The marketing and digital landscape continues to evolve and every business needs to keep up with the changes. Otherwise, you run the risk of falling behind in the competition and it does not matter if you are in the B2C or B2B business, only if you are constantly optimizing you will stay in the race.
Unfortunately, B2B marketing is not as easy as B2C marketing. Not only are their sales cycles longer and more complicated, but it's also quite difficult to gain the trust of decision-makers. In most cases, several people are involved in the buying center and throughout the process.
What is B2B Marketing?
Business to Business (B2B) describes the relationship between two or more companies. B2B Marketing is concerned with how these relationships can be made as profitable as possible through the right strategies.
In plain language, it means that companies whose target customers are other companies, with appropriate marketing measures, trying to win them as a customer. The counterpart to this would be the business-to-customer area (B2C). In this division, products and services are sold to end customers/consumers.
The two divisions have fundamental differences in marketing, sales, pricing and product psychology. For Example: Marketing a pack of milk in the supermarket for € 1.25 works differently than marketing for a € 100,000 IT project.
B2B Marketing strategies
Nonetheless, you can convince your target audience with a trick - be it personal or humane - and there are a variety of ways that can help. Here are seven tactics that can improve your B2B marketing strategies and push your sales to funnel.
- Live videos and webinars – Time and again studies (e.g. this one from Livestream) show that 80% of people prefer to watch a live video instead of reading blog posts from advertisers. The same study also found that 82% of people prefer live video compared to social media posts. And indeed, those who are open-minded in their B2B marketing environment will find that videos and webinars have become an integral part of marketing.
Videos are a great way to communicate emotions, so they can be better associated with a brand by the viewer. And not only that, when you convey marketing messages through visual information, they can also be better received and remembered. Therefore, videos and webinars should be an integral part of your B2B marketing strategies. If you already use videos, you can optimize your strategy with live videos. According to Facebook, live videos are seen 3x more and receive 10x more comments than regular videos.
- Storytelling – The aim of marketing is to place your marketing message among your target groups. Although B2B marketing is about selling investment goods to companies, you are essentially selling to people. And so you have to find a way to get in touch with these people in person.
Storytelling is a tactic used successfully by many brands to build stronger personal relationships with their audience. The idea is to tell a story (marketing message) so that the target group can identify with the sender (brand) as a human. The goal is to show that real people are behind your brand. People who are working to make the lives of others - your target group - better.
This becomes even more important if you are trying to reach a target group that consists of so-called millennial - and this cohort is currently taking on more and more decision-making functions. A millennial is a difficult group. A study by Accenture revealed that millennial need an emotional connection before they really favor a brand.
- Referral marketing by employees – Who knows you and your products best? Of course, your employees. So, if you can get your employees to spread positive messages about your brand, it can really be beneficial. Create a staff referral program and get your employees to spread their marketing messages on social networks. Make it so motivating and easy for employees to share the messages. You could even reward particularly diligent employees with special incentives.
One company that has successfully engaged with employee referral marketing is IBM. Employees are provided with marketing content. And everyone involved is encouraged to share and disseminate the messages.
- Influencer Marketing – Believe it or not, influencers can be a great addition to your B2B marketing mix. Because influencers are the best representatives to build trust with your target customers. Customers and prospects need to know that your product or service really works. You have to be sure that your investment is economical and effective. So, if an influencer well-known in your market segment talks or recommends you, you're considered credible and trusted by his followers.
Here's an example of how LinkedIn uses Influencer Marketing to promote its corporate marketing solutions. “The Sophisticated Marketers Guide for Linkedin is a marketing content created by LinkedIn in collaboration with ten industry experts. These experts belong to different areas of digital and social media marketing. In each chapter of this guide, an expert describes his experiences with LinkedIn solutions. In addition, some questions from the target group are answered. This marketing content is not only valuable in terms of content but also gives credibility to LinkedIn's solutions.
- Marketing content for mobile platforms – In 2018, 50.3% of global web traffic was generated from mobile devices. This shows that if you do not focus on creating mobile-friendly content, you will not reach a large proportion of your audience adequately. Most B2B decision-makers are always on the go and are rarely at their desk for long periods of time, so mobile (cell phones, tablets, etc.) is the channel through which they mostly consume marketing content.
For a successful B2B marketing strategy, you must ensure that all your content and websites are mobile-friendly. In particular, the content must be easy to read and buttons and links must be highlighted. With tools like Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test, you can check if your page is mobile-friendly or not.
- Customer Testimonials and Case Studies – According to a study on B2B brands, referral marketing is known to affect the buying decisions of 91% of buyers. The same study found that 62% of B2B marketers cite customer reviews as their key marketing strategy. When it comes to updating your B2B marketing strategies, you should consider case studies or customer references. Customer reviews are extremely credible as your current customers can rate your products first-hand.
Using case studies or customer references is not only effective but also cost-effective. So this content is very well suited to be published on all other social channels.
- Data and Automation – Data and marketing automation are other ways to optimize your B2B marketing strategies. For example, what if you could automatically list many of your web page visitors who did not contact you? Not just with features such as location or demographics, but also with names and contact details? Admittedly, this is not easy in Germany and against the background of the GDPR. But you can certainly imagine that such information would be a gold mine for your sales team. Since they are people who have visited your site, there is a chance that they are actually interested in your offers. That means warmer leads instead of cold ones. Platforms, which are able to analyze your web page traffic and load it via the IP addresses of the visitors with further data can help. Please do not forget to get the permission of the visitors for this form of data processing in time.
There is something basic about any marketing strategy that is the need to know your target audience well. This comes in the form of communicating with him and even in choosing the means for it. So you can't make the mistake of conducting actions without considering that, on the other hand, you will also be a company and not an individual customer. Your needs are different, as are the criteria you take into account in the decision-making process. As you saw in this article, there are a number of variables you need to consider to tailor your campaigns to this audience. Now that you have the information you need, do research on your market and use that knowledge for your business. And when it comes to capturing leads, be sure to count on click pages and their successful landing pages.