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Web And Digital Marketing For B2B SMEs 1 of 3. Breakdown The Confusion…

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As an advertiser, I faced constant challenges like many B2B end users out there in treading the web and digital marketing landscape.

With limited budget, we often ask, where do we allocate our marketing dollars?  How much to allocate if there are more than one digital marketing paths to take?  What would be the return on investments (ROI)?  And the list goes on…

Image from Smart Insights

 

I come from the B2B segment in the IT industry and in this series of articles, I would like to share the learnings in my digital journey.  The countless meetings with vendors, the myriad of options in digital marketing, the pitfalls to some digital channels and the importance of education in digitisation.

It has been a decade since I started on a digital transformation journey.  And this journey accelerated in the last five years.

Web marketing, social media marketing, digital media marketing and SOLOMO are perhaps some of the jargons endusers have been bombarded with.  These terminologies don’t serve much value and instead, confused many.

Web marketing has been around for some time now.  It may not be as mature as traditional form of marketing, such as billboards and radio, but web marketing has gained a foothold in the industry.

While there are some differences in this broad segment, most jargons above can be used interchangeably.

Confusion, if any, can be minimised by breaking down into smaller parts with the following…

  • If you are running a B2C business, there are perhaps more reasons for you to consider digital marketing in your overall marketing strategies
  • But if you are in B2B, you might need to mull through if this is suitable for your business and what your objectives are?
  • B2B domains such as construction industry, industrial engineering, shipping, agricultural and professional services might not be suitable, if the objectives are not clearly defined. Or if your business operations belong to the upstream of the above, then web marketing might be less useful

Before you embark on web marketing, do discuss with some agencies to facilitate your research.  Here are some pointers you could use and hopefully help you make better decision…

  • Don’t write-off the small agencies.  They are usually more practical and take on smaller assignments
  • Agencies usually start off by sharing with you what they do.  Ask for their previous work.  If they are new, or don’t have much to show, don’t write them off too early.  Tell them they could collaborate with you and in return, they get to build up track records
  • Ask the potential vendors which is/are the suitable platforms for your business in relation to web marketing and why?  The general rule-of-thumb would be, Facebook, Google Display Network, Search Engine Marketing (under Google), YouTube, your own websites and web portals
  • If LinkedIn is in the rule-of-thumb list, something may not be right.  This is because marketing in LinkedIn has various other considerations and it is typically quite costly, especially for SMEs
  • Read up about Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Social Media Marketing (SMM).  They are different and it is recommended to know where the differences are
  • Sometimes, you might need to appoint more than one agency to do more than one area of web marketing

After some basic research is done, you are likely to be overwhelmed.  Do spend some time to think through and learn to ask pointed questions.

Speak with friends and industry people for their perspectives and ask for opinions.  But perhaps most importantly, read up from articles such as those from Web Analytics Consultants Association (WACA).

 

In my next article, I would share about management buy-in and pointers in which, where and why web marketers should and could do.

 

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