September 19, 2016

Lessons From The World's Best B2B Marketers

Your association is a B2B marketer. You are a business organization marketing to businesses. And, as a reminder, marketing is more than communication—marketing encompasses a detailed knowledge of your audience (members); the continuing development of your value proposition, membership and pricing structure; how you communicate and through which media platforms; the list goes on.While you don’t have the marketing budget of the world’s largest B2B marketer, Microsoft ($250 million), you can take a page from the best business-to-business marketers and apply it to your association. Here are a few thought-starters and questions to consider:

  • Search engine marketing (SEM) is the top-paid media tactic. Are you using SEM to attract new members, sponsors and business partners?
  • According to the Content Marketing Institute, the top challenge for B2B marketers is producing engaging content. What is your organization’s content strategy, and how is it driving member engagement?
  • Forrester Research reports that trade shows are the second most powerful way to build brand awareness and demand, second only to print advertising. Is your trade show a high-performing media platform for your exhibitors and sponsors? How do you know? What is the ROI your exhibitors receive by investing in your trade show?
  • LinkedIn is the top social media platform for distributing content, with 94% of B2B marketers using the site. Are you fully leveraging this platform to drive marketing performance?
  • Only 36% of B2B marketers rate their in-person events as effective. What metrics are you using to measure the effectiveness of your events?

Marketing is a process that creates a set of conditions for a sale to occur and an ongoing relationship to be cultivated. Association leaders have a similar but different challenge to commercial, for-profit B2B organizations in how they understand, implement and succeed using all of the power of twenty-first-century marketing. Marketing is about your association brand, reputation, media platforms, messaging, creativity, pricing and your overall member value proposition.Marketing is the responsibility of the CEO, the membership director, the meeting planner and the director of marketing. Staying top of mind with your members, building their loyalty, optimizing their investment in your association and engaging them with relevant communications and meaningful value are at the core of your association’s success.One final data point: According to Forrester Research, 54% of commercial B2B marketers are increasing their marketing budgets in 2016. How much are you investing in your association’s marketing this year, and what are you getting in return? Now is a good time to ask and get answers to these important questions.

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