors can give you a better understanding of what they are doing and how you stack up against them. You can research your competitors by looking at their website ranking, reviews, and social presence. By comparing your brand to your competitors, you can identify areas for improvement and establish a competitive advantage.
Some key areas for comparison are things we’ve already discussed (it’s all related!), like your website’s search ranking or your share of voice. Additionally, researching reviews and social media presence can give you a sense of the customer experience offered by your competitors, and what your brand can learn from them.
The key, in the end, is to make sure your brand is competitive—that your differentiators make you stand out, that your reviews and UGC show you in a positive light, and that your online presence—including earned media placements—help establish your brand’s credibility.
In the end, visibility (i.e. all of the above) helps you stay top of mind for your prospects, which gives you implied credibility. And the most top-of-mind, credible brands are the ones who win in the marketplace.
By regularly monitoring your competition and comparing your brand to theirs, you can identify areas for improvement and adjust your marketing strategies accordingly. Whether it’s increasing brand awareness, improving your buyer persona targeting, or enhancing your B2B PR and earned media, staying aware of what your competition can help you stay ahead of the curve and ensure your marketing is working.
Improving your B2B marketing
If your B2B marketing is not delivering the results you want, it’s important to take a step back and assess what you can do to improve. Here are some of the key steps you can take to boost your marketing performance.
Reviewing your buyer personas
Understanding your buyer personas and how your buyers interact with your brand is crucial to evaluating the success of your B2B marketing. This information can help you tailor your marketing strategy to better meet the needs of your target audience. If your marketing isn’t leading to sales, you may be creating great content that is targeting the wrong group—or you may be targeting the right group, but not speaking to their pain points and needs. Once you figure out WHO your audience is, you can figure out why your marketing isn’t resonating with them, and adjust accordingly.
Focusing on B2B content marketing
Effective B2B content marketing can be a powerful tool for engaging with your target audience, building brand awareness, and driving lead generation. Ensure that your content is relevant, informative, and engaging, and that it aligns with your buyer persona and marketing goals.
While we know buyers don’t have a linear buyers journey anymore—and the “funnel” is more complex than top, middle, bottom—using the “funnel” as a structure for the types of marketing content you need can be a helpful way of ensuring that you are communicating with your potential buyers at each step of the buying process.
Ideally, you should have content for each stage of the funnel. If you can determine where your audience is leaving the buying process (at the beginning, in the middle, or right at the point of conversion, for instance), you can determine which marketing assets need to be reassessed.
Improving your B2B SEO
Investing in B2B SEO can help you improve your website’s search engine rankings, drive more traffic to your site, and increase your visibility online. Consider conducting a thorough SEO audit to identify which keywords you want to rank for, and which you are currently ranking for.
Your SEO should be well integrated into your overall content strategy (we told you it was all connected!), including optimizing your website copy, page structure, and blog posts for search authority.
And SEO goes past just including keywords in your owned copy. Off-page SEO and link-building strategies also make a huge difference in your search authority.
SEO is the key to people finding your brand. If you are struggling with website traffic or brand awareness, SEO is a good place to start.
Related reading: 20 Ways To Master Off-Page SEO In 2023
Building your share of voice
Increasing your SOV can help you stand out from the competition and establish your brand as a credible thought leader in your industry. The best method for increasing SOV is B2B PR. Having a strategic comms strategy that gets your brand press placements, podcast interviews, invitations to trade shows or conferences, and more can all help you build your SOV, and bolster your brand’s authority and awareness.
But PR is useless if you don’t USE it.
A strong B2B public relations strategy should include not just getting press placement, but also using those placements to build momentum for your brand. If your company is seeing press hits spike and fizzle out, consider implementing a sales-enabled PR strategy. With sales-enabled PR, each hit is amplified and tied into a holistic strategy that drives continuous growth.
Assessing your brand awareness
As we explained earlier, regularly monitoring your brand’s online presence, social media activity, and customer feedback can give you valuable insights into your brand’s reputation and level of awareness.
Part of building strong brand awareness is making sure your brand is “everywhere.” The best way to make sure your target audiences is seeing you consistently and frequently, is making sure you are using all four key types of media: paid, shared, earned and owned media.
The new buyer’s journey—as outlined by Google and Forrester in 2021—is longer and less direct than marketers previously believed, with prospects spending the majority of the journey researching and evaluating brands autonomously before ever reaching out to a salesperson.
At Zen, we take Google’s “Messy Middle” buyer’s journey, and use it as the basis of our understanding for how to reach buyers and win them over. The key, is to build brand awareness through consistent touchpoints by making your brand as visible as possible, using an omnichannel approach. We call this holistic end-to-end strategy our Mixed Marketing Model.
Regardless of what model or strategy you use, the key is making sure that you are consistently getting in front of your potential customers, building rapport with them, and helping them make their buying decisions.
So, is my marketing any good?
You tell us.
Based on your goals—be it website traffic, share of voice, or sales—is your marketing good? Is your content engaging and relevant? Is your SEO strategy helping buyers find you? Is your website converting?
The truth is, marketing is complex. It’s several different strategies that, all together, should drive growth. If you aren’t seeing the results you are looking for, it might be because your marketing is “bad,” or it might be because one component of your marketing isn’t working, even if the rest is great.
By continuously evaluating your B2B marketing efforts, you can increase your chances of success and drive better results for your business. It’s important to remember that marketing is ever-changing, so what works now may not a year from now—and that’s ok. The key is to track your strategy, test new ideas, and keep your customers at the center of your brand.
Need help figuring out where your strategy is falling short? Reach out.