Business-to-Business, or B2B, marketing is crucial to those who sell products to businesses. Whether you run a business who prints business cards or a company that sells complex business intelligence software, your B2B marketing strategy is key to meeting the bottom line.

Historically, B2B marketing looked different from marketing other kinds of products. Trade shows, cold calling, conferences and relationships with C-suite executives were the primary way to get your foot in the door.

Yet, as nearly every facet of consumer marketing has changed in the past two decades, B2B marketing has evolved as well.

The B2B customer journey is now longer and more intricate than ever before. Nearly 50% of buyers take at least three months to research before reaching out to a vendor and close to 70% of the buyer’s journey is completed before a prospect ever reaches out to sales.. They are also more likely to collaborate across the company in researching purchasing decisions.

The B2B customer journey now involves more stakeholders and requires a more thoughtful approach from marketers.

Understanding Today’s B2B Audience

Today’s B2B marketplace involves a multitude of stakeholders. While the c-suite and higher-level management may be the final decision maker, there are more, lower-level stakeholders involved in researching products. Buyers often coordinate with IT, finance, sales, human resources and other departments – all before they reach out to you, the vendor.

These lower-level stakeholders often fall in a younger demographic than high-level management. This means that many of the people researching your B2B product or service are millennials or maybe even Gen Z.

These younger demographics bring consumer buying habits to the B2B marketplace. Modern B2B marketing looks more like a higher-level version of consumer marketing. It is therefore important to bring some consumer marketing strategies to the table.

Key B2B Marketing Strategies: Grabbing the Buyer’s Attention

The first step to any marketing strategy is awareness. You need to grab the attention of potential buyers. To do this, implement the strategies many consumer products use.

Digital display ads, pre-roll video ads, and search engine marketing are all great steps to grab the attention of your target audience. Traditional marketing tactics, like taking out an ad in an industry magazine or sponsoring an industry podcast, can also be quite advantageous.

Key B2B Marketing Strategies: Thoughtful Content Marketing

Once you’ve captured your audience’s attention, now’s your chance to tell them about your product.

In today’s B2B climate, buyers often pass through 80% of the purchasing process before they make contact. This means that higher-level marketing tactics are of the utmost importance. Thought leadership, whitepapers, reports and product comparison pages are all great first steps.

In your content marketing, you need to differentiate your product from the others. What makes you special? Why should the business to which you’re marketing choose you?

Present potential buyers with the facts. Don’t try to sugarcoat your product. Younger audiences greatly value authenticity.

If you’re comparing your product with a competitor, don’t leave off the areas in which the competitor outranks you. Have confidence in the product you’re selling and earn the consumer’s trust.

Key B2B Marketing Strategies: Personalization

Once a potential buyer has interacted with your product, the next step is personalization.

Personalization is currently a buzzword in marketing circles. It simply means taking advantage of available technology to draw potential buyers into the next step of the marketing funnel.

Through the use of cookies and adaptive website engines, you can personalize your website and your marketing to the wants and needs of each returning visitor. If someone has viewed a product, you can automatically display more information about said product upon their return to the site and optimize their research experience.

Another personalization tactic is retargeting ads. Once a potential buyer has interacted with a product, draw them deeper into the funnel with paid advertisements that strategically implore them to learn more or make contact.

A final personalization tactic that has become quite popular is the chat bot. This software utilizes AI to answer questions about your product and can serve as an initial line of communication with customers.

The Final Step: Converting the Purchase

Once you’ve captivated your target audience, taught them about your product and moved them through the marketing funnel with personalization, it’s time for the final step: conversion.

Conversion is the step that B2B vendors know all about. Build a relationship and sell your product.

Looking for help with B2B marketing?

The evolution of B2B marketing can be intimidating. Working alongside experts like the B2B marketing team at MHP/Team SI can take much of the unknown out of the process.

Our team can help you at any stage of your marketing journey. Whether you need help with formulating a strategy, executing a single stage of your marketing plan or running a full-scale B2B campaign, our team is ready to help.

Fill out the form to get in touch with us and to get started on the B2B marketing journey!

Author

Whitney Burgess