Using the right B2B marketing terms will help you set the stage for any marketing discussions around your business. It means your counterparts won’t try to pull the wool over your eyes and it also means you can hold your own to ask the right questions around areas of opportunity.
While B2B marketing terms share some commonalities with B2C when it comes to terminology and the fundamentals, but there are some terms and definitions that are important to use when your prospects are businesses. Business to business marketing needs to prioritize creating awareness for the organization and lead generation. Let’s take a look at the terms related to those priorities.
The term lead is used often in marketing. A lead is a business that has expressed interest in your organization. They’ve taken some sort of action to communicate with you. They may have followed or liked your Facebook page. They may have downloaded an information product you’re giving away and shared their email address. If you have an inquiry form on your website and they fill that out, you now have a lead. Attracting people to your company and generating leads is one of the primary goals for B2B marketing.
All companies should establish their own definition for the term lead and that definition will be very specific to their organization and the way they work. This is especially critical for companies that have distinct sales and marketing organizations as you want to ensure that when marketing passes a lead to sales, both organizations understand that that lead has met some level of pre-determined criteria.
When a business prospect fills out an inquiry form or gives you their email address it’s called “lead capture.” To capture a lead means you’ve motivated them to share some sort of information about themselves that allows you to begin a process of building on your new relationship. They might share a phone number or an email address, for example.
How do you capture a lead? Through a call to action in your content, you invite or motivate prospects to share information with you. For example, you might create a whitepaper, market the paper to drive traffic to a “lead capture” page on your website. Your prospect then gives you their email address to instantly receive the whitepaper. You now have a business contact to continue to engage.
A marketing campaign is an organized effort to promote a product, service or promotion. It’s comprised of a series of structured events or steps, well-defined marketing channels and specific goals. Examples of a marketing campaign include a campaign to grow your email list, a direct mail campaign for new lead generation, or a campaign to promote interest in a new product or service.
In the past, a marketing campaign typically included just one marketing channel, however, with today’s more sophisticated environment, the most effective campaigns now are multi-channel.
Native advertising is another relatively new marketing approach. Native advertising looks like content. It’s delivered in-stream and can be responsive to the user’s online activity. The goal is to make advertising feel less intrusive and a more natural part of your online experience.
While native advertising has stirred up controversy because it’s a combination of content and advertisement, there are also some good reasons for using it. You can learn more about native advertising here. For example, on the popular satire news site The Onion you’ll find what are labeled “Sponsored Posts.” They present as articles and match the tone and voice of The Onion, but they’re actually paid spots designed to generate brand awareness.
The requirements for a native ad include payment for publication of content that is targeted to a publication’s readership. It will usually include the words Advertorial, Sponsored Posts or Sponsored Content.
What is unique about native advertising is that the user experience is not disrupted. It’s part of their experience. This is also one of the big strengths of native advertising. If the user experience isn’t disrupted, the prospect’s attention isn’t diverted away like it often is with a banner ad.
Content marketing is the practice of creating and publishing content to connect people to your business. The two primary goals of content marketing are to build awareness and to generate leads. Content marketing is a tactic that uses a number of different marketing channels to achieve results. Marketing channels include, but aren’t limited to, email, social media, blogging, and even press releases. Content marketing embraces all formats of content. We’re talking about everything from a cartoon to video to a whitepaper.
Content Marketing Strategy
A content marketing strategy is a plan for the creation and delivery of your marketing content. It begins with your target market, your marketing goals and your preferred marketing channels. From that point, you explore what type of content you’re going to publish, where you’re going to publish it, when you’re going to publish it, and how you’re going to track success.
A content marketing strategy is based on the marketing objectives, which are ultimately based on broad scope business goals. The strategy answers the questions:
- What is the goal for this content?
- Who is the target audience for this content?
- What problem is the content trying to solve? What value is it offering?
- What is the best channel for this content?
- What links, if any, will be in the content?
- What images, if any, will support the content?
- When in the sales and marketing cycle should a prospect receive this content?
- What is the desired action? What do you want the prospect to do when they read or view the content?
- How are you going to measure success?
Your content marketing strategy might also outline who is going to create the content. If you’re outsourcing to a ghost writer or a marketing firm, identifying who is writing the content may be important.
Aligning your content with your business objectives ensures that you’re not just creating content for the sake of content. Content should play a role in building brand awareness and generating new leads otherwise its longevity should be questioned.
You can make your content available for reprint. It’s commonly referred to as content syndication. It’s the process of essentially pushing your content onto third party sites. You may be familiar with syndicated television programs. Essentially once a program is syndicated it means that other networks can buy it and broadcast it.
With content syndication you can send or make your content available to feeds, wires and other digital sources where the content is made available to other websites or subscribers. Many types of content can be syndicated, including blog posts and email newsletters. Syndication helps you reach a wider audience and get exposure for your business.
Newsjacking is a relatively new term. It’s the process of capitalizing on breaking news stories and the viral interest they seem to generate by creating content around that topic. When something happens in the mainstream consumer news, businesses try to take that news and connect it to their own industries. It happens often in technology. When Google makes an announcement or Apple rumors begin circulating, other companies or organizations try to piggyback on the news to draw attention to their own content.
Why newsjack? It helps garner brand awareness, which is one of the two primary priorities for B2B marketing. Using keyword results, hashtag searches and traffic generation, you can embrace this strategy to help achieve your marketing goals.
Understanding these important business to business marketing terms can help you ask better questions when you’re creating your own marketing strategy and budget. When you see how the various concepts fit together you’re better able to assess what it is that your organization really needs and where it should focus its attention to create greater awareness and to generate higher quality leads. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about.
If you have some marketing questions or concepts you’d like to explore to see if they’re appropriate for your business, feel free to ask us. You can drop us a note here in the comments section, or if you’d like to explore a full marketing audit to assess how you’re doing, you can fill out the details on this link.