Marketing for a B2B company requires a higher degree of savvy than doing so for a more general audience. Business owners are smart, and they don’t have much time to spend on reviewing materials. Therefore, it’s critical to reach out to them through a variety of means and mediums to allow them to locate and evaluate your services and products at a time convenient for them.
Those who work in the industry must update their own knowledge constantly and master current trends in B2B marketing. With the advent of electronic communication, this proves easier to do. Here are seven trends to learn and perfect to take your B2B marketing efforts to new heights.
1. Show Me the Content
Content marketers, in general, have grown better at writing for an audience versus writing to sell. This is particularly critical when dealing with B2B marketing. Business leaders have seen almost everything when it comes to creative pitches, and when they’re searching for solutions, they want solid, well-written information, not hyperbole.
Surprisingly, though, only a minority of content marketers have conversations with customers. About 42 percent of marketers report communicating with customers as part of their audience research, while 74 percent rely upon feedback from their own sales teams. This represents a huge growth area for those willing to reach out to their customer base to ask them what information they seek and find useful.
2. Going Beyond Email Marketing
For years, marketers focused heavily upon email marketing campaigns, and understandably so, considering the relative cost-effectiveness of the practice. However, many busy executives bulk-delete their email if they handle their own correspondence at all. How can B2B marketers get them to open their carefully drafted pieces?
Experts generally recommend improving the subject line, personally greeting clients by name and writing engaging content. All this helps, but only the first approach partially answers the question of how to get targeted persons to open the message in the first place. One innovation marketers can use is combining text and email marketing.
While emails often get bulk-deleted, 90 percent of text messages are opened within five minutes of receipt. Like email marketing, users must opt in to the text list, but once they do, texting a call to action — such as checking the free informational report you’ve emailed them — no more than once or twice weekly can increase read rate.
3. Utilizing Intent Data
Intent data refers to information about which clients and accounts are researching solutions actively online. This is a powerful tool, as it allows sales teams to reach out when clients are ready to make a purchase and tailor the perfect package to suit their unique needs. Not only can such information provide insight into which accounts to pursue most aggressively, but it also shows how qualified they are to buy certain bundles.
Two types of intent data exist. Both work through tracking IP addresses and browser cookies. First-party intent data comes from monitoring your own website traffic, while third-party intent data reviews sites such as Forbes.
4. Engaging All the Senses
Marketers have long used podcasts, as these provide an audio and visual component to content. Most have overcome shyness of being on screen or at least having their voices heard on webinars. What about the senses of touch, smell and taste, though?
Food service companies, for example, can use scent marketing to create a signature fragrance that sets their products apart. These can help restaurateurs grow their businesses by increasing foot traffic — who hasn’t walked past a bakery emanating a heavenly scent and immediately popped in for a spontaneous bite?
Marketers for companies that provide products to businesses know how to use samples to engage the senses. If your firm designs office furniture, for example, it can allow select corporate individuals to try a new adjustable-height desk for a week or two. This can help them develop a tactile sense of how having the option to either sit or stand at their desk increases their comfort and productivity levels.
5. Better Attention to Security
One reason business owners and decision-makers are less likely to open email or surf insecure websites is because phishing schemes and hackers cost billions annually. Midsized firms that suffer attacks lose an average of $1.6 million per episode. Unsurprisingly, a majority of firms surveyed indicated they immediately cease conducting business with the supplier responsible for the attack — not something your firm wants to earn a reputation for doing.
Invest in education for your team to raise awareness of the gravity phishing attacks can have for your marketing efforts. Use the best tools — when it comes to internet security, it is far better to spend a little up front than watch your profits plummet if your firm is suspect in a rash of attacks.
6. Emphasis on Branding
Brand reputation proves even more critical in B2B marketing. Entrepreneurs and business leaders prefer to deal with entities that have a reputation for trustworthiness. Research shows 50 percent of purchase decisions arise from word-of-mouth advertising, and this figure may prove higher among firms that work solely with other organizations.
Due to the rise of the internet, it’s impossible to prevent all negative online commentary. However, you should utilize tools to monitor your internet reputation. One bad apple may not spoil the pot, but nipping deliberate attacks from damaging your brand reputation is critical.
7. Harnessing Influencers
Networking with influencers, those considered experts in the industry, remains critical to B2B marketing. These individuals prove invaluable when it comes to helping lead others to your brand. By building positive press, they make your job of fostering loyalty easier.
To foster your influencer network, reach out to those who inspired you on the path of success and thank them, even if you’ve never spoken in person. Ask those you’d like to recommend your services what you can do for them — when you contribute to others, they’re more likely to scratch your back in return. Always express gratitude when one of the influencers in your network gives you a glowing mention.
Taking B2B Marketing to New Heights
Marketing is an ever-evolving art and science. By keeping on top of current trends, savvy marketers can harness the best ideas of others and modify them to suit their needs. Implementing the tips above can help your firm’s profits soar.