I was recently watching a few old episodes of Dragons Den, and it really got me thinking about Mezzanine’s B2B clients and how attracting targeted advertising fits into their business model. There were two presentations that really stuck out. In both cases, the young entrepreneur had successful websites that were drawing tons of unique visitors and monetizing those visitors was the next step to making it rich. The Dragons asked them how they would make money, and both answered with the predictable idea that they would serve ads. To say the least, the Dragons were not impressed, mainly because getting ad revenue is much more difficult than it appears. When I compare this to a B2B website's business model, the differences are quite stark.
At Mezzanine, we work frequently in the digital media industry, either with start-ups or with established players. While ad revenue can be very important in a B2C context, in B2B, attracting web advertising is a relatively low priority compared to focusing on drawing leads and making sales of products, subscriptions, etc. While a B2B website should be focused on generating leads, companies can also benefit from looking closely at who their website visitors are (e.g. past purchasing behaviour, searches, geography, etc.) and why they visit different parts of the site, what their characteristics are likely to be, and if a meaningful segmentation exists from which to target them. Analyzing the information you already have and/or capturing this information in the future can create a powerful information base that can help create the capabilities to:
- Cross sell products based on previous purchases and other buyer behavior
- Tease visitors with pertinent information or products based on the information they are currently looking at
- Provide advertisers with targeted advertising tools through the same information base that has been developed to increase leads.
Ultimately, maximizing revenues does not come down to how many visitors you have or how many leads you are currently generating. It's more about what you know about your visitors and how your capabilities can be aligned to capitalize on this information to generate greater sales and advertising revenue.
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