Let’s start with the simple stuff. Business-to-business marketing, often referred to as B2B marketing, is the process of marketing products, services or solutions to other organisations. B2C marketing, on the other hand, is when companies market their products directly to consumers.
These two different forms of marketing have similar aims – ultimately, the goal is to bring in money through sales – but the approach tends to be different. B2B marketing, for example, tends to utilise information that is informative, straightforward and lacks unnecessary fluff.
There is more of a focus on getting straight to the heart of the matter rather than attempting to catch the eye with bright colours, punchy headlines and clever wordplay, though that’s not to say these things are always to be avoided.
The B2B marketing landscape is evolving all of the time, especially in an environment that is giving companies the ability to constantly gather greater levels of data, gain more robust insights, and increase the degree of personalisation involved in all messaging.
This means greater opportunities for businesses to accurately target their audience, but it also means that they need to constantly stay on top of trends and ensure that the changing marketing environment doesn’t leave them behind.
How to develop a stellar B2B marketing strategy
Every B2B company needs to design a marketing strategy that provides the requisite information, shows the organisation and its associated products in the best possible light, and can attract both current and potential customers in equal measure.
1. Have a vision in place
Before you do anything associated with marketing, you need to have a vision in place that ensures you know exactly what your company does, why you do it, what you want to sell, who you want to sell it to, what your key marketing objectives are, and how you will ultimately be able to measure success.
2. Acknowledge your key markets and ideal customers
If you are producing a product or service that is targeted directly at businesses, you will very often have a particular set of organisations or sectors that you need to reach and appeal to.
However, while you know this to be the case, there is a lot that you have to do to turn potential consumers into qualified leads. The more detailed you can be when it comes to defining the organisations and job types that you need to get your message in front of, the more success you are likely to attain.
The best way of doing this is to create personas. A persona is a fictional character that summarises, in as much detail as you can possibly muster, the perfect end consumer for what you are offering.
By figuring out the key features that your persona should inhabit – age range, salary, job title, company sector or industry, type of messaging they like to consume, what devices they tend to utilise – you will be able to streamline your marketing collateral and make it as effective as possible.
3. Understand the benefits of particular tactics and channels
Once you have done the groundwork, you need to figure out exactly how you can reach the people that you want your messaging to land in front of. If you have taken the time to define and design detailed personas, then you will certainly be able to use them to your advantage at this stage.
Try and answer the following questions to ensure your content is as beneficial as possible and bring in the results that you are looking for.
- When your ideal consumer is online, what websites do they tend to visit, and what content do they like to consume?
- When they go on Google or Bing, what sort of questions do they tend to ask? Do you have a solution or product that will make their lives easier?
- Do they prefer Facebook, Instagram or Twitter? Do they use social media a lot, or do they refrain from going on these sites?
- Do they have very specific challenges that are making their role unnecessarily difficult? Are you capable of helping them do their job better in some way?
- What sort of information do they trust and value?
- Do they prefer to communicate via email, phone, apps, live chat, or something else?
4. Run a campaign and monitor the results
When you have all of the groundwork and foundations in place, the next thing to do is to finally create a campaign and put it out into the world. B2B lead generation cannot be attained without actually taking the plunge and publishing content, after all.
You should also, at this point, be clear about the amount of money you are willing to put behind the campaign, and what results you would like to achieve on the back of this spend.
When creating your campaign, you should try and make it as bespoke as possible while also keeping the message simple enough that it can be understood in a matter of seconds; you should provide information and statistics that are both relevant and interesting; you should target your audience in a manner that is enlightened and sturdy, and you should always make it clear how you can be contacted if they wish to make a purchase, or should they wish to enquire further about what you do.
5. Measure, modify and improve
It is essential that, from the outset, you understand no B2B marketing campaign will ever be perfect from the word go. It will be necessary to track performance – this can be clickthrough rate, enquiry numbers, email opens, website visitor tracking, views of various pieces of marketing collateral, blog shares, retweets and likes, or anything else that can be deemed relevant to your specific campaign.
Screenshot: Website visitor tracking using Lead Forensics
The more detail you can gather, the better your campaign revisions will be and the more powerful your marketing campaign will be going forward. However, you also need to give your campaign time to breathe; don’t change it all after one day simply because you haven’t seen the results you were expecting.
You can, and should, utilise numerous types of marketing to appeal to your audience, from podcasts to blogs, advertisements to social media posts, whitepapers to emails, videos to banners. Assess how well these perform over an extended period of time – a month, for example – and then cull the ones that aren’t working and push the ones that are.
Let your audience decide what works, because ultimately they are the people you need to appeal to, and they will define whether your campaign - and overall business - can succeed.
Author: Daniel Boss
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