B2B Articles - May 18, 2023

B2B Marketing Campaigns Should Poll their Audience - Not Push Their Message

By Jenny Goldade, Content Specialist

B2B companies often use marketing campaigns to shout their message. Instead of this approach, businesses should use campaigns to poll their target audience on their interests.

In other words, B2B companies can use marketing campaigns to test various topics and messaging. Then, they can determine what their target buying groups care about and what resonates with them the most. 

“At the end of the day, advertising is really just a way to poll buyers and see what they care about.”

-Arielle Hurst, Client Strategy Director


Taking an agile marketing approach can help organizations effectively execute their campaigns. Being agile includes quickly adjusting campaigns based on real-time data and not planning campaigns too far in advance while allowing time to review assets before the campaign launch.

There are three phases a B2B company can follow to poll its audience: 

  1. Create buyer-focused ad campaigns that take leads to a gated landing page.

  2. Analyze quantitative form data to see what problems potential buyers struggle with.

  3. Gather qualitative data during sales for more insight into these pain points.

Learn how Ironpaper helps businesses create marketing campaigns that drive better lead education, engagement, and acquisition.

Phase 1: Create Buyer-Focused Ad Campaigns

Ironpaper’s Client Strategy Director, Arielle Hurst, said B2B ad campaigns and messaging should gather data on what topics appeal to buyers and respond to that interest. They shouldn’t be static, unchanging, or based on what a B2B company assumes about its buyers. 

“At the end of the day, advertising is really just a way to poll buyers and see what they care about. If a qualified lead clicks on an ad and fills out a landing page form, it means what you’re talking about is relevant to them. If no engagement happens or every lead is unqualified, you know you need to start talking about something else to get the right people in the door.”

-Arielle Hurst, Client Strategy Director

Determining relevant topics and testing messaging helps businesses be buyer centric. Once they understand their buyers’ pain points, they can craft content variations to address these challenges and learn what messaging receives more engagement. It’s easy to default to autobiographical content when companies don’t have the data to be buyer focused. Organizations should continuously collect and analyze data for common themes and insights to avoid this trap. 

After sussing out what themes their buyers are interested in, B2B companies should decide where those themes fit into the buyer’s journey stages. Matching themes to the stages is like the scientific method for conducting hypothesis testing. In marketing, it’s about testing and proving what buyers care about at what stage of the journey. At Ironpaper, we believe in living at this intersection of art and science.

It’s also important to note that different topics and content types will connect with leads at varying points in the buyer’s journey. According to a Demand Gen Report, B2B executives surveyed said these content types are the most common for each stage1:

  • Early-stage research/awareness: Infographics, blogs, and podcasts
  • Mid-stage research/consideration: Assessments, webinars, and case studies
  • Late-stage research/decision: User reviews, third-party analyst reports, return-on-investment calculators

Phase 2: Analyze Quantitative Form Data

B2B marketing assets and ad campaigns can lead potential buyers to a gated landing page. The landing page is where they complete the form and provide the organization with more insight into what problems they want help solving. Then, businesses can use this data to make informed decisions for future campaigns instead of relying on instincts.

The form data gathered can be for basics like the leads’ job function and their industry to understand better who the target audience is and what role they play in the buying process.

However, Hurst said forms should also ask survey-like questions to gain insights into the buyer’s pain points, market forces, and current strategy. 

B2B buyers want to share about themselves. Not rote information like company size – that’s impersonal – but details about the challenges that impact their working lives. Buyers want to talk to someone who understands what they’re going through and can help.”

-Arielle Hurst, Client Strategy Director

Organizations can even use the data from forms to create content that shares insights into industry pain points. Then, they can promote it through a campaign to discover more learnings about their leads’ and buyers’ preferences. Ultimately, it’s a continuous process to understand an audience’s needs and interests because they constantly evolve and change. 

When measuring campaign results, focus on lead-converting metrics, not vanity metrics. Avoid focusing too much on metrics that don’t show how campaigns bring in qualified leads and revenue, like the number of views on the campaign landing page. Instead, emphasize the conversion rate for the landing page’s form and the number of qualified and sales-qualified leads. According to the Content Marketing Institute, B2B companies they surveyed use three top metrics to measure content performance: conversions, lead quality, and website engagement.2

Phase 3: Gather Qualitative Data During the Sales Process

Hurst said businesses should also gather qualitative data on their leads during the sales process to learn how the pain points affect their business and how they can help solve them.

“B2B companies should always be collecting a mix of structured, quantitative data and free form, qualitative notes to understand their buyer’s pain points. For example, details like specific wording can make messaging feel more authentic (qualitative), while a report (quantitative) can visualize larger buyer trends.”

-Arielle Hurst, Client Strategy Director

Like the form survey questions, B2B salespeople can fill out the answers to follow-up questions internally to give marketing and other teams more insight into the buyer’s needs. Sales and marketing and all departments need to work together to effectively guide their leads through the buyer’s journey and understand how they can best help them with their problems. According to HubSpot, sales leaders surveyed said the top three benefits of sales and marketing alignment are increased revenue, improved customer experience, and improved lead generation.3

B2B salespeople can also pass along lead and customer feedback to help product teams improve their products and offerings. If a B2B’s ideal buyers consistently ask for a feature or are interested in a service they don’t provide, they could consider incorporating it into their solutions. This feedback lets a B2B company see what’s working and what isn’t and adjust their products and marketing strategy accordingly.

Follow These Phases to Create Campaigns That Drive Leads and Learning

B2B companies need to understand how to plan, create, and track their marketing campaigns to generate the most qualified leads, better understand their target buying groups, and improve their offerings. By creating buyer-centric content supported by data, they can continuously learn about their audience’s wants and needs. Everything they learn can help businesses develop campaigns that poll their audience rather than push their message.

Download our report that explores how effective marketing messaging is at converting leads.


1Demand Gen Report, Content Preferences Survey Report, 2022.

2Content Marketing Institute, 13th Annual B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends, 2023.

3HubSpot, 2023 Sales Trends Report.

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