B2B isn’t the only option for B2B

Brands might say: “Yes, but it’s different for us because we don’t talk to consumers.”

Sarah Parsonage, Publisher at The Memo, says that for her, ‘growing eyeballs’ is not as impor­tant as the engaged reader.

“We’re looking to extract insightful, interesting and ultimately enjoyable editorial from a skilled editorial team. That’s what’s most valuable to our advertisers, and measuring individual, engaged readers through time spent on each article or time on site is far more important than metrics like ‘traffic.’ For me, the value of one engaged reader, targeted with relevant content that builds an overall community, is far greater than 5,000 nonchalant readers targeted with irrelevant or heavily-commercial content.”

Sharethrough’s Sam Payne adds that B2B is (and always will be) more granular in terms of targe­ting, but as ad technology gets better and better (especially with the birth of native programma­tic), we as an industry can start serving brand content in an even more cost-effective way to niche business audiences.

Having said this, as the ways people consume content increase — and overlap — , so do the ways to reach ‘B2B’ audiences. What we see here is the emergence of ‘business to human’ marketing, rather than defining people by their job roles, and the need to not overlook mainstream to achieve front of mind.

“It’s important to remember that a B2B audience does not solely consume content on ‘business’ sites: they are active consumers of more mainstream content as well. Reaching these audien­ces in their downtime is also an effective way of brand marketing. Again with ad technology, we can serve relevant content to relevant audiences across the wider web.”

Another important point is that distribution platforms are also able to optimise campaigns towards best performing placements, so a broader targeting approach at the start of a campaign can result in a hugely effective targe­ted campaign.

Parsonage added that publishers often find navigating the fine line between commercial relationships and editorial integrity no easy task, regardless of their audience. She says that they have an obligation to readers to deliver relevant content that informs and educates, regardless of who the reader might be or what they read a particular publication for.

“This sits hand in hand with our obligation to advertisers to demonstrate effective return on investment based on their overall objectives. 
 As a new publisher, we have the benefit of being able to work with our advertisers on a bespoke basis. This allows us to identify their objectives, be it lead generation, brand engagement, brand positioning or author profile — and create an offe­ring that meets and hopefully exceeds these.”

How we can be better at dealing with this

· Do your research: look at competitors, brands you admire, people you’ve seen make ama­zing things. Then seek out learnings and talk to people who have worked with them before.

· Consider native advertising to promote your content to a B2B audience.

· Use Global Web Index to map out the ‘out of office’ behaviours of professionals, as well as consider creating your own research through focus groups or surveys.

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