B2B? Then don’t measure like B2C!

Have you ever received an automated email where the subject line says something like: ”Hi Erik! You know that you can get more clicks on your ads by increasing your budget!” No shit, Sherlock

What bothers me about this type of emails is that they never include any good tips to enhance performance for campaigns, or how to optimize them. The tips are more along the lines of: ”Erik, you know that you can get a second cinnamon bun if you pay for one more cinnamon bun.” I rarely want a second cinnamon bun, but should that happen I would agree to it if I was promised that it was of higher quality and tasted better – perhaps with another filling. I want to come from that café to the office, treating everyone to a bun, while at the same time being able to say that I got the most buns for my bun-budget.

Strange as it may seem, marketers don’t think the same way. We are rarely opposed to the idea of spending more money for more impressions, since the entire planning on a marketing campaign revolves around measurements and terms that are based on CPM (cost-per-mille) and CTR (click-through-rate).

Traditionally, marketers have negotiated in terms of CPM price. This means that we think it’s ok that we must buy thousands of impressions in order to reach potential buyers – and if we reach enough, they will hopefully convert at some point, right?

As has always been the case with marketing, there are lots of alternatives and possibilities to hit the jackpot, but never any guarantees for how many conversions will actually be made. Traditionally, marketers have tried to reach their target group through display ads in a setting where they believe the potential buyers will be, which is kind of like looking for a needle in a haystack. The problem isn’t just the looking for the needle – you need to buy the haystack first!

Most of us have never questioned campaigns in which we are debited for every thousand impressions, even though we might only reach one potential buyer (or none at all). That’s probably why we get those automated emails (or emails from a physical media salesperson), instructing us to buy more impressions, that might improve our chances to reach potential buyers.

Define the right statistics for B2B

We accept that what we get in terms of statistics, mainly because we know it’s what we get, and we’re used to it – and it’s been working for B2C for years. They’re willing to pay for thousands and sometimes millions impressions to end up with a click-frequency of 0,07 %, since that figure still drives sales and new customers for them.

For us B2B marketers it doesn’t matter how many ad impressions we buy – what really matters is who are targeted and what message each specific recipient is reached by. That’s why click frequency becomes such a puzzling and frustrating statistic to work from in B2B marketing. Can a click frequency tell us whether or not the campaign was successful, with a given budget? Publicists, media sellers and technological developers have been trying to optimize solutions for high click frequencies and delivered impressions. Meanwhile, they’ve been creating a situation where marketing has only become a ”nice to have”, and is now seldom regarded as a critical part of a B2B-selling company’s sales cycles.

Find out what part of your marketing budget is being wasted

For B2B-selling companies, there is no such thing as endless target groups and buyers. If you rate your traditional marketing investments as a B2B marketer, you must first exclude all clicks and impressions that come from people outside of your ”sales universe”. Thereafter, you obviously also need to count out all the clicks and impressions that did not lead to any deeper engagement in your content. What happens is basically that all the generated clicks and impression of your traditional marketing effort, after all is said and done.

What you, as a modern B2B marketer, need to focus on is getting used to measuring whether or not your campaign resulted in increased engagement of your content, from visitors and companies that your sales department actually want and can sell to. This means that you must now focus on companies instead of individuals, meaning that you measure how much you’ve moved the ”needle of potential companies” forward, and gotten them closer to a decision to buy from you. To make modern and successful marketing take place, you should therefore measure the following data:

-       Which companies does my marketing target?

-       How many of my target companies, and how many of their employees, actually see my marketing?

-       How many companies, and how many of their employee, are engaging in my marketing and content?

Connect results to engagement

Companies like Google and Facebook claim that increased engagement is a meaningful way of measuring campaigns. These two companies, however, use different ways to define engagement – but B2B marketers in general want to be able to see if the increased engagement is coming from certain companies, i.e. the companies that the sales department is trying to sell to.

For most media seller, this is a hard thing to sell. It is also becoming generally harder to sell marketing campaigns if you can’t deliver these data – you can’t just ask for more budget to solve the problem.

If you’re a B2B marketer today, this is something you need to understand before planning your next campaign – most of all, to avoid making decisions about investments that are driven by all the wrong objectives.

Download: Account-Based Marketing, where to begin?

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