33 Inspiring B2B digital marketing case studies

b2b digital marketing case studies

By Rob Petersen, {grow} Community Member

First, a few depressing facts:

  • 86 percent of B2B companies say they are doing content marketing
  • Just 38 percent say it is effective
  • 21 perecnt are able to track a return on investment (ROI) (source: Content Marketing Institute)

Benefits from marketing and attribution of results always seem harder for B2B companies than B2C. Maybe it’s because the buying cycle takes longer, more people are involved in purchase decisions and sales are made for rational, not emotional, reasons.

Is it harder or are we not looking hard enough?

If you need convincing, here are 32 B2B digital marketing case studies that prove the potental ROI. In this post, we wil feature case studies in the areas of content marketing, social media marketingm social CRM, social selling, LinkedIn marketing, and webinars.

Here we go:

CONTENT MARKETING

  1. ADP: Developed a content marketing campaign to connect and engage with their target audience on a ADP solution using white papers and a diagnostic assessment tool. The campaign generated over $1 million in new sales opportunities with several deals closed within the first 3 months of launch.
  2. CROWE HORWATH: the public accounting firm used 48 pieces of content in 4 different topic areas, this campaign targeted C-level prospects in financial institutions with $1 billion or more in assets across the buying cycle. Content tactics included: executive briefs, case studies, infographics, checklists, Q and A, and Brainshark video. 778 contacts were engaged with a 70% open rate (vs. 10%), 2 engagement worth $250k in revenue.
  3. DEMANDBASEA B2B marketing cloud, helped B2B marketers make the right content technology investment by using a white paper, infographic, webinar, Slideshare and a live presentation to spotlight tools that can maximize the power of content. The results of the campaign generated 1,700 leads, 125 webinar participants, 5,000 views on Slideshare and $1 million in new business.
  4. FISHER TANK: Makes giant, above-ground welded steel tanks. With clients in the fuel industries, waste water, pulp & paper and other industrial and municipal areas, projects tend to be big (multi-million dollar) and take a long time to sell (12 months and longer). For more than 60 years, the company has made its sales primarily through cold calling and referrals from existing clients. So it took some moxy to launch a content marketing strategy online. The plan including sprucing up the website, integrating a blog and social sharing, and offering some valuable content by free download. The campaign increased web traffic by 119%, traffic from social media by 4800%, lead conversions by 3900%, quote requests by 500% and new qualified sales opportunities by $3.4 million.
  5. LOGICALL: A company that focuses on inbound and outbound customer management solutions, uses content assets such as emails, microsite and ebook, Logicalis developed a thought leadership effort that supported sales teams by enabling custom messaging based on the prospects interaction with the campaign. With a target audience of about 2,000, nearly $8 million in new pipeline business was closed.
  6. OPENTEXT: A software solution for enterprise information management, created a personalized new customer onboarding site offering a variety of assets (white papers, checklists, product pages, ebooks, case studies) and content to welcome new clients and provide upsell, cross-sell opportunities. The campaign also included a two phase nurturing program. 1,700 new contacts were identified along with 31 new opportunities worth $1.8 million.
  7. OPTUM: A health services business, created an integrated marketing campaign to support the launch of a new solution, support sales and build thought leadership. The content marketing mix included: advertorials, display ads, email, direct mail and a campaign website. The successful campaign earned a 23.5 lead to conversion rate, 475% increase in website traffic, 2,500+ resource downloads, 28% increase in YoY blog followers and $52 million in contract value of new business with less than $ 1,000,000 invested.
  8. RS COMPONENTS: The electronic product distribution company created a specific social hub, spanning four different languages, having the purpose of being a collaboration and engagement hub for Electronic Design Engineering. One of the centrepieces of the site is the free tool store, which includes a free design tool that’s been downloaded more than 60,000 times and the site itself gathered more than 45,000 members within its first 12-month period.
  9. SAP: The global strategy was aimed at enabling cross-cultural information to be efficiently shared around the company. SAP Latin AmericaOne year after implementing this strategy SAP Latin America had more than 100,000 fans and followers (an increase of 900%) and achieved a 17% interaction rate across  the region, while a campaign featuring a social app targeting specific buying centers drove more than 12,000 visitors and a 15% engagement rate. has four Facebook pages, four Twitter feeds and two LinkedIn accounts. These profiles are split out by language (e.g. Portuguese and Spanish) rather than country and aim at achieving a split of 20% promotion material vs. 80% of interesting, engaging content for its community.
  10. XEROX: Created a targeted “Get Optimistic” campaign to connect with 30 top accounts and partnered with Forbes to create a magazine that offered relevant business tips. 70% of targeted companies interacted with the microsite, readership increased 300-400% over previous email campaigns, added 20,000 new contacts, generated 1,000+ scheduled appointments, and get this: yielded $1.3 BILLION in pipeline revenue.

SOCIAL MEDIA

  1. CISCO: Established a social media listening center. It listens to more than 5000 social mentions a day on Facebook, Twitter, and other social channels. Cisco has been able to control outside agency fees, avoid other customer and partner interaction costs, increase team productivity, and identify new sales opportunities. The social media listening center has had an ROI of +281% in 5 months to generate an annual benefits of $1,596,292.
  2. MAERSK: Danish shipping company Maersk first began using social back in 2011 to raise brand awareness, gain insight into the market, increase employee satisfaction and get closer to its customers, It focuses on the stories that emerge from within the business, such as how it is helping fuel a boom in the sale of Kenyan avocados and where its staff come from. Its presence on each network is tailored to that platform, so for example on LinkedIn it promotes job vacancies and publishes articles about the work culture within the business, while on Instagram it encourages followers to post photos of its ships using the hashtag #Maersk. Maersk now has more than 1.5m Facebook fans (of which around 15% are customers) and 12,000 Twitter followers, as well as active accounts on Instagram, Tumblr, YouTube and Google+.
  3. DELL sought to go where its customers are — on social media — by offering technical support, responding to customer concerns and building business digitallyThe company launched @DellCares, a program that uses social media platforms and online communities to address customer questions and reply directly to customers through tweets and other response methods. According to Amy Marquez Bivin, Social Media Outreach Manager, 98 percent of customer issues responded to through @DellCares are resolved without customers needing to work with an agent and 85 percent of social-media-assisted customers with negative initial opinions of Dell reported a positive opinion following the support experience. The program is also generating an average of $265,000 in additional weekly revenue.
  4. SHIPSERV: It’s difficult to imagine the maritime industry getting to grips with social media, but Shipserv one of the leading industry marketplaces, proves that in can be done very successfully. As part of a wider marketing strategy and customer engagement strategy, various social approaches were taken, resulting in greater site traffic, alongside increased brand awareness and lead opportunities. From an initial $30,000 social media marketing investment, it’s estimated the overall results achieved would have cost more than $150,000 through traditional media.

SOCIAL CRM

  1. ALLINA HEALTH: Used CRM to manage its data warehouse. It’s identified benefits that include reduced patient length of stay, reduced admissions, and improved health outcomes in stroke, depression, and angioplasty treatments. Within 2 years, the CRM initiative had an ROI of +152% and generated $1,052,828 each year.
  2. GET SATISFACTION: A leading online customer community platform that companies use or customer support, idea submission, marketing and sales questions, and capturing positive feedback, focused traffic driving strategies on search, social media, blogging, and building a content community. The CRM strategy achieved an ROI of +104% in month one, +168% in month two and +248% in month three.
  3. TYROIT: is Europe’s largest manufacturer of bonded grinding, cutting-off, sawing, and drilling tools generating $416 million in annual revenue from more than 70,000 unique products produced in 19 plants for 60 countries. Tyroit used CRM to integrate products and solutions to reduce the number of contact points and transaction costs. It increased bottom line costs by +25% and produced an ROI of +183% within 2 years.

SOCIAL SELLING

  1. AT&T:  Put together a new sales team to re-build business relationships with a Fortune 100 company in Atlanta. They decided to take an entirely new approach that heavily favored building relationships through social media. They had to try something new.  Relationships with a key client had suffered in the past five years, creating strain and sales had dried up. With training from Mark Schaefer and support from our internal team, they began implementing a content strategy aimed at strategic “persons of interest” from the former customer. Inside of 18 months $47 million in brand new business was awarded to AT&T, directly attributable to social media outreach.
  2. IBM: Traditional ways of finding B2B customers for hardware and software products – telemarketing and email – were not producing the same results when applied to selling web-based services such as cloud computing and data security. IBM launched a program called “intelligent listening” within social media to learn what conversations about cloud computing were going on, what trends and issues were being discussed, and what the hot-button topics in the field were for users. Sales reps could simply check an RSS feed, find some content that fit the context of any discussion they were seeing, and upload them to social media and also to their new individual rep profile pages within the IBM site. The result was 10 orders the first day, and orders for product during the quarter that were 4X higher than during the same time the year before.
  3. INCONTACT: A call center software company, trained half their team to learn and engage with customers through Social Selling using LinkedIn and the marketing automation software, Eloqua. Within a year, the half of the team that was trained saw a 122% increase in revenue for those sales reps using LinkedIn; 157% increase in revenue for those sales reps using LinkedIn & Eloqua. Now the entire company is trained in Social Selling Here is a brief video to explain the story.
  4. INDIUM:  Social Media in manufacturing is a rarity. Several of their engineers (17 or so, and 73 blogs.) write blog articles to share their expertise with customers, prospects and people with questions about the technical applications related to solder. They shifted from traditional white papers to blog articles, supported by extensive measurements. Video is part of the mix too, to develop high value conversations, and this rolls over into trade show attendance. The video highlights key points for success and insights. SEO improved significantly. Leads increased significantly while trade-show costs decreased 75%.
  5. HUBSPOT: Focused social media on solving customers’ problems as a way to earn leads. For example, HubSpot is first to release guidebooks their target market needs to create success. When something changes in online marketing, HubSpot is there with a guide to manage the change. They share the best advice, fast and have earned a reputation as THE educational resource for the market they serve. They give knowledge and advice (content) away free and make sure it’s the very best stuff possible. This (now) famous software start-up exploded onto the scene in 2006. Two years later they hit $2.2 million in sales and $52 million 4 years later.
  6. LINKEDIN:  Had to be converted to social selling. After the release of tools such as Sales Navigator and TeamLink, LinkedIn’s own sales team began seeing significant results. Ralf VonSosen, the company’s head of marketing for sales solutions notes, “We started seeing a 50% increase in leads to meeting conversion rates.”
  7. LOGMYCALLS: A call tracking service, practiced a“150 Blog Posts in 50 Days” effort. “With a company our size, the commitment has to be significant in order to produce 3 unique and useful blog posts a day,” says Inbound Marketing Manager, McKay Allen. “After all, we also produce 2 original marketing webinars each week, monthly case studies, a variety of marketing White Papers, and some humorous and awesome marketing call tracking videos.” The result of this original and relevant content: A 400% increase in leads within 90 days.

LINKEDIN MARKETING

  1. AXWAY: Is a software service that manages, runs, secures, and monitors all your business interactions – emails, files, messages, services, events, and processes. Although Google Adwords was successful at generating leads for Axway, competition for top keywords was fierce and drove up conversion costs. Axway used LinkedIn Ads specifically targeting the job titles, industries and job functions. They tested over 30 ads with custom landing pages. The LinkedIn campaigns generated +25% conversion rate with the lowest cost per conversion ever achieved.
  2. JMF INTERNATIONAL TRADE GROUP: Is a business consultancy and contract manufacturer run by James Filbird. What Jim did is something any of us could do to grow a business but most of us don’t. He: 1) kept his profile up-to-date, 2) joined 50 LinkedIn Groups, 3) scoured Group Digests, 4) engaged in discussions, 5) connected, 6) moved the conversation offline, mostly through Skype and 7) re-evaluated his groups and contacts, regularly. He attributes the company he built to $5,000,000 in revenue largely to LinkedIn.
  3. GOSHIDO: a software solution that makes is easier for people around the world to work together and collaborated, used LinkedIn to find seed capital for its own creation.  This was done by identifying and leveraging connections who could be potential investors. Approximately $150,000 was raised.
  4. HEWLETT PACKARD: is the first company to hit 1,000,000 Followers for a Company Page. They also set up a specific Discussion Group to attract small businesses that has 5,500+ members; 75% who actively engage in discussions and who are 2X more likely to recommend HP. Since a video tell more than 1,000 words, here’s the story.

WEBINARS

  1. INSPIRED MARKETING: Sells digital materials and online training programs about using social networking tools such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to create and market a successful business. In 2010, the partners presented more than 300 webinars (both their own and through other people). They investment could be tracked to over $2.5 million in sales for 2011. “In January 2011, we had sales of $250,000 from just seven GoToWebinar events,” says President and Co-founder, Lewis Howes.
  2. LUMEDX: Is a small healthcare technology company with 100 person staff. It needed to stand out in the face of large brand competition. Lumedx used webinars to cost effectively build awareness of its cardiovascular information and imaging systems product, drive lead generation campaigns and build customer rapport. Lumeds increased contact with over 500 clients, gained competitive edge over much larger companies and drove over$600,000 in annual sales.
  3. MARKETO: Is a leading provider of marketing analytics software. The company recognized webinars as a key piece in the marketing tool kit to promote thought leadership and generate leads. As with many webinars, people registered but didn’t always attend. They used a simple, recorded phone message reminder in addition to email. Although th ephone reminder added $2 for every registrant, it increased conversion of people who attended  from 26% to 48% and, according to Marketo, was well worth the investment in terms of sales results according to a company rep.
  4. PINPOINTE: Is  a provider of on-demand email marketing automation services for mid-market and large enterprises. Pinpointe depended upon free,15-day trials of its service together with traditional sales outreach to generate leads and win new customers. However, the company wanted to find additional ways to increase awareness, leads and sales. When webinars were added, 1000 new leads per month are added; 25 become customers who each generate $200/month in Pinpointe services adding $6,250 and $75,000 to the bottom line.
  5. SEAGATE: Is a large 52000+ staff technology company, Seagate wanted to bypass traditional B2B channels and market its new product directly to end users. Webinars facilitated a B2C product launch and attracted 1500+ attendees with zero advertising budget. Seagate also used webinars to assemble far-flung speakers for webcasts without travel costs. Seagate exceeded initial sales unit goal by 300 percent, doubling sales forecast within one week of launch. Once they put the webcast on YouTube, a viral marketing effect created 38,800 within 4 months.

Did you find one relevant to your business? Did these case studies convince you digital marketing works for your B2B business?

Rob PetersenRob Petersen is an experienced advertising and marketing executive and the founder of the BarnRaisers agency anbd a strategic partner of Schaefer Marketing Solutions. Follow Rob on Twitter: @RobPetersen

Illustration courtesy BigStock.

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