Business to business (B2B) marketing presents challenges and opportunities that are very different to how we market in the business to consumer environment. These simple steps give some guidelines as to the area of focus for successful B2B marketing and relate best to high value and high involvement products or services.
First - what about the customer? What is different about them? B2B customers tend to be complex or rather, tend to be part of complex buying scenarios. In fact, you will often be selling to more than one person, therefore many different personalities and motivations need to be considered. Buyers tend to be more rational and it is unlikely that they will be impulsive; however, this does not mean that they aren't emotional about their purchase and so it is still important to appeal to the buyer 'personally'. Finally, B2B purchasers are far more scarce than general consumers. There simply doesn't tend to be a lot of them about and this means that in business to business marketing we can tailor and target our communications efficiently and effectively.
Below are 6 secrets marketing to businesses:
1. Sell the benefit
In all communication, the features, advantages and benefits are important. This is known as the FAB technique. The advantages that these features offer are also important but what is crucial is the benefit that this gives the customer. Focus on the customer and not on yourself and you have made a giant leap forward.
2. Communicate the value
How much are you prepared to pay for a glass of coke at an upmarket hotel as opposed to a ‘down at heel’ street stall? How can you communicate the value in your product or service? Think about your presentation, the exclusivity, your price, the evidence or endorsements that you have, and the service you offer. All of these areas can combine to communicate an increased value for your goods. Creating a unique value proposition is a good place to start. This will help you to effectively communicate with your target market in a way that will make them want to purchase from you again and again.
3. Systemisation and nurturing
Willingness to buy does not always equal your readiness to sell and this is all the more pertinent with high involvement and high value purchases. You therefore have to nurture your potential customers until they are ready to buy. Developing a continuous system of communication ‘touch points’ is essential for this. Examples include e- communications such as e-newsletters, developing industry leading white papers on subjects that your customers are interested in, running events or seminars, telephone contact, conference involvement and more.
If your focus is to attract new customers, then a lead generation strategy is paramount for achieving this goal. Systemisation of this type of lead generation is often achieved with online marketing or digital marketing with leads generated via various forms of inbound marketing such as, blogs, calls-to-action, eBooks, and email marketing. These methods allows you to gain their contact information including their name and email address and the more sophisticated methods will also gain size of company and why they need your product. The leads are then tracked and strategically guided through the sales funnel until they become a valuable customer. Your marketing specialists will be able to develop a communication programme that ensures your potential customers are being nurtured in the most effective and efficient way so that when they are ready to buy, you are top of the list.
With word of mouth and referral being a major source of genuine leads for many B2B organisations, a strong brand reputation is important for success. Strong brands have a clear vision and are consistent in their communication and visual identity. Successful brands also show that they are leaders in their category via superior industry and technical knowledge. In addition, excellent customer service is key when you consider that research shows customers will tell five people about a bad experience but only one if it was good. Consider these 8 tips to help you build a strong brand.
5. Trial and sampling
When you have a large purchase, how do you remove the risk or let people buy before they try? You need to get creative in sourcing different ways for your customers to not only engage with the brand but with your products or services. Demonstrations, events, introducing current customers to potential customers and offering to trial certain aspects of a product or service are all ways in which you can help to ‘remove the risk’ for your purchasers.
6. People buy from people
Did you know that the way you are sold to, the people that represent your product, your selling style, all directly reflects on the perception of service that a customer will receive? It sounds obvious but many organisations forget the ‘people’ aspect. While marketing owns the message people own the relationship, so don’t scrimp on either area.
If you would like to re-vamp your marketing approach, contact Fit 4 Market. We offer a wide variety of services including an audit of current marketing activity, the development of marketing strategy, marketing planning and inbound marketing.
Fit 4 Market are specialist marketing consultants operating in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth