7 B2B Advertising Opportunities You Are Missing

B2B advertisers generally target smaller, harder to define audiences than consumer advertisers, which puts a major premium on effective targeting in B2B advertising.

However, many B2B marketing groups are continuing to use the same targeting options they mastered in print and direct mail, simply applied to newer digital marketing tactics.

Today, B2B marketers have many new options available. Below are 7 options and potential providers for each one.

Use Your Keyword Data

If you are like most B2B marketers, search is a staple component of your outbound marketing mix. However, most B2B marketers are still missing other ways to use search data.

  1. Search Retargeting. Search retargeting allows you to buy display ads targeted to people that have searched for your keywords. You can also include competitors products that may be restricted in traditional search. Providers: Simpli.fi, Chango, Fetchback.
  2. InText Ads. Buy your keywords in the text of articles on news and content sites. Providers: Vibrant Media, Kontera.

Use Your Own Audience Data

Data is one of the keys to modern online advertising, take full advantage of the audience data you already have in house.

  1. Retargeting. One of the oldest targeting tactics in B2C, retargeting is still underutilized by B2B marketers even though it is generally one of the most cost effective tactics. Providers: AdRoll, Fetchback, Retargeter.
  2. CRM Retargeting. Retargeting doesn’t have to stop with your site traffic. With CRM retargeting, one of the newer options included in this list, you can target people in your email database across the web. Providers: Retargeter, LiveRamp.

Target by Company, Industry or Role

You probably already work with publications that cover your industry or role, such as Industry Week for manufacturing or Information Week for IT management. Today you can reach your audience across much more general sites as well, often at a significant discount.

  1. Audience Targeting. Bizo has established themselves as the leading provider of B2B audience data, here are the segments they have available.
  2. Company Targeting. Do you have a list of specific target companies or accounts? Cherry pick your targets and deliver ads only to people at those companies. Providers: Bizo, Demandbase, Neustar.
  3. LinkedIn Data Targeting. Through a new partnership, LinkedIn can now sell ads across the web targeting using their own profile data. LinkedIn is the gold standard for B2B data, making this one of the most interesting new offerings in my opinion. This is really a type of audience targeting, above, but it is separate here because self-reported LinkedIn data is different from typical audience data.

Although some tactics, such as retargeting, are catching on in B2B now, B2B advertisers are still missing many of the new opportunities modern online media provides.

Your Turn

What online advertising opportunities do you see B2B marketers missing today? Share your answer, or a question about where to start, in the comments below, with me on Twitter (@wittlake) or by email (available under my bio in the sidebar).

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  • tomdebaere

    Hi Eric,

    I’ll be very honest with you, I have not used any of the techniques you mention. Should I be worried now? I don’t know.

    What I have come to find is that, knowing about all of these techniques, more often than not, small marketing teams become overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done. Priorities tend to go to resource sucking activities like tradeshows, website updates, collateral in general, and communication campaigns.

    Once you are large enough, you can hire data marketers and online-marketers. And that’s when you are ready for the techniques you mention.

    What’s your take?

    Best regards,


    • Hi Tom,

      I think it really comes down in part to what your goals are. If you are focused primarily on lead generation, these banner-focused tactics are going to be marginal contributors.

      The one exception I would flag is retargeting. If you already have landing pages that have been optimized through search and you have banners that you are using with trade publishers, retargeting will likely be a small but cost effective tactic for you.

      — Eric

      • hi Eric, thx for this article, I believe in a mix of organic and paid. Very useful info for this narrow audience high relation friendly field of business which is B2B. You say that it’s not good for lead gen, what is then the main goal?

        • Thanks Pascal.

          I should caveat that comment a bit. If, like most B2B marketers, you need immediate post-click lead capture, these won’t be great tactics. If you want to get a message out, drive traffic into your page, increase awareness of your brand, etc, while keeping your investment very focused on your target audience, these are interesting opportunities. All of that can then drive leads as well, but most of them will be indirect, ie you will often not be able to tie most of the individual leads back to this marketing activity, you will need to focus on the overall increase or use other ways to measure and attribute the leads. (Online measurement is a topic for another post that is probably long overdue…)

          Hopefully that clarifies the comment to Tom.

          • thanks for replying, the problem is then again: how to convince the stakeholders that this is worth the investment, but you might referring to the overdue measurement post 🙂

          • Thanks Pascal. I think how to convince stakeholders is yet another post. I did recently post a perspective on measurement and our specific challenges in B2B that might help a bit: http://b2bdigital.net/2013/04/02/b2b-marketings-measurement-problem/

            Thanks for the input, I definitely appreciate it!

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  • Matthew Jameson

    Hey Great useful article! I found this article via @monikacjansen. I have been doing direct sales for a few years now and am just getting into B2B sales. SO much different. Rather then just cold calling i am learning to advertise properly and use the web to reach out to companies. We built a mobile pest control software program only to be used by pest control companies. Most of the companies are behind the curve with technology so worried social media might not reach our target market. However we have found that the pest control operators using social media are also the ones more likely to trust our “new fangled” software program of those “ipad thingys”.
    Thanks again for the advise.

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