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January 10, 2017
Why Online Listening Is a Vital Tool for B2B Marketers
Zhana Veleska

Every day, millions of consumers are utilizing social media platforms, blogs, and online forums to express their points of view. This dialogue with friends and followers is usually about their daily experiences and often highlights their interaction with brands, from cars and large appliances to food products and service-oriented companies.

Monitoring and analyzing positive, neutral and negative online comments is known as online listening, and it can be the most important research a B2B brand or company does, whether the company is ready to launch a new product or in the middle of a communications crisis.

Listening can help you understand your audience.

Online listening tracks consumers’ conversations around a product and brand—and possibly an industry and competitors—and analyzes these trends. While B2B marketers might think they already know the sentiment of their target audience, online listening provides a way for companies to obtain unfiltered conversations and test the accuracy of their assumptions. This is a way to challenge assumptions with real world truth. 

By recognizing patterns among a brand’s consumers, the company can begin to specifically reach out and target that audience. For instance, if people who buy a product also like to travel, that knowledge can be incorporated into the consumer outreach. By utilizing social listening to create a more defined definition of a target consumer, companies can better engage with them.

Listening can assist you in finding solutions.

In addition to gaining several insights about a target audience, there are many other ways that online listening can be utilized to drive success for B2B brands. Online listening gives companies the ability to gauge consumer sentiment on the industry as a whole and address any market-wide problems that may need solving. For example, if the target consumers of a building products brand are burdened by a new regulation, a company can offer its product as a solution that eliminates the problem. By actively seeking the pain points about an industry, a company can outflank its competitors by reaching out and offering a solution.

Listening can help you prepare.

Monitoring competitive conversations can also identify threats and opportunities, such as whether a company’s brand ought to create a content-focused campaign to “own” a particular conversation. Plus, you can use social listening to analyze the success of certain promotions.  A new hashtag or campaign can be monitored to see the changes in conversation that are direct results of that initiative.

Listening leads to a better market strategy.

The most significant marketing change in the past decade was brought about by social media. Conducting social listening research is key to a marketing strategy and is crucial to being successful. Not only can a marketer spot trends among target consumers, but he or she can further this by discovering ideal timing and frequency for social posts. What better way to make sure that consumers will see your posts than to track when they themselves are posting?

Online listening can be an especially effective tool for B2B marketing, helping companies develop refine or create personas, develop key messaging, solve problems, research opportunities and find the influencers in their market.

Interested in more ways to optimize your B2B marketing? Check out B2B Trade Shows: Turn Customers Into Loyalists and Digital is Taking Over B2B Marketing Budgets.