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B2B Channels: How to Choose, Test & Validate Your Marketing Channel Mix

by Oren Greenberg on

Many blog posts claim the list of potential B2B digital marketing channels is vast and confusing; the reality is that most companies drive growth on a select few digital channels that are well-known and established.

However, finding the perfect harmony between audience, message, product and channel can present a significant challenge. With countless variables, bootstrapped budgets and the urgency to grab market share from competitors, it's essential to focus on the channels that yield a sustainable return. 

At Kurve, we specialize in building correct marketing channels, and, more precisely, choosing, testing, and validating the marketing mix. 

In this guide, we’ll share how to choose the right B2B channels, validate their performance, and create an effective business-to-business marketing strategy that drives growth for your business.



What are B2B lead generation channels?

What are B2B lead generation channels

B2B lead generation refers to identifying and attracting potential business customers and converting them into leads. This process can involve various marketing channels and tactics, such as email marketing, content marketing, social media marketing, advertising, and SEO.

While B2C lead generation is focused on reaching individual consumers and converting them into customers, B2B lead generation is focused on targeting other businesses and converting them into leads. This means that the messaging and tactics used in B2B lead generation require a more personalized, professional approach, considering the complex buying processes involved in B2B transactions.

10 Effective B2B Lead Generation Channels

10 Effective B2B Lead Generation Channels

Below, we’ve narrowed down some of the B2B marketing categories in a way that makes sense.

1. Traditional and digital PR 

PR involves positioning your brand as a thought leader in your industry. Offer insightful commentary through press releases, media outreach, or social media engagement. This fosters brand awareness, establishes credibility, and attracts potential clients who value your expertise.

2. Unconventional PR  

Unconventional PR ditches the press release for creative stunts and unexpected partnerships.  Examples are hosting a flash mob showcasing the product's benefits or collaborating with a non-competing brand on a unique campaign that grabs attention. These out-of-the-box tactics spark conversations, generate buzz, and leave a lasting impression on your target audience.

3. Paid Search Engine Marketing

Paid SEM targets potential customers with high-intent keywords, maximizes campaign impact by targeting users based on location, behavior, and interests, and drives qualified leads to dedicated landing pages for easy conversion.

4. Social and Display Ads

Social and display ads are effective methods to reach your B2B audience. LinkedIn is the best platform for B2B targeting, while Facebook and Instagram can be used for interest-based targeting. Display advertising can expand your reach by placing your ads on relevant websites. Retargeting is useful to reconnect with website visitors who haven't converted yet.

5. Offline Ads

In a digital world, offline ads can still be effective for B2B lead generation. Consider industry-specific publications, strategic billboard placements, bold visuals, and a clear call to action to capture attention.

6. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO builds a strong website foundation, strategically using relevant keywords and earning backlinks from high-authority websites in your industry to boost web traffic and the website's ranking in search engines. Having a high-ranking website for search terms in your niche is still one of the best lead generation strategies around.

7. Content Marketing  

Content marketing is about creating valuable content in various formats to address potential customers' questions and concerns at every stage of their buying journey. 

However, a cohesive content marketing strategy without promotion is like a whisper in the crowd. Use your website, social media channels, and email newsletters to get your content to the right audience. Content syndication sites and contributing thought leadership pieces to industry publications can further amplify your reach and position you as an expert.

8. Email Marketing  

Email marketing is an effective strategy because it allows you to speak more directly to potential customers, and lead them down your funnel. Offer valuable resources in exchange for email sign-ups and segment your email list into specific groups based on interests or past behavior. This allows you to tailor your messaging, driving higher engagement and conversions.

9. Building Communities  

Engage with your target audience beyond social media by participating in online communities such as Slack groups, subreddits, and forums. Provide value and insights instead of promoting sales. If your brand aligns with it, consider creating your own online forum or group to cultivate a loyal following and build deeper engagement around your brand and industry. You can also tap into other communities using influencer marketing

10. Retargeting Display Ads  

Retargeting display ads reconnect with website visitors based on specific actions they took. Create compelling ad creative to grab attention and present targeted offers. It captures website visitors who showed initial interest and drives them back down the conversion funnel by keeping your brand top-of-mind.

Naturally, within these categories, there are various other marketing channels. For example, in social advertising, there are Facebook ads, LinkedIn ads, Instagram ads, Quora ads, YouTube ads, Twitter ads, etc.

Remember: there’s a direct link between the channels you use to drive growth and the type of customers that you’ll acquire. For example, LinkedIn’s platform may have more active users from large enterprise organizations than Facebook or Instagram. So, even if you solve the same pain point for an SME owner, this difference means that the average lifetime value of an acquisition via LinkedIn could be superior.

Boiled down to its most simple form, our process for choosing which B2B marketing channels to test is as follows:

  • Here is the full list of potential channels
  • Next, let’s narrow it down to 5-6 based on:
    • Our experience
    • What other marketers are saying
  • Now, let’s run experiments to see which channels perform best

Caveat: The marketing funnel might impact your channel mix prioritization. See the next section.

Generally, you should iteratively work through the channel shortlist by testing two at a time rather than overburdening your people and technology with too many variables and channel experiments.

B2B Growth Experiments

B2B Growth Experiments

Before we dive into choosing and validating the right B2B marketing channels, it's important to have a strategic framework in place for achieving growth. This framework can be broken down into four main components:

  • Overall strategy: This includes your vision, offer, and brand.
  • Landscape: This involves analyzing your competitors, conducting research, and benchmarking.
  • Implementation: This phase focuses on tactical execution and experimenting with various marketing channels.
  • Evaluation: Finally, measuring your performance and tracking your growth is crucial.

Assuming you've established your vision, offer, and brand strategy and conducted competitor research and benchmarking, you're ready to shift your focus to the implementation phase. Here, you'll begin testing different B2B marketing channels and driving growth for your business.

By organizing the content this way, you create a more cohesive and logical flow of ideas while still including all of the original components of the framework.

How to Set Up the Implementation Phase to Test B2B Marketing Channels

Within the implementation phase, we use a step-by-step process:

How to Set Up the Implementation Phase to Test B2B Marketing Channels

First, understand who you're targeting in your B2B marketing efforts. This involves identifying the firmographics of your target account or business and the persona of your target individual's job role, demographics and psychographic.

Once you have defined your target audience, it's time to map out their customer journey. This involves planning your channels, mapping your funnel and creating messaging frameworks. But let's focus on channel planning later in this article.

Creating a messaging framework is crucial to your customer journey mapping. First, you need to be able to identify what messages to communicate to each persona at every stage of their journey. This requires a tactical approach with a strategic mindset, allowing you to empathize with their feelings and needs.

Mapping out your funnel is equally important. This involves defining the process from each channel to the next stage. The funnel can vary greatly depending on the channels and objectives. For example, taking someone from a Facebook post to a mobile app download is a very different funnel experience than taking someone from a Google Search Ad to a callback form or chatbot. To create an optimal customer journey, it's essential to have the right technology stack in place. For instance, if you're directing users to a mobile app download, you need to be able to deliver push notifications within the app and track mobile app attribution.

Finally, as the testing process is cyclical, it's crucial to measure results effectively and gain insights that can be utilized in future experiments. This allows you to continue learning about your audience, journey, messaging, and technology and refining your approach over time.

Key Takeaways: How to Get Ready for Marketing Channel Experiments

When choosing the right channels for your B2B marketing, clearly understanding your audience, funnel, and messaging is crucial. Without these elements in place, making informed decisions about channel deployment is impossible. Additionally, having the right technology stack and measurement tools is essential to running effective tests and gauging which channels drive growth.

Keep in mind that once you start allocating resources, creatives, and technology toward channel deployment, you've shifted from pure strategy to a new execution phase. However, businesses often encounter issues when they haven't laid the proper foundation in their strategy and begin to burn cash on channels prematurely.

To avoid these mistakes, prioritize developing a solid strategy that incorporates your audience, funnel and messaging. This will ensure you make informed decisions regarding channel deployment and avoid wasting resources on ineffective tactics.

B2B Channels: How to Choose, Test & Validate

How to Choose the Right B2B Marketing Channels to Test

There's no one-size-fits-all solution when determining the most effective B2B marketing channels. The best channels for your business depend heavily on factors such as industry, offer and audience.

To decide which channels to test, you should rely on two things:

  1. The individual experience of the specialist(s) leading growth
  2. Insights from the wider marketing community

However, trusting search results and industry studies can be challenging since channel categories often overlap, and the data may not always be useful. For instance, when a survey suggests that social media is the most effective channel for B2B marketers, which of the dozen major platforms is the best? And what about the question of paid influencer marketing versus organic social? It's not always easy to obtain this information.

So, while seeking insights from the wider marketing community can be helpful, your individual experience and expertise are also valuable. Ultimately, the key is to test various channels and track the results to determine the most effective for your business and audience.

How the Marketing Funnel Influences Your Channel Prioritization

Rather than trying to nurture everyone from the top of the funnel, start by targeting your tightest ideal customer profile (ICP). These are the people who have the problem you're trying to solve and experience it right now.

This approach impacts your channel mix since you should focus on testing the channels where people actively seek solutions. This could include channels like Google & Bing Ads (or SEO), forums, dark social, affiliates, or events. By starting with the channels with the lowest-hanging fruit, you can gradually move up the funnel and educate colder audiences. This allows you to expand your reach and introduce your solutions to a broader audience.

This prioritization of channels based on where people are actively seeking solutions can help you focus your efforts on the areas where you're most likely to find success and attract clients. It will also build momentum and gradually push you to work your way up the funnel, ultimately reaching a broader audience and driving growth for your business.

Which B2B Marketing Channels Are Getting Popular in 2024?

As we’ve already mentioned, research can be taken with a pinch of salt – a Statista study in 2023 indicates which B2B marketing channels seem to be growing in popularity. Again, beware of the overlaps and categorization issues, but here are the findings from Statista’s survey of about 2,000 respondents:

Which B2B Marketing Channels Are Getting Popular in 2024


Let’s dig into three of the most notable trends from this report:

1. In-person events

Leading the interest at 60%, this channel offers a powerful environment for B2B companies to cultivate deeper connections. Unlike online interactions, face-to-face meetings allow for richer engagement, fostering stronger relationships with potential customers. These events can be immersive experiences, with product demonstrations and a dynamic atmosphere that leaves a lasting impression. The personal touch builds trust and credibility, leading to increased brand loyalty.

2. Video

With 59% of marketers interested in it, video excels in reaching a wider audience. Videos can connect with a global market by overcoming geographical limitations and time zone differences. They also present information in a captivating and easily digestible format, making complex topics clear and engaging for viewers. Additionally, high-quality videos can boost search engine ranking and brand awareness when shared on social media platforms or a company website.

3. Thought leadership content

With 57% of sales and marketing teams looking to adopt it in their campaigns, it establishes a B2B company as an expert and credible source within its industry. Sharing valuable insights and industry knowledge positions the company as a thought leader, attracting potential customers who trust their judgment and expertise. This content can educate potential customers about the brand's value proposition and solutions, ultimately driving sales. Furthermore, thought leadership content fosters discussions and engagement, helping the company connect with a wider audience and build a loyal following within the B2B community.

Key takeaways: How to Choose B2B Marketing Channels

There are many channels to choose from, but selecting which ones to test comes down to good old-fashioned domain knowledge. This knowledge, combined with the right foundational strategy (audience, funnel, messaging), means that you can test hypotheses in a way that doesn’t burn budget unsustainably – and in a way that gives you the maximum insights to use for optimization.

If you need our help to choose and test B2B marketing channels for your business, get in touch with Kurve today. You’ll benefit from our experience, knowledge, and strategic frameworks and access new levels of sustainable growth through digital channels.


How to Test and Validate B2B Marketing Channels

Whichever B2B marketing channels you choose to try out, you should apply a standardized process for gaining insights, understanding channel performance, and iteratively improving your results (optimizing). 

To do this, Kurve used our own version of a growth experimentation framework, which you can see below:

How to Test and Validate B2B Marketing Channels

If you can structure your channel experiments with this step-by-step method, you’ll have far more clarity about what works and what doesn’t, and you’ll also be able to report more easily to other stakeholders.

For each channel, you’ll need to understand:

  • Who exactly is going to be executing the work?
  • How much are you willing to spend on the channel test?
  • What technology do you need for implementation and evaluation?
  • What content and creatives will you need for the channel?

What makes things more complex is that each channel will have a different mix of the above factors.

As mentioned earlier, you should test iteratively. Even large businesses can get lost in the forest of information overload by testing too many channels – or too many subtle creative variations – at any one time. So, after you’ve narrowed your channels to a shortlist, test two. If one performs significantly better, drop the other and introduce the next. Double down on what works best as you go through the shortlist.  

Validating B2B Marketing Channel Tests: What Does Success Look Like?

There are three things that B2B marketers might look for in a successful marketing channel experiment:

  1. People saw the ad: This is the old-school view of marketing, focusing on eyeballs and volume.
  2. We got good ROI: For every £1 we spent, we got £2 in revenue, which equates to a 100% return.
  3. We acquired users cost-effectively: Often used in the B2B SaaS world, businesses lose money on the acquisition to scale quickly and monetize users in the future. 

So, to know what success looks like on a channel level, you need to understand what success means for the business. One of these objectives should always be in mind. Let’s ignore #1 for now because, as the famous Ogilvy quote goes, “don’t count the people that you reach; reach the people that count.” Instead, let’s look at #2 and #3 – with the example of Facebook Ads.

With Facebook Ads, you only have four main levers to experiment with:

  1. Who are you targeting? 
  2. What are you saying to them?
  3. What is the journey and funnel?
  4. How is the campaign structurally set up?

When testing Facebook Ads as a B2B marketing channel, you can try different audiences, offers, and journeys to determine which variation gives you the best return on investment (#2) or the cheapest cost-per-acquisition (#3). So, your channel validation depends on these specific factors.

Note: It’s important to remember that if you’re experiencing a lack of performance, this is sometimes not down to simply choosing ‘the wrong channel’. As mentioned in the introduction, marketers need to find harmony between audience, message, product, and channel. Common mistakes here include:

  • Targeting the wrong people
  • Targeting the right people with the wrong message
  • Targeting the right people with the right message on the wrong channel
  • Targeting the right people with the right message on the right channel with the wrong product

So, as you can see, the channel is just one piece of the puzzle.

Finding the Right Mix of B2B Marketing Channels

It’s unlikely that there’s a mystery B2B marketing channel that you haven’t heard about, but that doesn’t make it much easier to efficiently and sustainably drive growth with multiple marketing channels.

But there are five key steps to take that will get you closer to finding the right marketing channel mix for your B2B company:

  1. Getting the strategy right: Brand, audience, customer journey, tech stack, etc.
  2. Leveraging expertise and experience: Shortlisting the most promising channels 
  3. Using an experiment framework: Standardized process for running channel tests
  4. Learning, improving and evaluating channels: Measuring experiment success
  5. Optimizing and doubling down: Getting the most out of your proven channels

The fourth and fifth steps are vital; over time, they will become more important than testing new channels. The earlier you are in your growth journey, the more diversified your tests will be.

As you learn, you will shift towards optimizing proven channels rather than distributing your marketing budget across many different channels. These approaches aren’t contradictory: you’ll see a totally natural progression