Sirius Decisions says that 67% of the buyer’s journey is now done digitally. That means if you’re a B2B business owner or CEO, your prospects are searching out answers to their questions. If your B2B digital marketing strategies don’t answer your prospects’ questions, you are likely losing opportunities and business to your competitors.
Leaders of the best business-to-business (B2B) companies experiencing growth know that B2B digital marketing is a critical element of their success.
What is B2B marketing?
The most common definition of B2B marketing is marketing geared toward a business or organization. The problem with that definition is companies don’t make decisions, and they don’t respond to great marketing. People do. Even in B2B marketing, you must remember that while your solutions or products might help solve business problems, it’s still people that buy from you. A better definition of B2B marketing is marketing geared toward decision-makers (people) trying to solve problems in their business.
Think about your favorite ad for a moment. One that you’ve said to your wife, kids, or friends, “I love this commercial. It’s hilarious.” Did you suddenly become a different person when you walked into your office? No. Then why do so many business owners think people lose the ability to feel and connect emotionally in the B2B world?
Even when we are working on B2B marketing campaigns, we cannot forget that we are talking to people just like us and guess what – buying decisions are emotional. Your customers rationalize them and intellectualize decisions, but they make an emotional decision when choosing you over your competitors.
What are the four types of B2B markets?
At MediaFuel, we’ve worked with four types of B2B markets, including:
- Manufacturers providing products to support other businesses. Examples of companies in this market include: pool manufacturers, tool and die makers, industrial freezers and HVAC producers, steel manufacturers, or original equipment manufacturer suppliers.
- Software as a Service (SaaS) companies provide software through the cloud for a monthly fee. Typically, these businesses provide critical infrastructure in the form of software that helps make other companies successful.
- Professional Service Providers / Resellers often provide consultative services such as I.T., legal support, marketing strategy, and sometimes resell software or hardware to support other businesses. Not all professional service providers are resellers, and not all resellers are professional service providers.
- Not-for-profits typically have more than one key stakeholder to consider, including sponsors, donors, volunteers, and beneficiaries that the organization serves. In these cases, you have to consider each of the prospects and ensure you are using a combination of b2b digital marketing and sales strategies to grow the organization.
What are some common issues C-Level executives and business owners express about B2B marketing?
Evaluating the type of B2B marketing strategies that will yield the highest results can be a bit tricky. Unfortunately, this can lead C-level executives or business owners of B2B companies to think that B2B digital marketing isn’t right for them. These statements probably don’t sound like you, but here are a few things we hear from clients that we’ve helped create successful B2B marketing.
- “I’m worried I’m never going to see a path to return on investment.”
- “I am confused whether our marketing efforts are working. Our agency says they are, but we can’t tie the efforts to sales. I just don’t know if we’re wasting time and money.”
- “We’re uncertain we’re creating the right perceptions with our prospects. We’re not getting the right kind of customers.”
- “We’re frustrated that our prospects can name our competitors but don’t seem to know about us.”
- “We’re discouraged with the content that is being produced to attract new customers. It doesn’t seem to move them to act.”
Like I said these statements probably don’t pertain to you, but if they do, you’re not alone. The good news is each of them can be overcome with the right B2B digital marketing strategy. Strategy is all about making a series of choices. The first choice you must make is being determined to know your prospective customers and why they buy your products, services or support your organization’s cause. Know yourself, know your customers, and know the position your competitors are trying to own in the mind of your customers.
What are some innovative B2B marketing strategies that can help you distinguish your business or organization from competitors?
Years ago, Marshall McLuhan said, “the medium is the message.” Often business services and products are not uniquely distinguished, but instead, we distinguish them through communication. An innovative way to distinguish your organization is through live video broadcasts that deliver the quality of a major news broadcast or NFL pre-show or post-show game. Virtual studios and sets using Unreal Engine and 3-D brainstorm are now accessible which can give you a leg up on your competitors using Zoom, WebEx, or another meeting tool to broadcast.
We all know the best lead we can get is a referral from an existing customer. Another innovative strategy for B2B marketers is to leverage what your current customers are saying about you and use it to get more customers like them. We call it Prospect2Promoter. You can call it more qualified leads to help you grow your business.
What are the best B2B digital marketing strategies in 2021?
If you haven’t realized it yet, you need to know that marketing works best when it is done consistently. The best marketing strategy is to have a strategy and not focus on tactics. Yes, tactics are a part of the strategy, however you should not start there. The best B2B marketing strategies begin with your customers and what you know about them. Do you understand their motivations for purchasing your products or services? What are your competitors trying to get customers to believe? Do you know their search habits?
The most common question we get from business owners is what kind of return on investment can I expect? With marketing, there is no one-size-fits-all guaranteed return. The only businesses getting guaranteed returns are lenders. There is never a shortage of ideas for what can be done in marketing; the key is identifying the best few ideas that are most likely to yield the highest return. What you need is a disciplined, consistent, and reliable approach to B2B digital marketing to get results.
Some of the best strategies we’ve seen include a combination of search engine and paid outreach alongside a very targeted account-based marketing program. Each client is unique. There are distinguishing reasons your customers purchase your products or services. Your B2B marketing efforts should reflect those reasons. Build it around your existing customers, and you will attract more like them.