Business-to-business (B2B) marketing has evolved from simply having product collaterals/brochures to having a ‘story’ to tell. B2B marketers face different strategic challenges and need the help of marcom professionals to think big, understand the macro business of the company, the key stakeholders involved and the best medium to communicate with them. B2B Marketers need to see their job as not just growing the brand but growing the business, which will get them a place amongst the CXO community.
The thumb rule for any B2C marketer joining the B2B marketing fraternity is to do away with the traditional mode and explore creative ways of marketing. Here is a suggested marketing communications strategy for B2B companies:
1. Increasing focus on Content Marketing: I am sure most of us have been hearing about Content being the new creative for B2B marketing, companies have been creating compelling and engaging content to connect with their target audience. The Content Marketing Institute released a report recently comparing content marketing strategies to previous years: “73% of B2B content marketers are producing more content than they did one year ago” – and their confidence is increasing.
Sharing the content across appropriate media is extremely important to reach out to all the stakeholders involved:
- Share content via your Newsletters: Sharing interesting and relevant content such industry news, technological innovations, some tips and tricks of the trade with your partners, vendors, employees, customers etc. will get them interested in your company
- E-Mailers: No, I am not referring to the good’ol product specific email blasts which were shared with customers. These e-mailers can be generic based on observation days such as ‘World Environment Day’/’World Heart Day’ etc, another way to engage with your customers could be by giving them exclusive offers on product/services offered by the company. E-mailers go a long way in strengthening your relationship with the customer.
- Share all news articles on your website, post it on the intranet /internal newsletter and share it across all social media platforms. In fact you could also provide the hard copies of the news articles to the sales teams so that they can showcase the successful performance of your products/services. Showcase the press articles at your next exhibition
- Prepare case studies of all thought leadership articles which can be used on the website
2. B2B Marketers are enthused about social media
B2B companies have been slow in adopting social media in their marketing mix. However, with the increasing number of consumers looking up for product reviews online and searching for videos of how to use them and where to purchase them, B2B companies have started to design programs that validate the medium as a valuable business tool to increase performance and productivity.
One of the interesting articles on how B2B companies have been exploring social media is this one: http://www.forbes.com/sites/louiscolumbus/2013/01/17/b2b-marketers-need-to-get-real-about-social-media-and-customer-engagement/
3. Engagement on customized platforms
Using Webinars/Virtual Events:
Starting a series of webinars on industry topics and the challenges that would drive prospects to the company’s products and solutions is an important tool for lead generation as well as driving the sales funnel.
Consumer are increasingly expecting their experience with technology in the workplace to be as simple, fun, and engaging as their experience with technology in their personal lives.
Mobile is now ‘the primary screen’ for consuming news, communicating with people, for entertainment and more. The mobile revolution will have a huge impact on consumer behavior, including B2B buyers. Companies in the B2B space are exploring fun and engaging mobile applications as well as games. The growing dependence on mobile will make the need for mobile friendly websites, email and content absolutely important.
And as they say B2B and B2C no longer exists, all that matters is P2P – People-to-People Marketing
The above mentioned are just few communication strategies, any other strategies that a B2B company can explore? Please do share your valuable insights in the comments section below.
The author is Richa Seth, B2B Communications expert at Adfactors B2B