Inbound Versus PPC, Display & Social Media for B2B Marketing

By Sean Sharkey on 9 August 2015 at 20:57:00 BST


It’s fair to say that it’s no longer an above the line versus online debate when it comes to 21st century marketing. Traditional, old school and expensive press, radio and TV advertising efforts increasingly see ever diminishing results.

The audience is fragmenting and less and less people pay attention, subscribe, or view these one-dimensional mediums. When it comes to B2B marketing this is even more pronounced. Digital channels are more cost effective and the results are more transparent and accountable, opening up two way communication channels.

But what digital channels should you concentrate on? 

With evolving consumer behaviour brought on by this paradigm shift towards digital channels, a lot of people are wondering where to concentrate their budgets. We’ll explore some of the more popular methods and evaluate the pros and cons.

PPC

PPC throws out the net, pushing content that hopes to satisfy visitors needs. It can be successful if the audience drawn is relevant and already at a purchase point consideration, but if the traffic generated is unqualified to buy, site visits are often short lived and ultimately pointless. Sometimes they’ll actively resent the visit, especially when the sales CTA pushes products/services in the face of visitors.

Display

PPC leads us to display banners. Display units get a bad press as they can be irrelevant and annoying and in some cases, dubious and visually polluting. Hidden in plain view, they often serve as wallpaper and with an often scattergun approach to placement, their pitiful click through rates are often comprised of accidental clicks. When they are well produced in situ, they can be entertaining and eye catching. Although this usually involves considerable expensive, from green screen video shoots and rich media expandable takeovers to pricey high volume media outlets. Even then, they serve better as brand building exercises for the FMCG consumer market.

Social

Social Media is the much sought after currency all brands hope to cash in on. Free advertising, right? Well, no, not even close. Facebook, Twitter and the ever expanding conveyor belt of innovative start ups are increasingly monitizing their channels. To be seen on these networks - especially for smartphone or tablet extensions - businesses are being asked to stump up the cash. For B2B companies, Twitter and LinkedIn in are the main ‘go to’ social channel of interest. But again, having the media space is one thing, but filling it with relevant and engaging content is another.

For B2B industries with highly considered and valuable products or services, Inbound is often the most cost effective and efficient marketing approach.

Inbound

With Inbound, you’re driving only a relevant, motivated, targeted visitor to your site by offering valuable content to download, so your audience can educate themselves. There is no hard sell, just helpful solutions to pain points that keep this audience awake at night. Inbound offers a new way of thinking, a new train of thought, a different set of possibilities. With contact details exchanged this flow of empowering content can be developed and nurtured with a two-way communication channel opened up and messaging becoming increasingly personalised to ad-hoc solutions.

The real truth of the matter is there is no one size fits all solution. It’s through a blended approach that results can reach their full potential. This blended approach doesn’t just mean a mix n’ match of channels, but also a blending the principles across channels.

For example, when using PPC, display or social media as your marketing opportunity, it pays handsome rewards to utilise proven inbound methodologies in your strategy and planning. Instead of drawing visitors onto a landing page with a prominent sales call to action, it is worthwhile to instead offer a valuable research tool or informative download, an eBook, whitepaper, video, tip sheet…or any number of other content formats.

You want to help people, not shove a price point in front of them as soon as they land on your site. You want to raise awareness of solutions to real business problems and help raise your profile as an industry thought leader. You want to be seen as helpful, not pushy. You want quality leads you can nurture and in time these leads will turn into sales.

Who is your money on, when it comes to digital marketing spend? What works best for you? We’d love to hear. If you’d like to get a deeper understanding on how Inbound works (and why it works) download our Intro to Inbound book below.