B2B marketing can at times be more complex than B2C, with different motivations, more intricate products and multiple decision makers to take into account. In order for B2B marketers to create an effective and sustainable marketing strategy, here are four key elements you can’t ignore.
Great B2B brands have the ability to tell engaging stories that trigger awareness of and desire for their products and services. In the B2B world, we know that differentiation at a product level is a tough challenge for all but the few innovators in every market sector. Business need to find new ways to set themselves apart, instead of just competing on price point. A few of these areas are customer service, the customer experience and trust, social purpose and compassion. Storytelling has emerged as a way to encompass all of these areas in brand marketing. A well thought-out brand story is able to touch on each area and deliver a message that not only gets your customers attention but also keeps it.
In order to keep reaching new potential customers, marketers need to create great content that gets shared. To create shareable content, each piece should have a purpose to fill the needs of your customers. You need to know your audience, what they are looking for, what they need and want and how to reach them. A lot of B2B selling is complicated with long selling cycles. The best marketers are creating content that explains the work companies do in a way that educates the potential buyer, gains interest and goes mainstream into consumer channels.
Make sure to create an original eye-catching headline, use high-quality imagery and focus on quality over quantity. B2B marketers know that social media plays a huge role for business today. We as marketers need to know which content gets shared the most and on which platform it will perform best. In short, when creating shareable content for your next marketing campaign: know your customer and know your platforms.
Holistic user experiences
Marketing today is as much about user experience as it is about products and services. Marketers need to ensure the flow of interactions between customers and service providers is as seamless and painless as possible. Focusing on user experience is an important way B2B marketers can stand out from the competition. At Motorola Solutions, senior VP-Marketing Eduardo Conrado’s aim is:
Working together on this front with [the marketing information and technology teams] teams, developing strategies and getting user-experience experts to collaborate—not just on the digital experience, but on product design and the entire user experience, across hardware and software—this will rise in importance for marketing teams."
Designing for a holistic customer experience means designing from within. Although we can’t define or control the experience 100%, we must still do our best to understand it, design for it and influence it. Delivering a holisticcustomer experience means ensuring everyone in your organization has a deep understanding of the customer and the desired customer experience, and is empowered to act on it. As we aim to create more and more touch points for our business a holistic experience becomes an even more vital factor.
As we approach 4.77 billion worldwide mobile phone users and 2.03 billion smartphone users this year (“Smartphone Users Worldwide 2012–2017” from eMarketer), it is safe to say that mobile is another important area you can’t ignore. At the rate smartphone use is growing, marketers should make mobile a key component to the user experience. From wearables to the use of beacons, there are a plethora of new opportunities for marketers in the mobile world.
In the B2B space, marketers need to remember that people expect the same quality of experience from their desktop to their mobile as they receive in their private interactions. We can’t afford to think of mobile as an afterthought; it needs to be at the core of our planning processes. Not only does it need to be in place, it needs to be seamless when moving from one device to the next. As a B2B company, you may not be aiming to create direct sales through your mobile marketing efforts, but you should still be using it to inform, educate and inspire your potential buyers to engage with you and move them through the stages of the buyer’s journey.