Today's blog post is a guest blog post written by Victoria Campbell from bluefirePR.

While the world's attention might be on the clever TV commercial for that hot consumer good from last Sunday's NFL game, the real money and strategy is in B2B digital marketing and advertising.

A recent study via LinkedIn's B2B Technology Marketing community showed that many B2B marketers are using new digital marketing tools for lead generation, customer acquisition and thought leadership. Content marketing ranked highly (72%) for B2B marketers as part of their marketing tools makeup, while social media, email marketing and mobile marketing ranked just behind.

As B2B marketers get more comfortable using new tools, they are finding new challenges to grow sales leads and build businesses. Mobile marketing is becoming an increasingly hot area for B2B marketers. The Mobile Marketing Association expects B2B marketers to spend upwards of $30 billion by 2015, according to its recent study. With higher numbers of people using tablets and smartphones to conduct business, it's become imperative for B2B marketers to rise up to the challenge of meeting these customers where these devices live.

Companies working in the B2B space have begun to understand how social media, blogging, content outreach and online advertising can grow its customer base and bring greater awareness to its brand. The LinkedIn study also showed the top three goals for B2B marketers were:

  • Lead generation (72%)
  • Thought leadership-market education (50%)
  • Customer acquisition (45%)

How can B2B marketers integrate these new marketing methods for business outreach? Let's learn.

Lead Generation - Content Marketing

Company blogs and email newsletters filled with relevant information are excellent examples of lead generation using content. Companies looking for new sales leads, or to inform current customers, are making strong use of content outreach. It works in many connected ways. Readers of the blog can share blog posts about valuable topics to colleagues in the industry, and they in turn can share the blog posts or elect to subscribe to the email newsletter. This tactic grows your business's email list, grows your thought leadership, and grows inbound sales leads.

Smart Social Media

I use the term 'smart' in the heading here to note the difference I see with many brands using social media. Some small businesses point at themselves all day, hoping to create the personality that will bring customers to their door. That won't work. An education-based approach to social media is smart. Show those following your company feed that your business 'gets it'. Retweet smart posts, add key insights from your industry and share with influencers. Being an active presence in social media will help to generate new sales leads for your company and grow the network.

Mobile Marketing and Advertising

B2B Marketers are still finding ways to use mobile marketing work for their business. Should marketers develop a mobile game app to gain customers? Should they promote their own company app for customers to make purchases from within? By 2017, tablets and smartphones will, according to IDC, be the distribution route for about 87 percent of sales from connected devices. Are B2B marketers ready to meet that demand?

Mobile ads on social networks are a key challenge to B2B marketers. Making these ads contextually relevant on various business and personal social sites can stretch even the most whiz-kid marketing brains. Know your goals in advance for such a campaign, expected ROI and followup steps after the campaign finishes.

Digital Goodwill

As B2B marketers move forward to reach an increasingly digital customer base, don't forget the personal niceties that drive business along. Sending a holiday card via Minted could always help in gaining new customers. Remember: behind all good social marketing is a human. Respond to the person and your digital success will follow.

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