B2B Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Business

By Alexis Trammell on April 29, 2024
B2B Marketing Strategies

Every B2B business, no matter how successful, should have a clear marketing strategy. A strategy defines how you’ll achieve your goals. It clarifies how you’ll win against the competition.

Without a marketing strategy, your efforts will likely be scattered, rudderless, and frustratingly ineffective.

Want to develop B2B marketing strategies that move the needle? Here’s what you need to know:

What Is a B2B Marketing Strategy?

A business-to-business (B2B) marketing strategy is a comprehensive plan that guides your company’s marketing efforts to reach and engage other businesses. Think software companies selling to hospitals or manufacturing firms supplying parts to automakers.

What it’s not? The tactics or channels you use.

For example, advertising, search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, and email campaigns are all essential pieces of the puzzle, but they’re not the strategy itself.

Instead, marketing strategy is a roadmap for positioning your products or services, targeting the right decision-makers, and ultimately driving revenue growth. Research from the Content Marketing Institute highlights that 53% of successful B2B marketers have a documented marketing strategy.

top performers b2b content marketing bar graph

B2B Marketing Strategy vs. B2B Marketing Plan

A strategy is an overarching direction. A plan outlines the steps to make the strategy actionable.

semrush lists the difference between marketing strategy and marketing plan

A B2B marketing strategy includes B2B companies’ marketing goals, business opportunities, target audience, positioning or differentiation, and competitive landscape.

A B2B marketing plan, on the other hand, is a more tactical document that outlines the specific steps you’ll take to achieve those goals. It includes channels, social media platforms, tactics, offers, messaging, creative, budget, and timing.

Sprout Social illustrates this distinction well. Their strategy centers on championing innovation in social media management, which guides everything from educational content to product development.

Their plan includes tactics like:

  • Thought leadership content
  • Webinars showcasing cutting-edge features
  • Case studies highlighting customer success

A B2B marketing strategy and a detailed marketing plan work together. The strategy provides the guiding light, while the plan paves the way forward.

What Makes B2B Different From B2C

The target audience is the key difference between B2B and business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing. B2B markets to businesses, while B2C targets direct consumers.

B2B marketing is more complex because it involves high-priced products or services with longer sales cycles. The buying process includes multiple stakeholders, including executive buyers, internal champions, and technical evaluators.

B2C marketing, on the other hand, focuses on individual consumers. While B2C marketing aims to persuade consumers to purchase, B2B marketing builds relationships.

The Building Blocks of a B2B Marketing Strategy

Identifying Target Decision-Makers

Stakeholders have unique concerns and priorities, so identifying target decision-makers is key.

You’ve probably heard about Gartner’s research on B2B buying groups. They found that for a complex B2B solution, you typically look at six to 10 decision-makers involved in the purchase decision. These decision-makers include executive buyers, internal champions, technical evaluators, financial buyers, and end-users.

Speak to their unique pain points and priorities — that’s how you’ll get the whole buying group on board.

Creating Relevant Content

Your target audience wants insights that speak to their challenges: more value, more trust, more engagement.

Just look at Semrush — they’re not just an industry leader but also a content powerhouse.

Their secret sauce?

They break down even the most complex SEO and digital marketing concepts into digestible, actionable insights. For example, have a look at this section from a piece on crawl budgets:

definition of the crawl budget

Creating content that addresses their audience’s needs and pain points allows Semrush to establish themself as a trusted resource. And that focus is precisely what you should aim for, too.

Think about what keeps your potential clients up at night. Focus on topics that matter most to your target decision-makers and present them in a way that’s easy to understand and apply.

Using Marketing Tools and Channels

Investing in marketing tools and channels is the next step as your company grows. A company’s marketing technology usage naturally increases as the annual recurring revenue (ARR) or employee count rises.

But with so many options, how do you know where to focus?

It’s simple: prioritize the channels that best align with your target audience. Don’t try to be everywhere at once. Instead, pick two to three core channels before expanding your efforts.

The same goes for marketing tools. Falling into the “more is better” trap is easy, but tool bloat is a real problem. Studies show that employees use less than half of a company’s SaaS applications regularly.

Build your tech stack gradually. Don’t feel pressured to jump on every new platform or tool. Instead, prioritize what works for your unique business and employees. Here’s a handy chart from Clearbit on the tools you can invest in based on your team size:

infographic describing when to invest in martech

A focused approach allows you to scale your marketing efforts without draining your budget.

13 Effective B2B Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Business

There are a variety of B2B marketing strategies for your business to consider. What’s important is that you select strategies on which you can effectively execute. It’s one thing to declare a marketing strategy, and it’s an entirely different proposition to activate it and achieve significant marketing results.

The following are B2B marketing strategy options:

Activate the Marketing Flywheel

The marketing flywheel represents a system by which the more you do, the faster you see real marketing results. When done right, this flywheel produces compound results.

At Stratabeat, our flywheel starts with creating high-quality, long-form content optimized for organic search. We promote this content through various channels to drive organic traffic to our site.

Strategic CTAs throughout our content and website encourage visitors to take specific actions. We use IP detection and behavioral analysis to gain insights into our visitors’ interests and optimize their experience.

This way, each flywheel rotation builds upon the previous one and drives greater traffic, engagement, and conversions with less effort as we scale.

Encourage Creative Innovation

Creative marketing is about being different and standing out from your competition. HBR’s research shows that creativity attracts more attention and leads to positive attitudes about the products being marketed.

So, how do you encourage creative innovation in your B2B marketing strategy?

Start by encouraging your team to take calculated risks. Brainstorm ideas that challenge the status quo in your industry.

For example, can you introduce a contrarian take with solid data and real-world examples? Encourage your team to explore unconventional angles and solutions that might initially seem counterintuitive.

Look for inspiration outside your industry, too. We once launched 100 knowledge hubs for a client’s target accounts in a single day — a tactic adapted from the retail sector. Another time, we shipped giant 4′ x 3′ movie tickets with custom URLs to account-specific videos, borrowing from the entertainment world.

The key is to balance creativity with strategy. Ground your ideas in customer insights and business objectives.

And always test and iterate. The more you flex your creative muscles, the easier it becomes to make a memorable impact on your target audience.

Cultivate a Customer-First Strategy

Every interaction a potential or existing customer has with your B2B brand shapes their overall experience and perception.

From the moment they discover your helpful content in search results or on social media to when they land on your website, explore your offerings, and engage with your sales and support teams — each touchpoint matters.

Prioritize delivering exceptional experiences across the entire customer journey. This focus means understanding your target audience’s needs, preferences, and behavior at each stage.

When you provide valuable, relevant insights that speak directly to your potential client’s challenges and create a customer-first experience, you naturally attract more qualified leads to your website.

Customer-first content, in particular, ranks well in search engines for topics and questions your audience searches. It also gets shared more on social media and gets quality backlinks.

This approach boosts your inbound lead generation and drives targeted traffic to your site.

Maintain Market Leadership

Congratulations if you’re the top dog in your industry, but don’t rest on your laurels. Maintaining market leadership requires a strategic approach that uses your position and keeps competitors at bay.

One powerful tactic is to showcase your market dominance. Share impressive stats about your customer base, market share, or global presence.

For example, the automation platform Zapier regularly highlights its 6,000+ integrations and over two million users.

zapier homepage

zapier CTA for seeing automation in action

But don’t just talk about your size — emphasize how it benefits your customers. Perhaps your extensive customer base allows you to gather unique insights, or your global presence ensures reliable support across time zones.

Remember, maintaining market leadership is an ongoing effort. Be vigilant, stay innovative, and provide your customers with exceptional value.

Embrace the Challenger Mentality

Not the market leader? No problem.

Turn your underdog status into a competitive advantage. It’s easier to be bold as a challenger.

Emphasize how you go above and beyond for your customers. Highlight your personalized support, extra features, or faster innovation cycles.

Take Clearscope, an SEO content optimization tool, for example. They’re up against industry giant SurferSEO.

But instead of trying to outmuscle them, Clearscope leans into its challenger status. They produce thought-provoking content that challenges conventional SEO wisdom and showcases their unique approach.

clearscope webinars

Another tactic is to poke fun at the market leader’s weaknesses playfully. Maybe they’re slow to adapt, or their customer service is lackluster. Use humor to position yourself as the refreshing alternative.

Embrace the challenger mentality, and you just might find yourself catapulted to the top of your industry.

Disrupt the Market

Disrupt the market by challenging the status quo. Salesforce did just that by entering a crowded CRM space dominated by Siebel Systems. They introduced a cloud-based model that was more accessible and user-friendly than traditional solutions.

To be a successful disruptor, you must identify gaps in the market or unmet customer needs and create a solution that addresses those pain points.

Being disruptive isn’t just about being different; it’s about delivering superior value and driving meaningful change.

Ready to accelerate your growth?

Stratabeat fueled 5X growth for a B2B SaaS client within two years See How!
5X Growth

Master Niche Targeting

Identifying your niche audience requires understanding their pain points, culture, and buying habits.

How do you get this understanding? Conduct surveys and analyze audience behavior on your website and social media channels.

Another critical aspect of niche targeting is personalization. You can create highly customized experiences that speak directly to a narrower audience’s needs.
For example, the product analytics tool Mixpanel increased signup volume by 200% between 2020 and 2021 by creating personalized ads and content experiences for each high-value account.

This way, niche targeting allows you to become the go-to solution for your specific audience.

Integrate Neuroscience

Design messages and experiences that capture attention, evoke emotion, and motivate action by understanding how the brain works.

For example, wrap your offering in a compelling story. According to psychologist Jerome Bruner, stories make information 22x more memorable. Or tap into emotions. Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio found that without emotion, people struggle to make decisions, including purchases.

marketing success stories

The key is to go beyond just listing benefits and features. Incorporating neuroscience principles into marketing can improve both information and persuasion.

Use Account-Based Marketing (ABM) for Precision Targeting

Account-based marketing focuses on a specific group of target accounts that match your ideal customer profile (ICP). Unlike inbound marketing, ABM emphasizes quality over quantity, which focuses on getting as many leads as possible.

Your goal with ABM is to build relationships. Continuous targeted marketing helps you achieve this.

ABM is a long-term strategy that requires patience, dedication, and persistence, yet it’s effective over time. ITSMA states, “Account-based marketing delivers the highest return on investment of any strategic B2B marketing approach. Period.”

With ABM, you align your marketing, sales, and customer success teams around high-value accounts, allowing you to deliver a personalized, relevant experience.

Optimize B2B Engagement with Marketing Automation

Marketing automation delivers personalized experiences at scale. Data allows you to create sophisticated nurture programs that guide prospects through the buying journey.

Consistently providing value and building trust over time positions you as the clear choice when the prospect is ready to buy. With 55% of global marketers planning to increase spending on overall marketing technology next year, companies now understand the importance of personalization at scale.

But marketing automation goes beyond just email. It involves integrating your CRM, website, social media, and other channels to create a seamless, omnichannel experience. Tracking engagement across touchpoints lets you gain deep insights into your prospects’ needs and behaviors.

Employ Guerilla Marketing Tactics

Guerilla marketing involves making a significant impact with limited resources. It’s a creative, unconventional approach that surprises your audience.
For example, Slack used its 404 error page as a guerrilla marketing strategy to showcase innovation.

slack glitch notification

Consider guerilla tactics, such as launching a mystery social media marketing campaign or surprising your target accounts with personalized gifts. The goal is to stand out, spark curiosity, and make an impression.

Engage Through Cause Marketing

A cause marketing campaign aligns your brand with a particular good cause, such as reducing ocean trash or providing clean water.

To succeed with cause marketing, engage your employees and customers. Share stories of impact, create volunteering opportunities, and make charitable giving a part of your company culture.

For example, Salesforce’s 1-1-1 model dedicates 1% of their product, equity, and employees’ time to charitable causes.

join the pledge movement graphic

This dedication aligns with their mission to create positive change and appeals to socially conscious B2B buyers.

Lastly, integrate your commitment to the cause into your overall strategy. By walking the walk and not just talking the talk, you build trust, loyalty, and a shared sense of purpose with your audience.

Ongoing Testing and Optimization

Finally, marketing success requires ongoing testing and optimization. Experiment with different marketing tactics and see what works best for your business.
What works today might not work tomorrow, so you should always test and validate your approach. The only way to do this is to have key metrics in place for tracking your results.

Use conversion rate optimization (CRO) techniques like A/B testing, user testing, and behavioral analysis to identify potential areas for improvement. Based on the results of your tests and your established key performance indicators (KPIs), optimize your marketing activities to improve results.

B2B SaaS Marketing Strategies

23 B2B SaaS Marketing Strategies To Grow Your Brand (+ Examples)

These marketing strategies attract more traffic, generate more leads, and drives B2B business. Read the Post

The Digital Evolution of B2B Marketing Channels

B2B marketing requires the right combination of marketing channels. According to Gartner, 72% of marketing budgets are now spent on digital channels. Reaching and engaging modern B2B audiences requires a digital-first approach. Let’s explore some of the best digital marketing channels for B2B:

Website

Your website is usually the first element potential customers see when encountering your brand. Focus on creating a clean, professional design and easy navigation for B2B audiences. Make your value prop crystal clear and put it front and center like Trello does.

Mobile optimization is also a must. 63% of Google Searches in the US also happen on mobile. Make sure your site looks great and works smoothly on mobile devices.

Now, let’s discuss conversion rate optimization (CRO), which is how you turn website visitors into leads.

Start by deciding what actions you want people to take — maybe requesting a demo or downloading a whitepaper. Then, use A/B testing tools (like Optimizely or VWO) to experiment with different CTAs, form lengths, and page layouts.

Monitor metrics like bounce rate, time on page, and conversion rate. They’ll tell you what’s working and what needs fixing.

SEO

SEO (including technical SEO, on-page SEO, SEO copywriting, and offsite SEO) enables you to connect with your audience precisely when they are most receptive to your message. Through strategic B2B SEO, you can get your web pages to rank on the first page of the search engine results pages (SERPs) for important keywords.

Keep up with the latest marketing trends to stay ahead.

One of the biggest is voice search optimization. 62% of Americans 18+ use voice assistants like Siri and Alexa to find what they need — make sure your content targets those natural, conversational keywords.

But that’s not all. E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) is key for B2B websites.

b2b eeat google

Create in-depth, well-researched content that showcases your industry expertise and back it with practical examples.

So, how do you choose the right keywords? To start, understand your niche and buyer’s journey.

Long-tail keywords that reflect the specific problems your audience is trying to solve? Those are gold. And don’t forget that B2B buying cycles are long — target keywords for each stage, from awareness to consideration to decision.

SEO is especially great at driving conversions.

Case in point: Wix. By adding Schema markup to their blog, they gained over 7,000 clicks in just one month on their ” how-to” articles. SEO can drive targeted, ready-to-buy traffic.

The beauty of SEO is that the results compound over time. The more you invest in it, the more profitable it becomes.

Content Marketing

Creating high-quality content such as blog posts, research reports, videos, podcasts, ebooks, infographics, and whitepapers attracts prospects to your website and educates them about your products or services.

According to DemandGen’s report, the top content formats that B2B buyers find most appealing right now include:

demandgen report about top content formats for b2b buyers

When creating your content calendar, align it with the B2B buyer’s journey. Start with awareness-stage content that addresses their pain points and helps them understand the problem. Then, move into consideration-stage content that showcases your solution and helps them evaluate their options.

Just look at how Deloitte used thought leadership content to break into AI.

deloitte ai institute

In their reports and articles, they explored the business implications of AI, establishing themselves as a trusted resource.

When done correctly, B2B content marketing builds trust and credibility with your target customers and showcases your differentiation and brand personality.

Public Relations (PR)

Media coverage raises brand awareness and builds credibility for your business. That means generating buzz in industry publications, building relationships with key influencers, and positioning yourself as a thought leader.

One powerful tactic is guest posting on industry-specific platforms. Contributing content to respected sites helps you reach new audiences and establish expertise. Tools like Help a B2B Writer and HARO (Help a Reporter Out) connect you with journalists and publications looking for expert sources and guest contributors.

To land coveted placements, you need a strong pitch that shows an understanding of the publication’s audience and offers a unique angle. This pitch could be proprietary data that sheds new light on a hot topic or a contrarian take on a common industry challenge.

This way, strategic PR placements and pitches can help you cut through the noise and make a real impact on your industry standing.

Email and Marketing Automation

Email marketing is a great way to nurture relationships with your target prospects and customers. You can use email to send informative content, such as blog posts, whitepapers, and ebooks.

Email campaign automation delivers personalized messages to the right people at the right time.

With AI and machine learning in the mix, personalization tailors emails based on each lead’s behavior and interests, ensuring your message really hits home.

How? By segmenting your email list based on behavioral data.

Did someone download your latest whitepaper? Boom — they’re added to a drip campaign that serves up related content over time. You’re nurturing them with valuable insights until they’re ready to take the next step.

Professional Networking on LinkedIn

LinkedIn isn’t just a place to connect with colleagues. With over 700 million professionals on the platform, it’s a goldmine for reaching decision-makers and influencers in your industry.

Here are three strategies to maximize your LinkedIn impact:

  • Use Sales Navigator to identify and engage with key prospects. Its advanced search and lead recommendations can help you zero in on the right people.
  • Use LinkedIn Ads to reach a highly targeted B2B audience. With options like Sponsored Content, you can get your message in front of the right people at the right time.
  • Encourage employee advocacy. When your team shares your content and engages with your posts, it amplifies your reach and builds trust with potential buyers.

But LinkedIn isn’t just about outreach — it’s also a crucial platform for thought leadership. Your employees can become go-to experts as they post valuable content and participate in industry discussions.

Alex Kracov, the CEO of sales and onboarding software Dock, for example, regularly posts about product updates on LinkedIn.

alex kracov dock reports on linkedin

This tactic drives buzz around the new feature.

The key is to combine targeted outreach, thought leadership, and employee advocacy to turn the platform into a powerful engine for B2B growth.

Live Events

Live events have always been a staple of B2B marketing — and for good reason. They offer a unique opportunity to connect with prospects face-to-face, build relationships, and showcase your expertise. But post-pandemic, the event landscape has changed dramatically.

Enter virtual and hybrid events. These digital-first experiences have become a crucial part of the B2B marketing mix.

So, how do you create a virtual event that engages your B2B audience? It starts with choosing the right platform — one that offers interactive features like live polling, Q&A, and breakout rooms. You also need to consider your content, ensuring it’s tailored to the virtual format and packed with value for attendees.

One company that nailed the virtual event experience is HubSpot. In 2020, their annual INBOUND conference went entirely virtual, attracting over 70,000 attendees from around the world.

hubspot inbound announcement

They combined live and prerecorded content, interactive sessions, and networking opportunities to create an event that was just as engaging and impactful as an in-person event.

Like INBOUND, proper planning and execution ensure live events connect with your B2B audience and drive real business results — no plane tickets required.

Referral Marketing

Referral marketing involves getting new business from customers or partners. The best part? You skip a whole layer of trust-building during the marketing and sales process.

This way, social proof — like online reviews and social media testimonials — shortens the sales cycle.

Create a referral program that encourages ethical referrals. Offer your existing customers discounts, exclusive access to new features, or cash rewards for successful referrals.

Make it mutually beneficial. Your customers should be genuinely excited to recommend your product — not just in it for the reward.

TypeForm implemented a referral program through SaaSQuatch that gave existing customers a 20% discount for each new user they referred. The result? A 10% boost in annual paid subscriptions.

Referral marketing isn’t limited to individual B2B customers. Partnering with complementary businesses or implementing influencer marketing opens new networks and builds credibility.

Successful referral marketing is about building genuine relationships and delivering exceptional value. If you do that, your customers and partners will be happy to spread the word.

Strategic Partnerships

A strategic partnership occurs when you and a complementary business (NOT a competitor) join forces. Through a strategic partnership, you can reach a larger, already interested audience with your marketing message.

Today, partnerships have taken on new forms. Think API integrations that allow your products to work together, like Todoist’s integration with Trello, which allows you to send tasks to your to-do list directly from Trello.

trello powerup description

Or co-crated content series that showcase your shared expertise.

But how do you find the right partners?

Start by looking for companies that share your values and target audience. Then, reach out with a clear value proposition. Show how partnering could benefit both of your businesses.

Approach partnerships as a two-way street. It’s not just about what you can gain but what you can offer.

Paid Media and Direct Mail

Paid media, including paid search and various online and offline advertising like direct mail, is a great marketing option at the bottom of the funnel. Pay-per-click (PPC) like Google Ads and retargeting ads on Facebook are examples of paid media.

And here’s the thing — direct mail is making a comeback. When our inboxes overflow and digital ads flash before our eyes, a tangible piece of mail stands out.
But it’s all about blending the old with the new. Integrating direct mail with digital tracking tools — think QR codes and personalized URLs — lets you monitor your campaign’s impact.

Cost-wise, direct mail tends to be pricier upfront than digital ads. But its conversion rates can make up for the initial investment. Balance your budget across channels to maximize ROI.

So, you’re not just throwing money at different tactics and hoping something sticks but crafting a cohesive campaign.

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Create a Well-Rounded Strategy

As you can see, there are a variety of B2B marketing strategies, platforms, tools, and tactics. To maximize your marketing results, think about strategy first. With the right strategy, you’ll have options for the specific steps to achieve your goals.

Just as a GPS ensures you’re heading in the right direction when driving in a car, a B2B marketing strategy successfully guides you to your intended destination.

Looking to outsource? Stratabeat is the only B2B marketing agency that examines verified ICP-content fit with IP detection software, applies behavioral intelligence for more qualified leads, and optimizes for MQL to SQL conversions just as much as for traffic.