Trade Publisher Platforms: The Foundations of a B2B Advertising Campaign

Trade Publisher Platforms: The Foundations of a B2B Advertising Campaign

As discussed in a previous post, trade publishers have the access to subscriber data and industry research to help build the fundamentals of a B2B advertising strategy. Typically, these publishers and their platforms — which include their printed publications and website, eNewsletters and conferences — are a top source for both the awareness and consideration phase of the buyer’s journey.

Analyze Data

Trade publication information should always be viewed in the context of the source you’re getting it from. A best practice is to request the same information from all trade sources and use that as a gauge to determine the better approach in reaching your specific target.

As with any ad campaign, a multiple touchpoint approach is most effective. Depending upon the number of publishers within your trade, it’s best to select two to three (budget allowing) as your starting point. Most budgets will not allow an advertiser to be everywhere. You can evaluate and select partners based on a few key data points:

  • How well they reach your target: Reader profiles will help in making this selection
  • Relevancy and quality of editorial: Read through a few sample issues and check the content-to-ad ratio
  • Digital savviness: Association pubs are often less likely to have a lot of digital opportunities

Evaluate Opportunities

Depending on your goals and your audience’s media consumption preferences (print, digital, face-to-face), evaluate the opportunities available from the publishers you selected and begin to allocate budget.

If utilizing a print publication, know that full-page ads are usually placed first and are located in the front of the book; smaller space ads tends to be placed in the back third of the book. Placement can be requested but most publishers will add a premium to the cost of the ad to guarantee the placement. A good rule-of-thumb is to request front third, right-hand side adjacent to relevant editorial, knowing the you may not get everything that you ask for.

As for publishers’ digital platforms, eNewsletter banner ads are generally better than website banner ads if your budget doesn’t allow for the campaign to have both. Website banner ads can be good for general awareness goals and are generally available at a lower price point. However, eNewsletters are requested by recipients so they are something they want to receive and are likely to engage with at least some of the time.

For eNewsletters, request the number of subscribers, opens and open rate and stats for ad positions or native content if available. eNewsletters are utilized to drive site traffic and can account for 30% or more of visits. If eNewsletter ads don’t fit into your budget, banner ads on “article” pages can be a good placement and typically offer a lower CPM.

Conference and meeting sponsorships can also have value if face-to-face contact is a priority for your sales cycle. To maximize sponsorship budgets, have a plan to engage attendees prior to, during and after the event in order to capture cool and hot leads.

And remember: successful sponsorship of events is more than having your logo on materials — having access to the attendees is the true value so you have an opportunity to develop leads and cultivate relationships.

Trade publishers work to keep your industry engaged and provide value to you as an advertiser and your customers as readers. Some industries will have more opportunities than others, but more than likely you will find multiple publishers with already-engaged audiences for you to leverage.

3 Key Factors to Improve Your B2B Advertising

3 Key Factors to Improve Your B2B Advertising

The general approach to B2B advertising is not all that different from B2C advertising. The fundamentals are the same:

  1. Know your customers and develop buyer personas
  2. Know their pain points and solve their problems
  3. Understand the buyer’s journey and sales cycle

The messages and message distribution you choose will be driven by the specific trade(s) your service or product targets. Bouvier Kelly works with clients that have a broad horizontal trade focus such as Industrial Safety; or a vertical trade focus such as Convenience Stores; or an extremely niche focus such as Surfboard Shapers and Manufacturers. Each trade, industry or target has nuances that influence the distribution of messaging.

Let’s take a look at these 3 key tactics of B2B advertising to help you better understand your customer and how to reach them.

1) Know your customers and develop buyer personas

Get to know your customers as well as the industry(ies) they serve. Are there associations and/or trade publishers that support them? These associations and publishers can be a good source of information for defining buyer personas and their influencers as well as assist in shaping the buyer’s journey and delivering effective touchpoints during the journey.

All industries vary and the landscape is ever-evolving, but publishers (including their printed publications, eNewsletters and trade shows) are still a top source for both the awareness and consideration phase of the buyer’s journey. And when you’re mapping out effective touchpoints, don’t count social media out entirely. Even for a niche audience, platforms like LinkedIn can offer great one-on-one contact and even something like Instagram or Pinterest can be highly effective if your B2B audience is on the more visual or creative side.

2) Know your customers’ pain points and solve their problems

Knowing pain points and developing solutions speaks more to messaging than distribution. However, once you have that key messaging, you can determine the best media type and then move to its distribution method. When considering message distribution, you should also determine where in the buyer’s journey that information or message is appropriate. Some may be appropriate in more than one phase of the journey.

3) Understand the buyer’s journey

For customers in the Awareness phase, you’ll need to develop broader, attention-grabbing messages. During the Consideration phase, the messaging and content should educate your prospects, moving them closer to purchase. In both phases, trade publishers’ platforms are still viable in providing touchpoints to assist in moving prospects through the funnel. If digital platforms are utilized, a site-retargeting tactic and/or an email drip campaign should be used in order to stay top-of-mind. Once customers are in the Decision phase, the process focuses less on advertising and more toward marketing. However, advertising supports the prospect’s decision to purchase as well as builds loyalty.

You know a lot about your customers and your industry, but by organizing what you already know, you’ll uncover insights you hadn’t considered. Buyer Personas and the Buyer’s Journey are tools to help you build a more global strategy and see things from a perspective the hectic pace of your day-to-day may not always allow.

Building a New Vocabulary for Media Planning

Building a New Vocabulary for Media Planning

Effective collaboration between teams is key to effective marketing. Sales and marketing; agencies and clients; agencies and other agencies— and creative and media are no exception. Sometimes that can be a challenge both logistically and mentally for the parties involved. The ad plan is the ad plan and the creative is the creative, and typically, the creative follows the advertising plan. Maybe it’s time to reframe that.

We have written about the need to talk less about “traditional” media and more about tangible media. Now we’re taking it one step further. Instead of talking about media planning and buying with terms like traditional, digital, mobile. cable, radio, etc., we need to reframe how we think and talk about ad schedules. In today’s media landscape it is more appropriate to discuss message format and distribution channels.

To do that, let’s reframe advertising outlets and options into three main categories: audio, video & display.

At first this may seem like an unnecessary change we’re making for the sake of being different—we’re not that fussy, we promise. By pinpointing the message format and combining distribution channels, we’re painting a clearer picture of how to reach the target audiences.

So what category suits your message best? Is your message more visual? Maybe display is a good starting point. Then you can layer your campaign with digital and tangible tactics to deliver that visual message in the way that best reaches the target.

This leads to a more effective campaign because the message takes center stage in the campaign, working as the primary factor that informs the strategy and tactics (closely followed of course by timing and budget).

This way, you don’t end up with display ads when what you’re trying to communicate isn’t as visual or actually needs more space—like what a video offers—to convey your message.

Or maybe advertising isn’t what you need at all and your campaign needs to include or solely use the marketing category of engagement or experiential. This includes those hybrid tactics like social (which has an ad component) or trade shows (which can include sponsorships). 

It’s really a pretty simple reframe: your campaign strategy isn’t tangible vs digital; it’s about what you’re trying to communicate and who you’re trying to reach. Once you review your campaign goals and what message you need to get across, you can determine what medium will be most effective, display, video or audio (or experiential) and how to distribute it from there.

Goodbye, Traditional Marketing; Hello, Tangible Marketing

Goodbye, Traditional Marketing; Hello, Tangible Marketing

For all the messages out there telling you traditional and print media aren’t dead, there are dozens more telling you they are. The shiny newness of digital can easily blind marketers to the value of the age-old tactics of traditional marketing — or as we’re now calling it, “tangible marketing.”

Let’s get something straight right away: we love digital marketing. But we love it as a piece of your entire puzzle — not the only one you shoehorn into each and every campaign. And for every good, reputable digital advertising company, there are again dozens more who are less-than-good. And their sales teams are calling us (and our clients) trying to sell a digital-only media plan. Our approach to a media plan takes a more 360° view of things: we’re hard-pressed to think of a client who should only use digital advertising.

Now that that’s cleared up, let’s talk about why we’re calling it “tangible” media. Aside from the fact that “traditional” makes these tactics sound outdated, “tangible marketing” communicates many of the advantages of these tactics.

It’s definitely born partly of the smoke-and-mirror frustration of digital; often the only proof of performance you get are mocked-up screenshots and a spreadsheet of stats. It’s usually a good thing that you aren’t being served your own ads (depending on your targeting), but there’s something comforting in being able to touch, hear, or see your messages out in the world. And there is something vitally important about that tangibility to establish a connection with your customers.

Tangible marketing is also still (more often than not) the best way to reach the most customers at the same time. It delivers that top-of-the-funnel branding and awareness that’s critical at the beginning of a new campaign. This makes it ideal not as a total replacement for digital, but as a layered tactic.

Tangible ads can help prime your customers so that when they see your digital ad, they’ll be more ready to convert. Tangible marketing can even help drive search traffic that creates an opportunity to capture and retarget these now-warm leads with digital ads.

Even more exciting than layering tangible and digital tactics are the new marriages of digital data to tangible media targeting strategies. So now you can take digital data to build an audience profile and then target those audiences at scale. A match made in media heaven!

So when the next rep cold calls you and works hard to convince you that digital ads are the only way forward, remember to consider it in the context of your goals, your sales funnel and your existing strategy. How would this tactic support your goals? Are you ready for that stage of the funnel, or do you need more awareness? Is your digital ecosystem set up to make the most of these possible clicks?

Ready to take advantage of this marriage of digital and tangible tactics?

Results You Can Touch: The Continued Success of Print Media Advertising

Results You Can Touch: The Continued Success of Print Media Advertising

There’s no question that digital media is pretty well-ingrained in our culture, leaving many to doubt or dismiss the efficacy of print advertising. But as you’ll see below, print media is still capable of delivering an impact that can be difficult to achieve digitally. And its audience may be wider than you think – 90% of adults 25+ still read magazines (GFK MRI Spring 2016). So how and why is print media advertising thriving?

According to Statista, between 2002 and 2015, nearly 2,000 new magazine titles were launched. Magazines with long, storied histories branched out (GQ Style). Some, like Domino, came back after a long hiatus and much demand.  Even brands built on the web (AirBnB and Pulse) or television (HGTV) launched print titles to satisfy their eager audiences.

Data shows that 95% of Americans under the age of 25 still read print magazines. [Source: MNI]

Essentially, none of these new magazines would exist if there weren’t demand. And where there is market demand, there are advertisers. But we’re a fickle bunch, and we won’t continue to use a tactic that doesn’t produce results. So how exactly is print media containing to provide value to advertisers and brands in this increasingly digitally-focused age?

For one thing, print ad recall has been shown to be a whopping 75% as compared to digital’s 44%. What makes digital ads so much harder to remember? One reason is time.

Say you’re arguing with your friend about another hard-to-remember fact from high school. You open up your mobile web browser and Google the question. You click the first result that looks likely to offer the right answer. Did you see the banner ads down the side of the page you land on? The in-read videos? If you’re focused on your question, probably not (unless it’s a really good, relevant ad).

But when a reader picks up a magazine, they’re more focused on the topic at hand. Because magazines tend to center on a specific industry, activity or niche, your audience is already pre-qualified (provided your brand is complimentary to that niche). And because the reader is carving out time to read the magazine (unlike another absent-minded Google search), it’s more like that you’ll have access to their undivided attention.

So whereas people are becoming more attuned to glaze over yet another banner ad, reading a magazine they care about might make them look at ads in a more favorable light (especially the relevant ones that fit the fabric of the magazine).

ROI Magazine Advertising

The ROI of magazine advertising is almost double that of digital ads. [Source: MNI]

The increased recall and appreciation for print ads can be a result of longer times spent with magazines, the difference in their level of focus, and the physical engagement of their senses. In fact, one study suggests that a truly compelling print ad can even create a false memory of having tried the product.

But as much as all this means that you shouldn’t jump ship entirely to digital for your brand’s ad campaign, neither does it mean the opposite.

Digital and print each have their place in a campaign. Considering the totality of a user’s experience with your ads can help tailor and improve your advertising efforts. A print ad that demands the reader’s attention and energy has a much higher chance of endearing your brand to them than a leaderboard banner ad that has to compete with everything else on the page. It may even have a higher chance of inspiring action.

So as with every aspect of your campaign, consider your goals, audience, assets, and budget and decide how much room your media plan has for print. One thing is for sure: print media is still producing results when applied strategically.

Special shout-out to our friends at MNI for sharing these stats with us.

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