Getting the right B2B message to the right B2B audience – Everytime…

Blaring trumpets creating noise at SocialMarketingConversations.comWhat three things (among the zillions of possible things) are impacting how marketers connect with and get the right message to the right audience?  First is that the noise in social media is deafening and secondly, if the message does get through the din, how can you get the executive responsible a message that appeals direct to him and not a generic, one-size-fits-all bit of malarkey?  And third, we are at the front edge of a wave where we should expect consumers (and buyers) will opt out of the behavioral tracking model that many marketers rely on to help present a message at the right time (assuming it ever could that is).

Thanks to our friends at LinkedIn©, business-to-business (B2B) targeted messaging has taken a turn for the better.  LinkedIn© Company Pages and a new multiple-audience messaging capability for the Product & Services page have arrived and wow, are they exciting!  This development is important to businesses for a few reasons -

Privacy and DNT - Consumers and business are finding that they can restrict how marketers track them as they surf around the web and they are deciding that ‘Do Not Track’ (DNT) is for them.  Without a lot of hassle, consumers can uncover up to 94 different tracking cookies on any of your systems and any browser and by all accounts people are using it.  Alexa reports that around 1.25 are visiting NetworkAdvertising.org’s website, which offers a free assessment on which ad networks have tracking cookies on their system and the site also offers a one-click capability to cancel those cookies and notify ad network that you wish to opted-out of behavioral tracking with them.

I believe that web surfers will opt-out of ad networks when they can and Pew Internet and American Life Project research supports that kind of assumption.  A recent survey suggests that around 59% see the business practice of targeting ads based on data collected from users of email, search or social networking sites as an unjustified use of private information.  The growth of privacy issues is not likely to go away soon and marketers need to prepare for it – this is one tactic to address it in an appropriate way.

Wasted Messaging - Wannmaker was credited with saying that he knew half of his marketing was wasted, he just didn’t know which half – and that was before everyone on the Internet became a publisher and elevated the noise-to-message factor to obscene levels.  Most marketing messages in social however are not wasted because to receive a brand message in your social stream requires an opt-in or subscription to the brand’s online presence.

Logo for LinkedIn at Social Marketing ConversationsLike a paid ad though, you can now select the demographic that will see your message when they visit your LinkedIn Company Page and you can be assured that a visitor to your LinkedIn Company Page is pretty much who they say they are; not absolutely of course, but pretty much you should expect that of the 170M LinkedIn members, each set up their profile more or less accurately.  So than the person who says they are a VP in a chemical-industry company in Texas in their profile is pretty likely to be living in Texas, is a VP and they work for a chemicals company.

Why LinkedIn?

Graph showing a 4x conversion rate of LinkedIn visitors to a B2B website from HubSpot  (via David Meerman Scott)Aside from being able to define and redfine your targeted audience, conversion from LinkedIn is very high.  HubSpot reported late last year (via a post from David Meerman Scott) that a visitors from LinkedIn to their clients website experienced a x4 effect in conversion versus visitors from Twitter or Facebook.  Seems to me that an investment in an effectively developed Company Page that further helps visitors understand your value proposition is a good investment and growing in importance to B2B marketers.

How Segmented are the Demographic options for targeting?

Very.

Not being a mathematician (but I imitate one now and then), the number of possible combinations is in the millions.  LinkedIn has done a decent job of defining their professional members according to a variety of criteria.  Here’s how it looks when you examine the segmentation -

  • 10           Options to select for target company size
  • 18           Job Functions you can target
  • 147         Industry segments to select from
  • 7              Seniority levels from within the company
  • 405         Geographies to choose from

By the way, these are the same ‘Target Audience’ selections for posting a company update on your Company Page.  Again, the number of possible combinations is in the millions so there is little reason for a decision maker on your product to see the same message as the rest of the world.  You can tailor the right message to the right audience using your LinkedIn Product & Services listings.

Sounds cool; sounds complicated

It is probably a bit geeky – but help is here.  A video says a lot of this better than any number of boring words, so here’s a quick (6 minutes or so) that shows what we are talking about.

LinkedIn© Multiple Audience Messaging (YouTube Video)

Once you understand the  capabilities and want to work with your team to implement multiple audience messages, getting your thoughts organized and content collected is essential.  Here are a couple of tools to help with that; an Excel spreadsheet and a PDF Work Guide that can be printed out and used to facilitate a working session to define parameters for each audience segment you want to message.

We also offer facilitator-driven workshops to help you and your company get moving on this type of project quickly.  Let us know if we can help with making sure you’re delivering the right message to the right audience today!

 Resources Cited

  • Clancy Boyer

    Steve, this is amazing stuff. Your site is quite helpful! Thanks for sharing. This EconGarden stuff should be fun. I appreciate your help.