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The last quarter of the year can be a challenging one for B2B marketers, especially in an environment where competition for audiences and costs of media investments are rising. November is chock full of conferences and events, digital media investments get more expensive, and annual planning is in full swing within the C-suite.
To maintain momentum through a traditionally busy season for the B2B category, PMG recommends that marketers:
Make media investments count, taking into account rising costs across the digital landscape.
Replicate winning formulas used during previous holidays.
Partnering with the sales organization to drive sales and end the year strong.
Use this time to build marketing momentum for the next year.
While retail and travel marketers are largely concerned with driving holiday sales during this time, B2B marketers are in market trying to make the most of the rest of the year—albeit with different objectives—and to set up for a successful new year.
Approaching the beginning of Q4, here are a few tips to help B2B marketers maintain momentum in the weeks ahead.
November and December traditionally yield the highest digital cost metrics of the year, driven by increased competition from retail and travel marketers who are eager to drive sales during the critical holiday season.
While B2B and B2C audiences differ, the mutual focus is on high-income individuals, who are valuable to B2C marketers looking to capture larger ticket retail and travel purchases while also serving as key business decision-makers for their employers.
For B2B marketers, this reality translates into increased competition (and costs), meaning that Q4 is not the time to test new strategies or invest in large-scale launch campaigns. Instead, invest to maintain market presence and to ensure there’s still ample coverage for capturing intent and leads that would otherwise be snatched up by the competition.
Consider spending more to capture leads through content syndication or pull strategies that support good relative spend versus investing further in media channels that have increased competition, such as social and programmatic.
Oftentimes, marketers forget their previous successes and try to reinvent the wheel. This is especially true with respect to seasonality and certain strategies. While performance metrics are often looked at year-over-year, the specific tactics that led to successes and failures in the past are often overlooked.
While 2020 likely isn’t perfect for modeling future recommendations, we recommend reviewing performance over the past few years, if possible, to determine which digital investments saw immediate performance during the holiday season—not only at the first touch but beyond—and try to replicate that performance this year.
Sales alignment this time of year is more important than ever. As the business pushes hard in the last few weeks of the year, sales will undoubtedly have priority campaigns and targets to rally for.
As such, it will be important for B2B marketers to align media investments around efforts that support sales and advance the pipeline.
Remember that marketers will pay a premium for any impression this time of year, so it will be important to remain agile and shift budgets away from rising costs (like social and programmatic) and into media investments that are likely to drive sales.
It'll be important for B2B marketers to align media investments around efforts that support sales and advance the pipeline.
For example, if a business is using account-based marketing programs, or if a sales team has set its sights on a big fish they are trying to close before the end of the year, B2B marketers can leverage channels like LinkedIn, or data partners like Bombora to account target and intent target wherever possible.
When utilizing this approach, it’s important to ensure offers and creative are aligned to the account and the intent stage to make the most out of the investment.
With any remaining budget available, B2B marketers should try to fill any gaps that are to be expected heading into the new year.
This can include getting a head start on creative and conversion point needs, investing in strategy and messaging planning, or making smart, calculated decisions about how to spend budget to support brand or product awareness.
The end of the year doesn’t have to be a bust. Take this opportunity to really see the impact of all the hard work that’s been accomplished this year.
With the right investment planning, you’d be surprised at how effective marketing can deliver true business impact and set the organization up for an incredible new year.
About the Author
Written by Jen Pyron