Need ideas on how to generate high quality demand and turn prospects into customers? You’ve come to the right place. Here is a list of 23 types of B2B marketing campaigns, as well as descriptions of when they are typically appropriate to use.
The list is broken down by stage of the funnel. In line with the pipeline marketing concept, we believe that marketing campaigns can and should have an impact at each stage of the funnel -- all optimized for generating revenue.
*Our eight favorites (out of 23) -- if this list becomes too overwhelming, look for the asterisk to skip to the types of B2B marketing campaigns that we think are most effective and interesting.
Top of the funnel marketing campaigns are intended to bring anonymous visitors to your website and to convert them into leads by having them fill out a form. This could be a “contact us” form or a form to download gated content, such as an ebook.
Digital brand campaigns are about creating brand name recognition. These types of campaigns are typically targeted using standard paid media targeting options: demographics and psychographics ,which includes interests and skills.
Gated education content asset campaign
Campaigns centered around an educational content asset, like an ebook or whitepaper or webinar, attract audiences because of their informational relevance. For example, an ebook full of best practices for account-based marketers would be of interest to B2B marketers looking to start or improve their ABM strategy.
A campaign built around an educational piece of content could consist of emails, display ads, social ads, and more and should point to a dedicated landing page where the content can be downloaded.
Ungated education content asset campaign
On the other hand, B2B marketers can also promote ungated educational content assets, like blog posts. While immediate conversion rates will of course be lower than for gated campaigns, providing ungated content builds trust and goodwill, ideally leading to a lead conversion down the road. Read more about ungated educational campaigns.
Research asset campaign*
Professionals often look to outside research to discover and validate new ideas. If your organization has a unique dataset, a great way to provide value to your audience is to publish interesting findings using your dataset that might help them do their job better. Publishing and promoting valuable research is an effective way to make a positive early impression and establish your brand as a trusted thought leader.
Research assets can be promoted through a multitude of channels, and should point to a dedicated landing page where the research can be read or downloaded.
Industry/Market building campaign
Marketers is new or confusing industries can also attract new audiences by building up and educating audiences on the industry. At Bizible, for example, we see benefits when B2B marketing attribution as an industry grows.
An example of an industry building campaign could be coordinated search ads and display ads that go to a landing page with industry information -- what it is, why it’s important, etc.
Event registration campaign
Industry events are another place where audiences discover new products. Whether it’s holding your own event, being a sponsor at an event, or just speaking at an event, B2B marketers can fill the top of the funnel by drawing attention to event programs that involve their company.
This could mean applying for speaking slots at industry events and then promoting that session through email or social media. It could mean hosting a lounge or party outside of the event and inviting event attendees to it. There are a lot of different ways your brand can get exposure, whether you are an official sponsor or not.
Field marketing/road show campaign*
Similarly, field marketing or road show campaigns are a great way to engage audiences face-to-face. Typically, these are smaller, more focused events that take place in multiple locales. Promote these events by geo-filtering your email list, if possible, and reach out with personalized messaging and take advantage of geo-targeting options on paid media to only show ads to people near the location of the event. Additionally, a great way to drive better attendance is to work with local partners to co-promote each specific event. Read more about field marketing campaigns.
Creating symbiotic relationships with other non-competing brands that share a similar audience are a great way for companies to build audiences. Between social validation and sharing of brand value, working with partners (or groups of partners) builds credibility with new prospects.
There are a number of ways to partner with other companies, from webinars centered around a shared topic of interest or a shared customer, to co-authored ebooks to swapping guest blog posts. The success of partner campaigns is largely dependent on your relationship with other companies in your space and creativity in working together.
Community building campaign
Social media is a great platform for building a community around your solution or industry. Community building marketing campaigns can be dedicated chats (planned 30 minutes or an hour where interested people can ask and answer relevant questions) or in-person meetups.
These create positive engagements at the top of the funnel, all of which improve conversion rates later down the funnel.
Compete campaigns are popular search marketing campaigns (typically) where brands target a competitor’s name as the keyword to promote a landing page that shows a comparison between their product and a competitor’s product.
Compete campaigns are a way to interrupt a prospect’s path on a competitor’s funnel and get them into the top of your funnel.
Visual/Infographic asset campaign
An alternative to a text-based blog post or an ebook or research report is to create an infographic or visual asset to convey educational concepts or statistics. These visuals can be promoted via an email campaign and on social media.
Asking people to give contact information through filling out a form isn’t a small ask. While most of the time marketers do this through offering valuable content like a research report, an alternative is to hold a contest or sweepstakes where the incentive is a prize (ideally a relevant item or experience).
Traditional media campaign (TV, print, out-of-home)
Even though we are in a digital age, it’s still not out of the question to utilize traditional media to build awareness. For B2B organizations that have a large pool of potential customers, a traditional media campaign may be an effective route to take. While it tends to require more investment than a digital campaign and has targeting limitations, it can be an effective way to reach a large audience with a simple message.
Middle of the funnel campaigns encourage re-engagement and nurture prospects down the funnel. Prospects in the middle of the funnel are interested in your product, but may not be ready to commit to a demo with a sales representative.
Additionally, at the middle of the funnel, marketers often have a lot more knowledge of who the prospect is, what company they work for, as well as persona-specific needs. Middle of the funnel B2B marketing campaigns should leverage this knowledge to provide even more relevant experiences.
Content education asset campaign
Content education assets are great centerpieces for middle of the funnel campaigns, too! At this stage, however, they should be more specific across some dimension, like persona or product.
For example at Bizible we use our ebook, Marketing Attribution 101, as one of our top-of-the-funnel content asset. At the middle of the funnel, we have The CMO’s Guide to B2B Marketing Attribution, which is persona specific, and Components of a Smart Attribution Solution, which is more product specific, among other pieces of content.
Again, the campaign built around these pieces of content should include promotion and organic sharing on email, social, display, etc.
Because you now have more knowledge of who you are trying to engage, B2B marketers can use persona-based campaigns to hone in on the specific pain points that each persona faces that can be solved with their solution. A great way to execute these campaigns is to build lists using your marketing automation or CRM (whichever collects job titles/personas), and use them for targeting (email, social, etc. -- whichever channels allow list uploads).
For example, a persona-based campaign may be an email campaign to the CMO that comes from your CMO or CEO -- an executive-to-executive communication.
Retargeting campaigns are an effective way to reach people who have already shown intent by visiting your website (or specific pages on your website). Many B2B companies opt to retarget visitors with either brand messages or a demo request. However, a more advanced retargeting campaign uses different ads depending on the page that was visited. If a visitor looked at the home page, it may suffice to show a brand message; if a visitor looked at blog posts, it may be good to show an ad for an ebook; if a visitor looked at the pricing page, it may be appropriate to show a demo request.
Again, with increased knowledge of the visitor, B2B marketers can create sophisticated and more effective retargeting marketing campaigns.
Lost lead re-engagement campaign
Often, B2B companies will have large lists of leads who dropped out at the lead stage or were part of closed-lost opportunities. Marketers can run re-engagement campaigns at these lost leads with new product updates or features that may re-spark their interest.
This type of campaign is typically run through email, but it can also use channels with list upload capabilities.
Direct mail brand campaign*
Direct mail has made a comeback with the increasing popularity of account-based marketing strategies. Direct mail allows marketers to differentiate with personalization and a tangible experience.
A direct mail campaign at this stage of the funnel may look something like sending contacts a physical book or other content asset to nurture them. Or if you know that several contacts within an account are engaged, but a key persona isn’t, you could send them a special gift to create a positive experience and engage them in the deal.
Customer marketing campaign
A customer marketing campaign entails encouraging your happiest customers to share their experiences with prospects looking for third-party verification. An informal version of this could be making introductions via email, while a more formal version could include creating a panel of customers who are happy to share their experience.
In exchange for their participation, customers involved in the campaign could receive referral fees, early access to product updates, or just the knowledge that they are spreading the word about a good product.
Bottom of the funnel campaigns are designed to close deals. Prospects at this stage should be well-versed in both the benefits and costs of your product, but may be getting pushback from their bosses or the decision-maker may be stalling.
Demo ad campaign
A demo ad campaign is the fundamental bottom of the funnel marketing campaign. At the bottom of the funnel, the marketing and sales team should have rich knowledge of the account and should be able to use that to create a compelling demo offer.
These campaigns should be targeted at accounts that are a good fit, have multiple contacts engaged, and have recently shown interest. A demo ad campaign can be run across a number of channels, including email, phone calls, social, and display.
Case study campaign*
For a less direct approach at the bottom of the funnel, B2B marketers can send case studies to prospects who face similar pain points. Case studies prove the value of your solution in a clear and concrete way that the prospect should be able to understand.
While these campaigns can span a number of channels, they are typically most effective via email.
Customer marketing campaign
Customers are also great references at the bottom of the funnel. For prospects who aren’t quite able to make a decision, introducing them to a customer for a live case study of sorts is a powerful and compelling play at the bottom of the funnel.
Direct mail demo campaign*
Direct mail can also be an effective tool at the bottom of the funnel. At this stage, where a deal is closer to being sealed or a demo with the decision-maker is on the line, a compelling offer may tip the balance.
For example, we’ve tested giving gift cards in exchange for completing a demo. Several years ago, Apptio offered iPads in exchange for demos with the C-suite. For this type of campaign to be profitable, the gift must correspond with your deal size -- the bigger your deal size, the more impressive your gift can be.