Today, getting customer’s attention in a crowded inbox isn’t easy at all. While B2C companies are aggressively competing through innovative marketing practices, B2B companies are somehow struggling to leave a mark. For so long, B2B brands have always tried to play safe with their simple and professional messages. However, the tactics work no longer in a time when digital media has transformed the way products are marketed and sold. As a result, traditional marketing techniques are turning out to be boring and outdated especially when the targeted audience happens to be millennials. It has become a challenge as well as a compulsion for B2B companies to evolve and come out of the comfort zone with their marketing and branding strategies.
It is high time that business to business (B2B) companies revisit their age-old strategies and learn from the creativity of business to consumer branding (B2C) techniques. Customers have ample options and are also increasingly going online to communicate, purchase and network. Brands cannot afford to be boring in the way they market their products and services.
Here are some five tips you can follow to break the ice of monotony in your B2B marketing outline:
Try Experimental Marketing
Often B2B marketers refrain from adopting strategies thinking that their targeted audience are business decision-makers and executives. However, they miss the point that no matter which field of business they are in, customers of both B2B and B2C prefer to try a product before they purchase it. Recently, the trend of experimental marketing has gained popularity, especially in the B2C market. Now, customers can try glasses or a cloth online through simulations available on e-commerce websites or apps at home. They no longer need to visit a store physically and try out products. The same strategy can also go well with B2B only if marketers are ready to experiment.
It is very important to let your customer experience your brand and the services you offer in-person. Real life experience helps them to understand the various aspects of a product and decide about its purchase. Like B2C customers, even B2B prospects are subject to numerous brand messages daily. Now, ensuring your brand gets noticed in the crowd requires a strategy to stand out. With experimental marketing in use, B2B companies can also successfully draw customer attention. One should not forget that today in any sector, millennials make up a majority of the customer base. Being internet savvy and well-informed, millennials are hard to impress. Until and unless they are convinced, they don’t make haste purchase decisions. So, every B2B brand must embrace the current trend to grow as they cannot afford to be boring and lose customers.
Cater to Varied Customer Needs
It’s now a kind of universal truth that when it comes to marketing, a one-fits-all approach doesn’t fit at all. Every customer is unique and wants a personalized campaign that addresses their specific needs. When you are in the B2B industry, thinking that same monotonous and boring way of marketing and branding will work, then you are wrong. Customer’s tastes and requirements keep changing, and so you also need to adjust strategies accordingly. Try to study each buyer persona and build marketing campaigns that suit every customer the best.
Also, when marketing some customers may expect complete professionalism while others may be fine with playing around. Fun and innovative marketing and branding strategies may work for some while may not go well with others. So, implementing the same strategy and tactics for all in the customer list can turn out to be a disaster. Even if you are a B2B marketer, remember to develop customer-specific ideas to market relevant products and services to businesses.
Take Creative Risks that Resonates with Your Audience
In the creative space, liberty to experiment and take risks comes handy. Even while marketing, brands mostly B2C are found making funny jokes, creating viral stories and if needed spreading rumors. That is why B2C campaigns turn out to be more engaging, and the audience loved it. However, the same kind of risks is not seen in the B2B space. Marketers here are more restrained and are afraid to take creative liberty thinking that the business officials may not like it. The fear of behaving unprofessionally takes a toil on their marketing skills, and they keep following the same boring marketing practices.
But that is not the way every b2B company thinks. An increasing number of companies are coming up with innovative ideas to market their products. For instance, MailChimp made use of nine fake products to run a year-long “Did You Mean?” campaign. The concept was inspired when a girl mispronounced MailChimp as MailKimp during a podcast Serial in 2014; the company used it as an advantage. In the campaign, they invented various words like MaleCrimp, SnailPrimp, MailShrimp, FailChips, KaleLimp, VeilHymn, JailBlimp, NailChamp and WhaleSynth to create wacky ads revolving them. The marketing strategy revolving around this was meant for small to midsize business clients of the company. It was a huge success and even ended up winning Cyber Grand Prix trophy at the Cannes.
MailChimp took the risk and showed that even in the B2B industry, creativity could flourish. But the success depends on how relevant the creative approach is for the audience. Even B2B marketers can come up with similar creative ideas, but they need to make sure that it resonates with their targeted customer’s choices and needs. Only then their efforts pay off and prove worthy of taking up the risk.
Tell Your Story in Different Ways
The decision-making process in an organization is not a one-person deal. This is perhaps the biggest challenge for a B2B marketer that they have to address every individual involved in the process of making purchase decisions. It’s not just the decision-makers that marketers have to impress. There are other members of the team who holds equal importance. For instance, B2B researchers in a company are the ones who may not be directly involved in the purchase process, but their opinions matter. Hence, marketers today have to create marketing campaigns keeping in mind the researchers as well. It is essential to develop marketing campaigns that are informative, appealing and flexible.
There are different levels of hierarchy within an organization. The purchase decision goes through all levels and requires the consent of every officer at each level of authority. Hence, today’s B2B marketers must know how to tell the same brand story in different ways to several buyers within the same company. A director of a company may have a different set of priorities than the VP. In that case, serving both the same plate of marketing tactics will not work at all. Depending on who your client is in a prospect company, you need to build your story in a way that matches their expectation. Unlike B2C, here the targeted audience is not the master of his/her will. B2B companies have many stakeholders and leaders whose combined decision is the final one.
Make Emotional Connections with the Customers
It’s a common belief that B2B customers are not emotionally connected to a brand as these customers are C-level executives and top officials of an organization. So, unlike B2C customers, hardly they establish bonds and relationships with a brand. What matters to them is business and profit. The saying may be partially correct, but the entire truth is different. According to statistics, much to the surprise, it has been revealed that B2B customers are more connected to service providers and vendors than consumers on an emotional level. If that is true, then it’s time that B2B marketer start focusing on building a relationship with clients.
No matter what your marketing strategy is, marketers should not forget that customers are after all humans with emotions. Brands who cater to their needs, meet their expectations and deliver what they promise are liked by both B2B and B2C customers. They start developing a sense of loyalty and trust with the brand. The impact of marketing campaigns will be double if B2B brands can make relevant, personal and trustworthy connections with business decision-makers. Every brand should have their unique selling point that defines its existence and business purpose. So, be it creating new tactics or leveraging technology, build marketing strategies that consider the client’s emotions. Your customers are not just a selling point; you can make turn them into valuable assets.