B2B marketing is unique and requires a different mindset and strategy than any other kind of marketing. B2B, or business-to-business, marketing focuses on convincing decision-makers in other businesses to buy your product.
Because this marketing strategy needs to appeal to a group of decision-makers instead of one single consumer, a lot of B2C, or business-to-consumer, marketing strategies get thrown out the window.
Compared to marketing trends for selling to individual consumers today, decision-makers tend to focus less on a company’s brand or an emotional connection and focus more on the value and logical purpose of a product.
If you want your B2B marketing campaign to stay fresh, consider implementing some of these trends that we’re seeing in 2019:
1.Education Over Promotion
More than ever, people don’t want to feel like they’re getting a sales pitch. If a customer feels that your bottom line is landing a sale, they’ll feel that you are not prioritizing their needs and that you don’t really have their best interests at heart.
To combat this effect, focus content more on educating your audience on a solution to a problem that they are likely to face. 90% of successful organizations prioritize their audience’s informational needs over their own promotional message.
When you put education over promotion, you show your audience that you care about them and that you are a reputable source for information on future problems as well.
2. Tailor Content to the Audience’s Journey
To create the precise content that your audience needs, it’s important to consider their journey. They’re probably starting with a problem. What are the common problems in this industry? What products can solve this problem? What solutions work with which budget? What future problems may they face?
According to Digital Authority Partners, the most successful businesses are those that create content that fits their mission while also meeting the needs of the audience.
Creating content that addresses each of these issues will keep potential customers coming back to you through every stage of the problem-solving process. It tells them that you understand their problems and their industry, and it sends the message that your business is here for them.
3. Write Down a Clear Strategy
This sounds like a small thing, but it’s actually one of the best things that you can do for your marketing strategy. Just getting goals down on paper and hashing out some ideas about how to achieve them will get you a lot further than “just figuring it out as you go.”
65% of successful companies say they have a strategy down on paper. When you take the time to document your strategy, you get a more full picture of what needs to happen to achieve success, and it becomes much easier to communicate those needs with your team.
Having a clear strategy that you can come back to and refer to throughout the process will keep your marketing strategy focused and on-track.
4. Be Decisive and Opinionated
Customers are more educated than ever, and they don’t want page after page of generic content that all says the same thing. By creating content that’s inoffensive and bland, you aren’t doing yourself any favors. This will only make you blend into the crowd.
With the amount of online content immediately available to your audience, you have to stand out and have a valuable opinion. Don’t be afraid to turn a few people off with your decisiveness, because it may be the thing that differentiates you from the competition according to Forbes.
Of course, it takes a lot of awareness and knowledge of your audience to execute this well, so do your research first.
5. Focus on Product Not Brand
This point is somewhat in opposition to what you do for B2C marketing. While a good product is important to everyone, brand plays a less important role in B2B marketing than B2C.
When you market to other businesses, it’s likely that a team of people is involved in deciding which company they will purchase from. In those situations, discussions about brand image are not going to be nearly as important as discussions about features, needs, and budgets.
The best thing that you can do to market to this team of decision-makers is to give them information that they will want to talk about.
6. Take Advantage of Podcast Popularity
Diversifying the kind of content you create is always a great idea, and podcasts are a good place to start. Podcasts are becoming more and more popular in recent years. Last year, 73 million people in the U.S. were listening to podcasts.
Podcasts allow you to take time to really dig into the minute details of your products, your industry, and potential problems that customers may encounter. They are a low-cost way to engage with your audience and create new content.
7. Use Influencers Differently
Influencers have become a valuable resource for both B2C and B2B marketing strategies. The way they are used for B2B marketing should be different than how they are used elsewhere.
B2C marketing teams may use influencers to sell a lifestyle. They hire fashion influencers or celebrities to sell beauty items, meal prep kits, or whatever the latest trendy item is. These influencers aren’t necessarily experts in the industries of the items that they’re selling. But, they’re still effective because their audience views them as lifestyle role models.
For B2B marketing, lifestyle doesn’t matter. The priority is to find experts in your field and use them as influencers so that you can use their credibility within the industry as a tool for your own marketing campaign.
Influencers increase your audience reach, build brand recognition, and create authority for your company. Find out who your audience respects and listens to for advice in your industry. Ask these influencers to review your product and share their findings with their audience.
Marketing strategy needs to be revised regularly to stay relevant. New trends emerge every year to change the way that businesses communicate with their audience. Make sure to document your brand strategy and revisit it at least once a year to incorporate new trends and innovations.