It is often said that B2B marketing is the less sophisticated brother of B2C marketing. Perhaps this comes from the temptation some have to compare the two, and these comparisons often just focus on the difference in the speed of making a sale.
Simply put, there are just more people involved in the procurement process.
Within the client side of the marketing industry B2C and B2B marketing are commonly treated as distinct disciplines with the latter often seen as the less nuanced side. Maybe this was true once, but with the rapid expansion of technology this has been far from the case for some time.
These days the figurative marketing tool box is the same for both disciplines but the application of these tools varies.
What’s unique about marketing B2B?
Account Based Marketing for one. It is common in many organisations selling products and services B2B to adopt a collaborative strategy that engages executives, sales, marketing, subject matter experts and delivery professionals with a chosen client account to determine where and how to best meet the client’s business challenges. With deep insight into the client’s business and key goals, this collaborative team creates a well-orchestrated marketing and sales campaign for a single account.
Account Based Marketing needs to be complimented by effective Customer Intelligence activity in order to yield the best results. This in practice can be difficult to structure and co-ordinate as in involves combining the account level (business information), lead level information about the people a business actually sells to with data science in order to answer the big questions, such as:
- Who will my next customer be and what will they buy?
- How can I find more customers like my best ones?
- What do I need to do to convert them?
- Which customers are likely to leave, what should we do to keep them and how much should we spend on them?
Incorporating modern Customer Intelligence practices into the Marketing activity of firms selling B2B is perhaps the greatest opportunity to improve the impact of their Marketing activity which exists today.
What trends are we seeing emerge in B2B marketing?
Data has always been important in marketing, but with the rise of marketing automation and the ability for all organisations, no matter their size, to record and interrogate data, we will see data driven marketing rocket within the B2B space over the next few years due to its ability to catalyse Customer Intelligence activity. Sophisticated databases and segmented marketing strategies are no longer the preserve of the big firms, all businesses no matter their size can now reap their rewards.
Google any product and/or service and you will be confronted with vast amounts of information, so much information it is difficult to know where to begin. That’s why clients and prospective clients are looking for authoritative and authentic sources of information, a fact successful companies are capitalising on through a crafted Thought Leadership strategy. This is more than just running a blog or social feeds. It’s about curating, creating and promoting the business with the goal of establishing them as the pre-eminent authentic authority in their area of specialism.
It’s not that new, Google has been serving adverts to site visitors on it’s display network for years. What is new, is the rise of this on social networks with: Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook all launching targeting options. The importance of Linkedin and Twitter is well established in the B2B space, so the ability to promote content to target audiences on these networks is of huge importance to B2B marketing.
With the ever-growing sophistication of B2B Marketing the greatest challenge facing companies of all sizes will be evolving their sales and Marketing process to accommodate all these
If you would like help developing your B2B marketing activity, talk with us.