Looking for growth marketing strategies proven to be the most effective for generating leads and driving business? This article is designed to help you explore the best marketing tactics for any business situation — whether B2B or B2C! Below you'll find two routes — one for B2B and another for B2C businesses. Click or scroll to learn about the strategies that match your business situation and explore the best approaches to deploy for your business's marketing plan.
Each top 10 list is backed by data from a variety of sources, and has been updated with the latest information from market leaders, such as Drift, Forrester, HubSpot Research, Invesp, Saasquatch, Statista, and MarketingProfs.com.
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Curious about what business professionals think of different marketing strategies. We took a look at recent survey results and reports that compiled data on the topic, and created a list of 10 B2B marketing strategies commonly recognized as successful regardless of industry. Here’s what we found, in no particular order:
Content marketing emphasizes education over selling to influence buying behavior. This strategic marketing approach focuses on creating and distributing information relevant to prospects’ needs in order to attract those best aligned with — and most likely to purchase — your product or service. Since communication is ongoing, content can be tailored to reflect what you learn about leads over time, and may include varied formats like infographics, webpages, podcasts, videos, blogs, white papers, webinars, and eBooks. It’s important to note that content marketing is not synonymous with inbound marketing (more on inbound below). Content marketing is an important component to an overall inbound growth strategy, but it does not integrate other marketing methodologies to maximize content value.
Content marketing is effective because it:
Fast Fact: 9 out of 10 B2B buyers say online content has a moderate to major effect on their purchase decisions
Inbound is far and away the most effective B2B marketing strategy because it leverages the strengths of the majority of the other nine strategies to attract, engage, and delight customers. Unlike traditional marketing methods — even the other strategies listed here — inbound marketers earn the attention of customers and pull them to a company website by producing and providing meaningful content. Because messaging is relevant and appears in the right place at the right time, inbound invites visitors in rather than annoying them with interruptive traditional advertising.
Inbound marketing is effective because it:
Fast Fact: Fast Fact: 80% of corporate decision-makers favor getting brand information through an article or blog series more than ads
Social media marketing focuses on providing users with content they find valuable and want to share across their social networks, resulting in increased visibility and website traffic. Social media shares of content, videos, and images also influence SEO efforts in that they often increase relevancy in search results within social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Instagram as well as search engines like Google and Yahoo.
Social media marketing is effective because it:
Fast Fact: 83% of all B2B marketers use at least one of the "Big Four" social media sites (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube) to distribute content.
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the process of increasing awareness about — and traffic to — a particular website by making sure it appears among the top unpaid (or “natural”) search results on search engines like Google, Bing!, and Yahoo. While there is a common misperception that it's a stand-alone marketing tactic, SEO is accomplished by many tactics working together and is central to an effective inbound marketing strategy.
While social media, email, banner ads, and other marketing tools generate website visits, SEO visibility is particularly important because search engines are the primary way users navigate the Internet. SEO automatically increases your audience in a relevant, targeted way — they self-identify as someone who is interested in your product or service.
Search engine optimization is effective because it:
Fast Fact: SEO tops B2B lead sources at 14%, followed closely by email marketing (13%), and social media (12%).
Search engine marketing, or SEM, is a tool that companies use to grow their website traffic through paid online advertising. One of the most popular SEM methods is pay-per-click (PPC) links. Essentially, a company buys or “sponsors” a link that appears as an ad in search engine results when keywords related to their product or service are searched. Every time the ad is clicked, the company pays the search engine (or other third party host site) a small fee for the visitor — a literal “pay per click.”
Search engine marketing is effective because of its:
Account Based Marketing (ABM) is a B2B strategy that focuses on a targeted set of accounts using highly personalized campaigns. It provides marketing and sales teams with a number of advantages, including a faster sales process, cost effectiveness, and a more efficient use of marketing resources. With all of the things ABM is, though, it’s important to remember that ABM is not the same as targeted outbound marketing. It’s much more strategic, using methods like online retargeting to personalize marketing efforts.
Retargeting uses browser cookie-based technology to identify users who visited your site but left (or “bounced”) before completing a transaction or conversion. The cookie allows for targeted advertisements to appear in those users’ subsequent web searches and interactions, even if they’re not related to your site specifically. Retargeting is an effective conversion tool because it repeatedly gets your brand in front of audiences that already demonstrated interested in your product or service.
Retargeting is effective because it:
Fast Fact: The average click-through rate for retargeted ads is 0.7% (compared to 0.07% for display ads).
Earned media (or “free media”) is publicity that’s created through efforts other than paid advertising. It can take a variety of forms — a social media testimonial, word of mouth, a television or radio mention, a newspaper article or editorial — but one thing is constant: earned media is unsolicited and can only be gained organically. It cannot be bought or owned like traditional advertising.
Earned media and PR are effective because they:
A referral program is an umbrella term used to describe a systematic approach companies take to incentivize people to tell others about their products or services. Implementing specific affiliate programs, customer referral programs and partner programs within a marketing plan structure are meant to offer the instant credibility of existing customers to grow a customer base. “Referral programs” is often used synonymously with “referral marketing.”
Referral programs are effective because they:
In-person and online tradeshows remain a top B2B networking tool (especially when inbound tactics support event efforts), as they gather companies within a specific industry into one location, whether physical or virtual, to connect and demonstrate their latest products and services. Rarely open to the public, trade shows give companies the chance to establish or strengthen relationships with key industry partners, customers, and prospects; identify market trends and opportunities; and gain an understanding of what their competition is offering in the market.
In light of the pandemic-driven “new normal,” networking has met with some limitations. However, technology is a decided advantage, as in-person events have been successfully converted to virtual events that offer similar benefits, including:
Fast Fact: Events like trade shows generate the most B2B leads, while case studies are the catalysts behind lead conversion and acceleration.
Conversational marketing is just that — a conversation. Real-time interaction via a chatbot or live chat gets the right information in front of prospects and customers at the right time, and follow-up questions are addressed immediately. Personalized, relevant engagement vastly improves the user experience, increasing the likelihood of getting referrals from happy customers. For businesses, conversational marketing methods typically cut the time buyers stay in the sales funnel. Conversions happen quicker because relationships are established quicker.
Fast Fact: Messaging is the preferred method of customer communication with businesses — 90% of customers want a chat option.
Taken individually, the majority of the strategies we listed provide limited marketing clout. However, inbound marketing aligns the heavy-hitters — SEO, SEM, content marketing, social media, and earned media — to deliver a well-rounded, cost-effective marketing approach that generates qualified leads, strengthens customer relationships, and successfully builds brands.
If you're interested in learning how to incorporate the most effective marketing techniques into your inbound marketing program, click the link below to get our free guide and start today!
What do business professionals think about different types of marketing strategy to reach consumers? We took a look at recent survey results and reports that compiled data on the topic, and created a list of 10 B2C marketing strategy examples commonly recognized as successful regardless of industry. Here’s what we found, in no particular order:
Social media marketing focuses on providing users with content they find valuable and want to share across their social networks, resulting in increased visibility and traffic. Social media shares of content, videos, and images also influence Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts in that they often increase relevancy in search results within social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram and search engines like Google and Yahoo.
Fast Fact: 61% of companies use social to increase conversions, and 50% use it to gain customer or market insights.
Paid media is a tool that companies use to grow their website traffic through paid advertising. One of the most popular methods is pay-per-click (PPC) links. Essentially, a company buys or “sponsors” a link that appears as an ad in search engine results when keywords related to their product or service are searched (this process is commonly known as search engine marketing, or SEM). Every time the ad is clicked, the company pays the search engine (or other third party host site) a small fee for the visitor — a literal “pay per click.”
Internet marketing, or online marketing, combines web and email to advertise and drive e-commerce sales. Social media platforms may also be included to leverage brand presence and promote products and services. In total, these efforts are typically used in conjunction with traditional advertising formats like radio, television, and print.
There’s also a lot to be said about online reviews and opinions. Word-of-mouth advertising is unpaid, organic, and oh-so-powerful because those people who have nice things to say about your product or service generally have nothing to gain from it other than sharing good news. A recommendation from a friend, colleague, or family member has built-in credibility and can spur dozens of leads who anticipate positive experiences with your brand.
Fast Fact: Global e-commerce is anticipated to reach $3,056.3 billion at a CAGR of 14% through 2023, with the spike largely attributed to contactless buying behaviors resulting from the global pandemic (COVID-19)
Email marketing is a highly effective way to nurture and convert leads. However, it’s not a game of chance, as to whether your message winds up in spam filters. Instead, email marketing is an automated process that targets specific prospects and customers with the goal of influencing their purchasing decisions. Email marketing success is measured by open rates and click-through rates, so strategy comes into play, particularly when it’s used as a component of a larger internet marketing initiative.
Fast Fact: The average expected email marketing ROI is $42 for every $1 spent.
Direct selling accomplishes exactly what the name suggests — marketing and selling products directly to consumers. In this model, sales agents build face-to-face relationships with individuals by demonstrating and selling products away from retail settings, usually in an individual’s home (e.g., Amway, Avon, Herbalife, and Mary Kay).
Point-of-Purchase marketing (or POP marketing) sells to a captive audience — those shoppers already in-store and ready to purchase. Product displays, on-package coupons, shelf talkers that tout product benefits, and other attention-getting “sizzle” often sway buying decisions at the shelf by making an offer simply too good — and too visible — to pass up.
Fast Fact: In the U.S., annual impulse purchases total $17.78 billion, while Canadians dole out about half that much — $8.8 billion per year.
Co-branding is a marketing methodology in which at least two brands join together to promote and sell a single product or service. The brands lend their collective credibility to increase the perception of the product or service’s value, so consumers are more likely to purchase and willing to pay more at retail. Secondarily, co-branding may dissuade private label manufacturers from copying the product or service. Similarly, affinity marketing is a partnership between a company (supplier) and an organization that gathers persons sharing the same interests — for instance, a coffee shop that sells goods from a local bakery.
There is no shortage of co-branding partnerships, but several more recent examples demonstrate particularly good natural brand alignment including the adventurous GoPro and Red Bull, luxurious BMW and Louis Vuitton, and fashion-forward Alexander Wang and H&M.
Likewise, cause marketing leverages and enhances brand reputation. Cause marketing is a cooperative effort between a for-profit business and a non-profit organization to mutually promote and benefit from social and other charitable causes. Cause marketing is not to be confused with corporate giving, which is tied to specific tax-deductible donations made by an organization. Cause marketing relationships are “feel goods” and assure your customers you share their desire to make the world a better place.
Fast Fact: Customers interpret co-branding as a value endorsement from a brand they already trust, creating a potentially lucrative halo effect.
Conversational marketing is just that — a conversation. Real-time interaction via a chatbot or live chat gets the right information in front of prospects and customers at the right time, allows them to self-service, and get questions answered immediately. Personalized, relevant engagement vastly improves the user experience. For B2C businesses, conversational marketing is especially effective because it scales your customer service and typically cuts the time buyers stay in the sales funnel. Conversions happen quicker because relationships are established quicker.
Conversational marketing is effective because it:
Fast Fact: Messaging is the preferred method of customer communication with businesses — 90% of customers want a chat option.
Earned media (or “free media”) is publicity that is created through efforts other than paid advertising. It can take a variety of forms — a social media testimonial, word-of-mouth, a television or radio mention, a newspaper article or editorial — but one thing is constant: earned media is unsolicited and can only be gained organically. It cannot be bought or owned like traditional advertising.
Brand storytelling uses a familiar communication format to engage consumers at an emotional level. Rather than just spew facts and figures, storytelling allows you to weave a memorable tale of who your company is, what you do, how you solve problems, what you value, and how you engage and contribute to your community and the public in general.
Fast Fact: In a recent survey, 91% of respondents reported having a positive emotional connection with at least one brand.
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Topics: Inbound Marketing