Although they are similar in name, B2B and B2C are quite different.
In the case of B2B, sales cycles take longer to complete and present a more complex process, requiring a number of decision makers on various levels. Additionally, the products cater to a much more focused target audience and have a higher LTV (lifetime value) per customers and generally long-lasting relationships.
The transition from the more traditional approach to marketing to online marketing can deliver disappointing results and provide a return to the starting point. CMOs that opt for this move operate under the assumption that online marketing work wonders for B2C, but not for B2B due to its multifaceted nature. This is only partially true as some B2C methods have absolutely no effect on B2B. However, there are some B2C methods that fully apply in B2B marketing, making them a must. This article will present several traditional, as well as online marketing strategies to help you choose which to follow and which to avoid.
Understand your audience
Knowing your target market is one thing, but knowing your target audience is a whole another story. Understanding the people you are trying to sell to – regular humans like yourself that represent their company, will help you find things you share together. Thanks to that information, you can create your own buyer personas (a virtual description of your ideal buyer) and cover all of their demands and challenges in line with your marketing strategy.
Be present in social gatherings
Creating relationships in B2B region is of the essence when it comes to sales. Taking part in industry seminars, conferences and other events with networking potential creates a firm B2B lead generation strategy that produces results. Here are a few things you can do:
Have an on-point presentation about your brand with a clear narrative
Be prepared for the relevant people you are about to meet by checking the attending list and prepare conversational topics and other material (business cards, promos, etc:)
Follow up with an e-mail and add the relevant connection to LinkedIn
Traditional media ads
Utilizing TV, radio and newspaper ads acts only as a complement to your overall marketing strategy as they are suitable for branding purposes and nothing more. Raising brand awareness and authority are crucial aspects of any B2B marketing plan, but there are much more modern and effective ways to do achieve the desired results, not to mention that these strategies are hardly quantifiable in terms of clear numbers. However, if for any reason you absolutely must spend a portion of your budget on these mass-market methods, at least try to adhere to following principles in order to make the best of it:
Avoid mass-marketing by targeting your buyer personas and shaping your narrative to them
Set achievable goals for each campaign so you can measure your effectiveness
Utilize specific metrics like coupons, discount and promo codes and others to measure the performance of each of your campaign.
If possible, have a single ATL (above the line) campaign in process at a time. This will provide you with an opportunity to get a glimpse of the size of impact the campaign had, even if it didn’t provide totally accurate performance
Ideally, you should avoid traditional media and spend your funds to more modern and measurable platforms but for times you absolutely have to, follow the mentioned guidelines for maximum success.
Cold outreach is all those emails, calls, and PPC ads that contain a direct sales message. It doesn’t produce desired results because of its interruptive, marketer-centric nature – you are trying to make a sale to people who don’t have a high interest or are simply not ready to buy from you. Either way, you need to understand that buyers go through a very specific process before they reach a decision. It’s called the buyer’s journey and typically consists of three stages.
Contacting people via cold outreach is much like sending junk emails. The receiving side usually doesn’t know you, trust you nor sees value in you, meaning you are wasting precious time and money. The few times the approach does work, it represents a short-term goal and doesn’t really creating any lasting relationships. Instead, focus on creating and adding value and being at the right place during the buyer’s journey. You will create valuable lasting relationships and, in some cases, turn your customers into marketing tools.
Inbound marketing is the best way to turn strangers into customers and ultimately promoters of your business. There are four stages of the inbound process:
Attract (turn strangers to visitors on your website)
Convert (turn visitors to leads)
Close (turn leads to customers)
Delight (turn customers to promoters)
This methodology works best through a combination of content marketing and marketing automation.
1. Content marketing
This form of inbound marketing forms on the basis of communicating with prospects without actually selling to them. Instead of directly selling, you are generating targeted content, building brand trust, creating long-term relationships and letting your prospects turn into customers on their own time, when they are ready.
Content marketing can be slow but ultimately well worth your time and money. The process focuses on customers that actually have an interest in content that addresses their questions and needs. To do so, there are a few steps to follow:
Regularly publish on your website and be sure to follow the buyer’s journey
Use SEO (search engine optimization) for maximum results in search engines
Utilize social media and email marketing to boost your reach
Create landing pages and forms to capture your prospect’s info and exchange for them by offering your content in return
Once generated, nurture your leads and build brand trust.
To put it simply – content marketing is creating and distributing the right content at the right time and the right place.
2. Marketing automation
Marketing automation uses automation software to assist your leads during their buyer’s journey to the final step – the purchase. To achieve the desired results with marketing automation software, you need to communicate with your prospect by sending them relevant, targeted content through various different ways like lead scoring, workflows, and email drips. Some of the examples of the most popular software suites include Hubspot, Eloqua, Marketo, Silverpop and others.
It’s important to note that an inbound marketing strategy can be successful without utilizing marketing automation. Doing thing manually can be a good take-off point with automating the process as you improve out your strategy in the process.
In its core, B2B marketing is based on building valuable lasting relationships with your prospects, as well as with your existing clients. The customer-centric approach, as opposed to traditional methods like cold outreaching that puts the marketer in the central position, can significantly improve your marketing efforts and performance, creating long-lasting customers that will help your company to grow. Recognizing, understanding and implementing inbound marketing strategy is a well-worth investment that can help a B2b business flourish in today’s competitive business environment.