Digital inbound marketing as an approach to scale up B2B sales
Abstract: Although digital inbound marketing has been widely researched within B2C industries, very little academic research has been done on the subject within B2B sectors. With today’s rapid flow of information and constant change in buying behavior when purchasing consumer goods, B2B buyers are also demanding a simpler, more digitized approach of gathering information. This master thesis focuses on identifying how digital inbound marketing can be used to scale up sales in a B2B company. The aim of the thesis is to understand and map out the relationship between the B2B selling process, the B2B buying process, and the use of digital inbound marketing methods and tactics, and use these relationships to understand which approach a small B2B company in the software/software as a service (SaaS) industry should take when designing a digital inbound marketing strategy. A literature review on the above mentioned topics was carried out and the relationship between the B2B selling and buying processes and various marketing methods and tactics was summarized in a theoretical framework. Combined with a best practice review, this was used to develop a digital inbound marketing (DIM) model for which strategic aspects to consider when designing a B2B digital inbound marketing strategy. The DIM model focuses on four important areas: knowing the customer, creating valuable content, sharing through relevant channels and evaluating to improve. The DIM model was applied to the case company InfraSight Labs, a small growing IT startup in Malmö, Sweden, to demonstrate the model’s use and test its applicability. When applied at InfraSight Labs, the model was evolved to also include operational activities linked to each strategic aspect. The application of the new version of the DIM model generated a basis for sales and marketing recommendations and provided a possible outline for a digital inbound marketing strategy. It was concluded that the improved DIM model is generalizable and can be used to design a digital inbound marketing strategy as a foundation on which to base future operational marketing activities.
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