There are many issues that marketers can face in business to consumer, or B2C, marketing, but this isn't the only strand of marketing that companies need to work on. According to a new report from the CMO’s Council Content ROI Center, many businesses are lacking proper Business to Business (B2B or BtoB) marketing strategies.
When trying to find way to improve B2B marketing the report, “Better Lead Yield in the Content Marketing Field,” focused less on the strategy as a whole and more on the individual parts that make up B2B marketing, such as conversion and multi-channel communication.
The Problem with B2B Marketing
The nature of marketing varies, as these individuals not only have to reach and engage with the everyday customer, but other businesses as well. With B2B marketing taking up 25 percent of marketing budgets, these companies can't afford trial and error when it comes to its B2B approach. According to the report, many companies spend too much time concentrating on customer experience and content development before they even have a good strategy.
"BtoB buyers and influencers are turned off by self-serving, irrelevant, over-hyped and overly technical content,” said the report.“They’re migrating to peer-based communities and new sources of trusted, relevant and credible content and conversation.”
Resulting from this, many campaigns fail because marketers are unable to properly target customers, connect with them at marketing touchpoints, filter unwanted content and track engagement levels.
Know Your Business Customer
In order to build a good strategy, marketers first have to understand that the business customer isn't like the the B2C customer. For the report, 400 B2B 'content seekers' were surveyed and it was found that these customers can't be swayed by a product-based promotion, a sale or deal; they are looking for quality over quantity.
87 percent of those surveyed said are looking for content that gives an in-depth product or service analysis, as it gives the customer a better idea of who exactly they are looking to buy from -- although some content is more regarded than other kinds. Peer-generated content was the most influential with 67 percent saying they preferred professional association white papers and reports, while 50 percent liked industry group white papers and reports and 48 percent preferred customer case studies.
It’s a Multi-Channel World
As with customer marketing, businesses who are trying to connect with other businesses have to navigate a number of different channels, including social media, websites, forums, email and mobile. In order to be successful across all of these channels, marketers can’t just share news and product information, they need a precise and calculated distribution plan. Keeping in mind that content is still an important part of a successful B2B marketing campaign, when addressing the need for multi-channel communication the report says that markers should find a theme that groups all of these channels together, while also showing how visual and valuable the company is and take into consideration individual customer behavior and need.
It's no longer about putting a brochure or thought leadership piece in the mail and presenting at a conference,” said Laura Breslaw, CMO for AlixPartners. “You have to address the various audience strategies, particularly around digital, and build those into your go-to-market plan early on.”
Conversion and Conversation
Being multichannel and informative aren't the only factors that can make a B2B campaign successful; businesses also have to make sure they are turning potential customers into repeat customers.
Often, the marketing process is as follows: a business connects with a customer, engages with them and shows how useful its products are and then the customer buys an item. While each stage is important, the middle stage, or the engagement stage, can make or break a business deal, as marketers have to focus on conversion and conversation.
As can be seen from other points made in the report a B2B customer wants a sense of originality in the content that is being presented, but also something that is detailed, promotes conversation between them and the business they're buying from and is easy to understand.
Qualities that marketers should refrain from include making the document download process too complicated, using straightforward promotional tactics and releasing any kind of publication that isn't detailed and informative.
Before nurturing leads and looking at analytics data, companies have to make sure they use the right mix of B2B marketing tools and a well-rounded strategy that not only leads to a good conversation between business and customer, but also improves the customer conversion rate.
On top of all these areas that B2B marketers have to pay attention to, they also have to make note of any competitors, market conditions and technical changes, as more devices, platforms and tools are being developed everyday.
Content will become more componentized and we, as content providers, need to provide our prospective clients with the ability to aggregate content in their own way so that it’s customized exactly to their individual needs", said Jamie Mendez, vice president of IBM Marketing.
The idea behind marketing may be universal in that companies have to convert customers and maintain a steady revenue and ROI, but as audiences vary and not all customers are the same, each strategy has to be different.