Marketing is all about selling more stuff to more people, more often, for more money. Much of the marketing methods that might work for B2C products and services can completely miss the point for B2B.
In business to business you need to have a clear idea of who we’re talking to and why, how to best find and target them, and then to hone the particular messages that will resonate with them, in order to convert them into paying customers. And it’s only through gaining new customers and retaining current ones that B2B revenues can be increased.
You can gain more insight into our who are current customers are and what they want by using tools like Google Analytics on your website, or using social media analytics to review customer engagement and profiles in order to hone what you offer online and offline.
When it comes down to questions like ‘which is the best fleet car for a business?’, ‘which pipe is best for the deep water oil and gas industry?’ or ‘who can provide the best quality widgets fastest, with the lowest reject rate?’ or ‘which local boatyard can fit a new engine in my sports boat?’, then you need to focus on all the basics of good marketing and product and service messaging. Think of the questions your customers might ask when you are creating your marketing plan, which should contain these elements:
- Company vision and mission – why does your business exist and where do you want to get to in the future?
- Brand – a distinctive identity that your target clients can relate to
- USP – a unique selling point or tagline that appeals directly to your clients
- SWOT – business strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats vs. competitors
- Market understanding – analysis of the sectors you work in and customers you want to target
- Messaging – statements about what you make and provide that resonate with your target customers
- Customer personas – examples of the type of roles you want to target and what makes them tick
- Strategy – how are you best going to reach your target customers with your marketing messages?
- Campaigns – what campaigns are you going to run to engage with customers to encourage them to buy?
- Delivery – what marketing methods are you going to use to get your marketing campaign message across most cost-effectively?
So deciding on which delivery method to use to get your marketing message across comes in last, at number 10.
Think carefully about your marketing campaign delivery
Many SMEs focus on social media marketing, as it’s quick, cheap and relatively easy. Bear in mind most people spend their time using social media for browsing friends, seeing what they’re doing, taking pictures of their own life and sharing and commenting. And it’s true that people are certainly influenced by their own peers , and they’ll often be guided by their friends who recommend the best mobile or clothes for them to get on social media. The trouble is, in the B2B world, using social media as the main base of your SME marketing may not shift a lot of product off the shelves .
In B2B. no matter how many social media likes, smiley faces, comments, shares and site visitors your business gets, none of it really matters if it doesn’t directly drive your company revenue and profit. So, when it comes down to trying to get your customers to think meaningfully about your product or service, deciding what marketing mix and delivery platforms to use is critical.
So, once you’ve got your product or service messaging and campaigns sorted, then create a list of all of the campaign delivery methods you might use and rank them based on their likely success for your marketing campaign aims:
- Website, news and blogs
- Email and social media
- Television, web TV & radio
- Trade press & magazines
- Automated marketing
- Direct mail
- Public relations
- Banner advertising
- Partner programmes
- Events and conferences
- Workshops & webinars
- Customer entertainment
With all of our tech gadgets we might like to think we’re a lot more advanced now as a species, and it’s true the world now certainly seems a lot smaller and more interconnected than ever before. But we shouldn’t forget that at heart we’re still just evolved apes. We buy based on emotion and from people we’ve met and like, or that our friends like, or think we should like. Soichiro Honda, the Japanese bike and car creator, said of our all too brief existence,
‘Life is measured by the number of times your soul is deeply stirred’.
And that means that the things that make us tick are human interactions, emotions and more visceral experiences, even if we don’t like to admit it. And your marketing plan and marketing campaigns should take account of that.
People usually buy from people they respect, so if your business is not just selling online then, at some future point, make sure your clients make a positive emotional judgement about your marketing, your business and your products or services.
And remember that, often, a lot of new business ultimately comes from people who have had a recommendation to contact you, had a positive communication with you, know you or trust your products and services.
And for that, you’re going to need a cunning marketing plan….
Want to know more about how to create a marketing plan or to improve your marketing for better business growth? Contact GET Consultants.