Blog The BusinessOnline B2B MarketING Blog
March 25, 2020

How to Reach the B2B Buyer in a Remote Work World

by Jeff MacGurn
Categories: Covid-19, Uncategorized

Everything is Canceled, Non-essential Businesses Are Shutting Their Doors & the Rest of us Are Working Remote!

As the world works together to stop the spread of COVID-19 those hardest hit are instituting policies that discourage and even restrict people’s movement. 

As this trend continues, compounded with the cancellation of more and more conferences and conventions, it’s becoming harder for B2B marketers to reach their target audience through traditional B2B marketing channels like events, business-targeted ads, out of home, and direct mail.  

In this radically new environment, B2B CMOs and marketing leaders need to strategize on how they target prospective customers who are now working from home. 

AND… how this will affect marketing budgets and media mix?!

Here’s our guide to targeting the prospect working from home.

How to use Facebook & Instagram to Target Remote Workers

We trust those who are now working remotely to be just as, if not more, productive than in the office, right? But in this type of environment, it’s also human nature to want to be connected to what’s going on in our world. A great place to do just that has been Facebook & IG!

This, my fellow marketers, is a perfect opportunity to reach them with your message, as long as it’s the RIGHT message!

In leveraging Facebook to reach prospects working from home there are a few things we recommend keeping in mind.

  • Audiences: While most prospects who submit their email address to download a whitepaper or any other piece of gated content generally use their work address, we do see a surprising number of people using personal email addresses. So although the work email address won’t likely match a Facebook account and you should still try to match them as you create your audience, you can still use those personal emails to create audiences on Facebook and they’ll be much more likely to match an account. Where possible also include additional identifiers like City, State and zip code to improve match rates.

** Pro tip: For good measure be sure to create lookalike audiences against the audience you created from prospect emails.  

  • Geography: Instead of targeting addresses and geographies where your target audience works, you’re now targeting where they’re most likely to live. Prospects’ cities/townships now need to become part of your ideal customer profile.
  • Remarketing: Facebook remarketing implemented to reach potential customers who have interacted with your brand recently.  It’s important to remember that in general, Facebook remarketing is less expensive than remarketing in other common B2B channels like LinkedIn, allowing your brand to get additional visibility for a lower investment.

Twitter Ad Targeting 

As a social media platform, Twitter tends to be better geared toward the sharing of information around news and events. 

In times where there is a lot going on both locally and nationally a platform like Twitter seems poised to see an uptick in usage, especially amongst those working from home who are eager to know what’s going on. 

Here are some recommendations on how to use Twitter to target those prospects working from home.

  • Just as with Facebook and Instagram, use prospect email addresses to create lists to target.  
  • And if you can’t find the email address associated with their Twitter account to create your list, it’s actually pretty easy to identify a prospect’s Twitter account with a little bit of research.  Often people will place a link to their Twitter on their LinkedIn profile or you can just do a simple search on Twitter or Google using “Prospect name” + “Twitter”. Keep in mind, you will need the scale necessary to run ads, so be sure to include 1,000+ records.
  • As with Facebook, it’s always good to test lookalike audiences build from your confirmed prospect and customer lists. One great feature you can leverage with Twitter is follower lookalikes, all you have to do it upload a list of competitor Twitter handles to start doing some effective competitive conquesting.

Explore the Nextdoor App for a More Personalized Approach

We don’t generally recommend Nextdoor for B2B marketers but with people working from home and potentially looking for more up to date local information Nextdoor could end up with higher usage levels for those working from home.  But keep in mind that NextDoor isn’t really set up for B2B marketers and has extremely high minimums for enterprise-level brand marketers.

Your In-Person Events Can Be Replaced with Live YouTube Videos or Pre-recorded

Video may not be a perfect replacement for the value in-person events brings to the table, but it can at least start to make up for it. 

This is a good opportunity to turn the thought leadership your brand planned to exhibit at a conference into YouTube videos and target prospects now working from home.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Be sure to leverage your prospect email list to create audiences in Google to use in targeting prospects on YouTube.
  • Create lookalike audiences against these lists.
  • Use Google Ad Scheduling to schedule your B2B targeted ads to run when your ideal customers are likely to be working from home. 
  • If you’ve updated your ideal customer profile with data around geographies they’re most likely to live then use that data to target those geos, or, if you’re targeting cities today, consider using radius targeting to reach customers who may typically work in the city, but reside in the suburbs.
  • Be sure you have YouTube remarketing implemented to reach potential customers who have interacted with your brand recently.
  • Google’s custom intent audiences can be effective in reaching those prospects that are in-market that are available and relevant to your brand but have yet to interact with your brand. 

Audience Targeting Using Gmail Display Ads

Although we don’t see Gmail Display ads widely used amongst B2B marketers, when we have used it we’ve seen great results.  A well run Gmail Display campaign has the potential to deliver traffic at extremely efficient rates. Here are some tips for effective Gmail campaigns.

  • Target audiences you’ve created already in Google’s Audience manager to target email lists, website visitors and lookalike audiences. 
  • Leverage custom intent audiences to market to people who are in-market and actively searching for keywords related to your product, brand, or competitors. You can even specify competitor domains.  
  • Use data from your email marketing campaigns to inform your Gmail ad creative.  There’s typically lots of great learning from any decent email marketing campaign that will easily translate to Gmail ads and make them significantly more effective.  
  • Remember to schedule ads if you have a good idea of when your target audience will be working from home.  

Over The Top (OTT) and Connected TV (CTV)

There are a number of OTT and CTV providers out there and the market can get competitive in terms of cost, however, the price is often reasonable when compared to other B2B advertising channels.  With more and more people working from home and more than 70% of households streaming their video, much of which is through CTV devices it may become a viable option for reaching audiences.  Here are some things to consider should you run OTT/CTV ads.

  • Many CTV/OTT ad platforms allow for dayparting which can help you in effectively targeting prospects working from home.
  • Platforms may also allow for content targeting which will allow you to target viewers consuming things like news, business content, or any other content related to your brand or industry.
  • Layer demographic targeting on top of content targeting to ensure you’re getting to the right person in the home.
  • Some platforms have even gone as far as to enable keyword targeting which can allow you to specific topics or competitors closely related to your brand, industry, or competitors. 

Target Your Audience Via The Right Podcasts

While 44% of podcast listening happens in a car, at work, public transportation, and while working out; 49% of podcast listening still happens at home.  And although so many people working from home are likely to have an impact on these numbers, it is still unclear if that impact will lead to more or less podcast listening.  Either way, with so much home listening already happening, podcasts advertising seems likely to be a good way to reach those prospects working from home.  

As we consider podcast advertising we generally recommend sponsorships over other ad formats due to the overall efficacy.  78% of podcast listeners report that they don’t mind ads/sponsors because they know they support the podcast while 62% agreed the podcast ad experience made them consider new products and services. Overall sponsorships outperform pre-roll ads in driving purchase intent lift to the tune of 57%. 

Outside of premium podcast sponsorships we also recommend considering programmatic audio placements that allow for dynamic ad insertion with display ad-like targeting parameters against business and news placement whitelists.  Such whitelists are particularly important in times when people are consuming more news.  

 

Nobody can be certain how long the trend of working from home will last or how this will change work environments in the future, but the need to reach B2B customers in their home has become more important than ever and will likely continue to remain important as working from home becomes far more normalized. 

Making this adjustment in marketing budget to new campaigns that target prospects now working from home won’t be an immediate replacement as performance media campaigns require time and energy to develop and optimize. But brands who adjust to this new environment and possible new norm with sustained digital efforts in performance marketing channels are likely to be rewarded handsomely.  

If you are faced with challenges around reaching the B2B customer today, contact us for a FREE 30-minute brainstorming session with one of our Strategic Account Directors.

They are working around the clock helping our current clients shift and change their strategies right now and preparing them for when our lives go back to normal, whatever that may look like!