The number of channels you use is not as important as a cohesive message. Your customers don’t care if you're using twelve different channels for generating B2B demand last year. According to Harvard Business Review, B2B buyers are surrounded by information. In fact, the Review reports that buyers are:
“increasingly overwhelmed and often more paralyzed than empowered.”
To stand out among the noise, however, it's critically important that you adeptly leverage a number of channels to get your content in front of your target audiences. Further, all these marketing channels must work together in harmony to create an integrated and consistent audience experience. Otherwise, you’re just adding to the overwhelming noise in your prospects’ and customers' ears.
With a cohesive message and a full-funnel strategy, these six demand generation channels continue to be some of the most effective for B2B marketers.
The 6 Most Effective Demand Generation Channels
Channel #1: Events
The 2018 Demand Generation Benchmark Survey Report revealed that in-person events continue to be the top-performing source of engagement among top-of-funnel lead acquisition strategies for 68% of B2B marketers.
While marketers use events successfully throughout the funnel, the survey revealed that 55% of marketers ranked events as valuable for middle- and bottom-funnel contacts.
For in-depth data on this channel, we recommend What To Do Before, During & After Events to Increase B2B Marketing ROI.
Channel #2. Third-Party Lead Generation
B2B buyers function in a world of content saturation. They’re constantly bombarded with branded messages in texts, videos, podcasts, webinars, blog posts, social media posts, search and more. Third-party lead gen enables marketers to leverage the niche audiences of numerous media companies to engage specific personas and decision-makers at target accounts.
For more insights about successfully integrating third-party media partnerships for your account-based marketing (ABM) strategy, we recommend "The Business Case for Using 3rd-Party Lead Providers to Power ABM."
Channel #3: Social Media
Social media is still relevant in B2B marketing, but its role is changing. In addition to a tool for awareness and lead generation, demand generation marketers are learning how to use deeply targeted paid ads on LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube to reconnect with leads, convert MQLs to opportunities and move prospects through the funnel.
This shifting role was reflected in the Benchmark survey as well:
- 44% of B2B marketers consider social an effective channel for early-stage engagement.
- 17% use it for later and mid-stage engagement strategies.
Learn more about social for B2B lead nurturing and research in The 4 Critical Roles of Social Media in Demand Generation Marketing.
Channel #4: Tactile Marketing
Tactile marketing is simply defined as the evolution of direct mail. While most B2B competitors invest heavily in digital messaging, a thoughtful and personalized direct mail campaign can stand out as unique and different.
Julia Stead, VP of Marketing at Invoca, uses a modern tactile mail tool called PFL to automate the delivery of thoughtful outreach at scale. With integration into their marketing automation program, Julia has the ability to track delivery and personalize follow-up.
When used in the right contexts, direct mail is making an effective comeback. The Benchmark survey revealed that, among later-stage channels, it climbed from 13% to 20% reported effectiveness among B2B marketers.
Learn more in 7 Demand Generation Methods that are Working Best Right Now.
Channel #5: Your Website
“fight as hard as you can to own a prominent piece of your company’s website for demand purposes.”
What does that mean?
Well, it depends on the visitor.
With technologies for 1:1 content, personalized resources sections and personalized search results, your website can be the most powerful tool in your demand arsenal for getting the right message to the right person at the right time.
The versatility of a website as a tool for full-funnel demand generation was reflected in the Benchmark survey, with 50% of B2B marketers rating it an effective channel for early engagement and 51% for later-stage engagement.
Channel #6: Email
Among all the channels reviewed in the Benchmark survey report, email was the clear late-stage workhorse. Although, it’s certainly a high-performing channel for early-stage conversions, too.
- 81% of B2B marketers report email as the most effective channel in driving later stage conversions.
- 59% report it’s a high-value channel for early-stage engagement and conversions.
With over 8-out-of-10 marketers rating email as a top driver of middle- and bottom-funnel conversions, it remains the highest-rated channel for later-stage demand generation.
What’s the Best Demand Generation Channel for 2018?
If anyone claims to have found the single best channel for demand generation in 2018, they’re likely trying to sell something.
There is no single “best” channel.
While the results of one survey reveal email is the best channel for later-stage conversions, no B2B marketer can rely on even a handful of channels to generate leads, nurture MQLS or communicate with opportunities. Demand marketers must learn how to masterfully scale messages across a number of digital and traditional channels, and ensure they’re using each of these channels in the right ways.
Curious how today’s most effective B2B marketers scale up demand and channels while providing a consistent prospect and customer experience? Discover tons more tips and tactics from today’s most effective marketers in the free eBook: 155 Tips & Tactics from Demand Marketing's Top 40 Game Changers.