B2B Content Marketing on LinkedIn Works: CRM Lead Management Brands Hit Their Mark

August 19, 2014

LinkedIn-B2B-Marketing-Insights-Blog

 

The vast majority of B2B marketers are now using content marketing to create brand awareness and generate leads. According to Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs’ 2014 B2B Content Marketing Report, 93% of B2B marketers now use content marketing and 78% of the “most effective” B2B marketers are creating more content than they created last year.

To be successful, B2B marketers need to do two things well: 1) generate compelling content and 2) reach their target audience when they are likely to consume it. Like trees falling in a forest, compelling content only delivers positive ROI if it’s actually viewed by the right people. This begs the question:

Are B2B content marketers successfully engaging their target audience on LinkedIn?

Based on the results of our recent study, the answer is a resounding “yes.” For details on the study and the findings, continue reading below. Our high-level findings revealed:

  • B2B purchase decision makers (DMs) do engage with LinkedIn Sponsored Updates
    • 56% of those who engaged with a Sponsored Update from a CRM lead management software brand influenced purchase decisions in their company.
  • DMs consume content from relevant brands even when they are not currently in-market
    • 66% of the DMs who engaged with a Sponsored Update were not currently in-market for a CRM lead management software (34% were in-market).
  • DMs who are in-market actually purchase a product
    • 42% of the DMs who were in-market for CRM lead management software did make a purchase decision.
  • Engaging with a brand’s Sponsored Update on LinkedIn results in significant increases in awareness and consideration among DMs who are in-market.
    • This was especially true for smaller “challenger” brands.

Uncovering the Impact of Sponsored Updates on B2B Decision Makers: A Deeper Dive into Our LinkedIn Study

To determine if LinkedIn is an effective B2B marketing channel for CRM lead management, we performed a survey focusing on eight brands that offer a CRM lead management product. Of these eight brands, four are classified as “leaders” and four are classified as “challengers,” according to the Gartner Magic Quadrant:

  • Leaders execute well against their current vision and are well positioned for tomorrow
  • Challengers execute well today or may dominate a large segment, but do not demonstrate an understanding of market direction

In Q1 2014, seven of these brands ran Sponsored Updates campaigns in the US, with roughly 21,000 LinkedIn members engaging with one or more Sponsored Updates from these brands. We invited 10,000 of the “engagers” to take a short survey, resulting in a survey sample size of 950 LinkedIn members.

The intent of the survey was to answer four primary questions outlined below:

1. Are B2B decision makers engaging with LinkedIn Sponsored Updates?

Among these “engagers,” we asked them, “During the first three months of this year, how much influence did you have on purchase decisions for CRM Lead Management solutions at your company? This is also sometimes referred to as Marketing Automation tools.”

Of those who engaged with one or more Sponsored Updates, 56% influenced the purchase decision.

Graph-1

2. Are these B2B decision makers in-market?

We then asked the respondents who influence purchase decisions, “During the first three months of this year, was your company considering purchasing a CRM Lead Management solution?”

We found that 34% of decision makers were looking to buy at the time. We asked these ready-to-buy decision makers if their company made a decision to purchase a CRM Lead Management product and found that that 42% made an actual purchase.

Graph-2

3. Are B2B decision makers more likely to be aware of these brands?

To determine if Sponsored Updates engagement improved brand awareness, we asked the decision makers who were in market for a product, “Which of the following CRM Lead Management products have you heard of?”

We found that engagement with a brand’s Sponsored Updates did in fact improve brand awareness, especially for the challenger brands.

Graph-3

4. Are B2B decision makers more likely to consider these brands?

To determine if Sponsored Updates engagement improved brand consideration, we asked the decision makers who were in market for a product, “Which of the following CRM Lead Management products did your company consider purchasing?”

We found that engagement with a brand’s Sponsored Updates improved the likelihood of the brand being considered for purchase. For the challenger brands, consideration improved significantly.

Graph-4

For B2B marketers looking to increase awareness and consideration among in-market decision makers, this study offers good news. More information regarding the study can be found in the SlideShare presentation below.

If you’re interested in learning more about launching a LinkedIn Sponsored Updates campaign for your company, we’re happy to help. Contact us today.

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