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4 Proven Steps to Maximizing Out-of-Home Advertising in B2B

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By Matt O’Connor

Out-of-Home advertising or OOH advertising has been largely thought of as a consumer-centric medium, with B2C brands snapping up the lion’s share of billboards, transit ads, and street furniture. But this is no longer the case. In fact, if you’re in the B2B world, it’s high time to consider OOH.

While B2B organizations may be increasingly focusing on target accounts, the fact remains that individuals are still the ultimate decision-makers and buyers. With this in mind, OOH ads –– which offer mass reach, relevance, impact, and brand safety all at the lowest CPMs (cost-per-thousand impressions) of any traditional medium –– can become a powerful part of a B2B company’s marketing mix. Here are four steps to take as you explore outdoor advertising.

Determine your goal.

The savviest marketers know that all effective campaigns start with a clear objective. If you’re considering OOH ads, figure out what you’re hoping to achieve – and be specific. Do you wish to reach a specific target audience as efficiently as possible, or are you looking to improve your general brand awareness?

It matters because locations, ad formats, units, and messaging should all be selected based on the outcome you’re working toward. For example, you might think that the largest markets should be your first choice. However, if efficiency is a priority, running ads in underutilized markets might actually be the smarter option, due to their lower relative cost and effective CPM.

Define your target persona(s).

B2C companies define “personas” as describing the individual consumers that they want to target, but B2B brands have to view this differently. Gartner’s research revealed that an average buying committee in the market for a B2B solution includes six to ten decision-makers. This means many B2B organizations have to gain awareness, educate, and sell to numerous people within a company before a purchase is made. Furthermore, each of the members of a buying committee is said to require approximately seven or more interactions with a brand before a sale takes place.

What does this tell you? First, it highlights that you can’t rely on traditional 1:1 targeting through online channels only, such as banner ads and email marketing. Second, it’s a good reminder that you must do your research to understand who is involved in each purchase at your target accounts and learn as much as you can about these individuals. This foundational work will help you understand how to appeal to target buyers –– how to “speak their language” –– and ultimately make your outdoor ads significantly more effective. The more you understand about your target personas, the more likely you’ll be able to engage every person you need to influence within a B2B buying committee.

New OOH buying platforms enable you to use data to uncover the best way to reach your target audience.  The best platforms integrate demographic and behavioural data directly into the planning process, so you can use the insights uncovered in your initial research to identify the best markets, locations, and OOH ad units to reach your personas.

Plan your campaign.

Once you know what you’re trying to achieve and who all of the folks are that you need to reach, you can get into the nitty-gritty of campaign planning. This is the fun part. And while you may be new to OOH advertising, there are platforms available that make it easy to plan, purchase, and measure outdoor ads, so start there.

Look for platforms with a large selection of inventory from many different vendors, transparent pricing, and an integrated measurement dashboard, which will help make sure your campaigns are efficient and effective. Many also offer strategic guidance, creative development, and execution services.

Use the strategy you crafted and the information you know about your audience members to sift through OOH ad possibilities. You’ve probably heard of billboards, but have you explored wallscapes, street furniture, or transit ads?

Wallscapes allow for high-impact ads that are ideal for big, splashy branding campaigns. Street furniture, like bus shelters and benches, provide eye-level engagement and are ideal for soliciting an immediate response –– like an app download or website visit. And many transit ads allow you to reach a captive audience for a prolonged period of time. There are numerous formats to consider, depending on your budget and the goals you’re trying to achieve. There are also countless markets and locations available, from which you can narrow down your ideal placements.

One especially effective tactic is to place targeted OOH ads near your prospects’ offices. Not only will this definitively reach all members of the buying committee and boost overall awareness for your brand, but it also can create instant credibility and pave the way for your sales reps to start conversations more easily.

Measure and improve.

One of the most exciting and valuable parts of OOH advertising for B2B marketers is the sophisticated measurement capabilities available today. While the effectiveness of an OOH campaign may have been hard to track years ago, new technologies and online platforms have made tracking OOH results just as advanced and varied as digital advertising.

There are many ways to gauge the effectiveness of OOH ads. Campaign attribution analysis, for example, allows you to link unit-level ad exposures for both static and digital OOH ad units with online or offline conversion events, so you can uncover which part of your ad buy is really driving results. Another great method is called causal impact analysis, which allows you to analyze the impact of a campaign from a bird’s eye view using time series data.

Access to such rich data further enables B2B marketers to strategically target and purchase media on other channels, like online or mobile display, streaming audio, and direct mail. They can target and measure impressions, attribute on and offline activity to OOH exposure, and retarget potential clients who have seen OOH ads, driving them to a website or promoting a demo.

The options with OOH advertising in the B2B space are nearly endless, providing the perfect canvas for targeted messages that break through the digital noise and drive serious conversions. In order to take advantage of these benefits, follow these four steps. They’re proven to work and can get you well on your way to seeing stellar results, the OOH way.

Matt O’Connor is the CEO and co-founder of AdQuick.com, the first platform to allow brands, agencies and individuals to complete the entire process of planning, buying, executing and measuring out-of-home (OOH) advertising campaigns anywhere in the U.S. and across the globe.

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