For all the hoopla and buzz created by Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media channels, one has to ask, “Do these outlets really generate business for B2B companies?” While it might be fun to read posts and watch videos, are these the channels that generate the greatest amount of business?
Not according to researchers. In 2015, Bizible conducted a survey of 370 marketers in the following industries: business support, logistics and manufacturing, technology, SaaS, education, financial services and healthcare and pharmaceutical. The results varied, but in every case, paid social media came in very low in terms of the marketing activity that generated the greatest impact on revenue.
The Best Marketing Channels Are…
So what works? According to that study, email marketing was the prevailing success tactic in the manufacturing and logistics industries. Conference and trade show booths ranked high in education. Yet, in another survey conducted in 2014, company websites were ranked as the top digital channel for B2B marketers. Email marketing was a close second.
While 2015 and 2016 may have seen more investments in SEO and social-media activities, the jury is still out. The key will be conversion data. When you are evaluating which marketing channels to use, ask these questions:
- How are responses to campaigns and other marketing initiatives tracked?
- How many of the inquiries received are nurtured and turned into customers?
- Is the sales cycle shorter for these types of activities?
Research Thoroughly, Invest Wisely
With limited budgets, it is important to invest wisely. Furthermore, the type and number of marketing channels is always on the rise. Examine all of the alternatives available. Pick the ones that allow you the greatest frequency of contact with your target audiences and evaluate the relevance of the messaging or business proposition you are offering. Then select the channels that most accurately and directly reach your prospects and customers. In the end, not everyone has to be on Facebook.