Digital marketing: How B2B marketers can use it to improve their performance against goals

This post is the second in a series about how B2B marketers can use digital marketing to help them make the most of their resources online and off.  The series summarizes insights from an interview with Dave Wieneke, a Director of Digital Marketing who blogs at UsefulArts.us

The first post described how B2B marketers can set up digital signals to help them monitor marketing performance.  This post describes how B2B marketers can use digital marketing to determine what they need to do to improve marketing performance.

Start with market segmentation

Every market includes a number of constituencies-each with its own goals, priorities, and ways of pursuing their goals.  When you look at the entire market, it's hard to discern patterns.  The behavior of the various groups can cancel each other out and create a muddy picture.

Therefore, Dave recommends focusing on one segment at a time.  For example, you may want to focus on the prospects that helped you achieve your goals and try to figure out what distinguishes them from everyone else.

Identify the funnel by working backwards from the goal

One way to find out what distinguishes the members of the market segment that contacted the firm is by taking a look at the behavior that lead up to achievement of the goal.  To do this, B2B marketers examine the cookies that visitors set on Google.  These cookies collect information about the paths visitors take to reach websites and the frequency with which they visit.

Dave has helped B2B and B2C marketing teams start with the prospects that help them achieve their goals, and the work backwards to find where qualified prospects come from and what they do before becoming leads.

At Sokolove Law, to find the behaviors that lead up to the display of the "thank you" note, Dave's digital marketing team searched for other behaviors these prospects had in common.  In so doing, they determined that the behavior that was most likely to lead to filling out the form, was a visit to a page that shows how Sokolove Law helps clients recover financially from injuries.  Knowing which pages are important to getting leads then helped the firm improve its websites.

Other ways to determine if what you're doing is working

In this example, the behavior that had the greatest likelihood of helping the marketing team achieve its goal, was visitors' engagement with a particular piece of content.  In other cases, it could be any one of a number of behaviors.  Examples include the total number of pages qualified prospects viewed before achieving your goal, the time they spent on the site, and the path that brought them to the site.

There are many ways that web analytics can help marketers determine what's working.  Examples include comparing the traffic from social sources to the traffic from search, looking at the amount of time spent on one page versus another (does it make sense given the content of each?), or determining whether visitors who see a particular combination of campaigns are more likely to help the marketing department reach a goal than those who view only one.

Digital marketing can help marketers improve the efficiency and efficacy of their marketing campaigns

Once you learn what works, you can explore ways to increase the efficiency and efficacy of your marketing initiatives.  To improve efficacy, you'll want to explore ways to achieve your goals more often.

For example, you might try increasing your investment in the search terms that, you determined, were most likely to send the prospects that helped you achieve your goals to your site.  Or, you might try placing the marketing that you determined sent the prospects who achieved your goals to particular landing pages, to see if that increases your success rate.

Or, you might want to try to improve the efficiency of your campaigns by exploring ways that you can improve the return you're getting on your investments.  For example, you may want to see whether reducing the frequency of your direct mail campaigns affects performance-or if switching from direct mail to email makes hurts your performance against your goal.

The digital marketing paradox

In speaking with Dave, I came to realize that while digital marketing may complicate the lives of B2B marketers at small firms in the short run, it has the potential to free up resources in the long run.  Once they have data that demonstrates which marketing investments yield the greatest returns, B2B marketers may be able to justify eliminating some of the programs they're running today.

This post, and the first in the series address my original questions about where to focus and where to start.  In the next post, we'll look at Dave's four step methodology and attempt to address the questions about what investments small marketing departments that want to pursue digital marketing need to make immediately , how long it will take to get up to speed, and what it will take to remain competitive in the long run.

Written by:

This blog

by Barbara Bix - In tough economic times, more and more clients are looking to their accountants to help them improve the bottom line. Often, the best way to do that is to start with the top line-since one can only decrease expenses so far. This blog discusses concrete actions you and your business-to-business clients can use to accelerate revenues.

More from this blog

Bloggers crew

Steve Knowles has spent 25 years in business and practice in the UK, but he also worked in the states and the years haven't dulled his way of seeing an alternative view to everyone else, and every day is a new adventure.

48644

Joel M. Ungar, CPA is a lifelong resident of the Detroit area and a graduate of The University of Michigan. He is a principal with Silberstein Ungar, PLLC, a Top 15 auditor of SEC public reporting companies.

81904

Allan Boress, CPA, with over 25 years as a practitioner and consultant to the accounting profession. Mr. Boress is the author of 12 published books in 6 different languages, including a best-seller, The "I-Hate-Selling" Book.

53814

Larry Perry, CPA, CPA Firm Support Services, LLC, is the author of accounting and auditing manuals, author and presenter of live staff training seminars, and author of webcast and self-study CPE programs. He blogs about small audits, reviews, and compilations.

97243
Sandra Wiley, COO and Shareholder, is ranked by Accounting Today as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Accounting as a result of her prominent role as an industry expert on HR and training as well as influence as a management and planning consultant. She is also a founding member of The CPA Consultant's Alliance. Sandra is a certified Kolbe™ trainer who advises firms on building balanced teams, managing employee conflict and hiring staff.
24559

Maria Calabrese, CIR, Human Resources manager for Fazio, Mannuzza, Roche, Tankel, LaPilusa, LLC in Cranford, New Jersey, Maria's topics revolve around the world of: Mentoring, Performance management, and The "Y Generation," a.k.a. "The whY generation".

61192

William Brighenti is a CPA, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, and Certified [Business] Valuation Analyst, operating an accounting, tax, and QuickBooks consulting firm in Hartford, Connecticut, Accountants CPA Hartford.

87025

Ken Garen, CPA, is the co-founder and President of Universal Business Computing Company (www.ubcc.com), a software development firm of high-volume, high-productivity accounting and payroll technology.

28492

Eva Rosenberg, MBA, EA, is the publisher of TaxMama.com, and author of the weekly syndicated Ask TaxMama column. She provides answers to tax questions from taxpayers and tax professionals worldwide.

69950

Amy Vetter, CPA, CITP is the CPA Programs Leader for Intacct Corporation responsible for leading the CPA/BPO Partners nationally.

38197
Brian Strahle is the owner of LEVERAGE SALT, LLC where he provides state and local tax technical services to accounting firms, law firms and tax research organizations across the United States. He also writes a weekly column in Tax Analysts State tax Notes entitled, "The SALT Effect." For more info, visit his website: www.leveragestateandlocaltax.com
110024
Scott H. Cytron, ABC, is president of Cytron and Company, known for helping companies and organizations improve their bottom line through a hybrid of strategic public relations, communications, marketing programs and top-notch client service. An accredited consultant, Scott works with companies, organizations and individuals in professional services (accounting, finance, medical, legal, engineering), high-tech and B2B/B2C product/service sales.
29968

Rita Keller is a nationally known CPA firm management consultant, speaker, author, mentor and blogger. She has over 30 years hands-on experience in CPA firm management, marketing, technology and administrative operations.

58170
Stacy Kildal is the mom of two fantastic kids, an Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, Certified Enterprise Solutions ProAdvisor, Sleeter Group Certified Consultant, a nationally recognized member of the Intuit Trainer and Writer Network, and co-host of RadioFree QuickBooks.
31985
Michael Alter's blog specializes in providing practical advice to those who seek greater profitability and practice management tactics that enhance deeper client relationships.
36606

Sally Glick, CMO, Principal, Marketer of the Year in 2003 and AAM Hall of Famer in 2007, leads a lively discussion of the constantly expanding roles of marketing and the professional marketers that drive this initiative in accounting firms of all sizes.

108867

The IMA Young Professionals Blog features the insights of IMA’s Young Professionals Committee. Committee members share advice and experiences on careers, continuing education, work/life balance, and other issues affecting young accounting and finance professionals.

37872

FEI Financial Reporting Blog provides highlights from SEC, PCAOB, FASB, IASB, and other regulatory news, including reporting under Sarbanes-Oxley Sect 404. It is written by Edith Orenstein, Director of Technical Policy Analysis at FEI.

120034

Sue Anderson has 30 years of experience in continuing education for accountants. Currently she is the program director for online CPE provider CPE Link.

67314

Jim Fahey is COO of Apple Growth Partners, a regional CPA firm in Ohio. His focus is on the effective and efficient use of technology within the firm by all team members.

43659
Caleb Newquist is the Editor-in-Chief of Sift Media US, overseeing content for both AccountingWEB and Going Concern.
71379

Leita Hart-Fanta, CPA, CGFM, and CGAP is the author of "The Yellow Book Interpreted" and owner of Yellowbook-CPE.com a website devoted to training for governmental auditors.

98325

AccountingWEB is more than just a U.S. team of journalists and financial and technology experts - we have an international side, too! Members of our British team who publish AccountingWEB.co.uk share their ideas, insights, and perspectives from across the pond.

58897