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Five Golden Rules for B2B Marketing

Essentially, there are no rules – it should all be built by you based on your business, your clients and their needs. But by using a focused framework to build your B2B marketing and activation strategies, you can ensure you always have the most important elements front of mind in both your marketing planning and delivery.

The iResearch B2B Marketing Playbook sets out the 10 Ps for the modern B2B marketer: Pandemic, People, Purpose, Proximity, Personalization and Perspectives. We’ve simplified these even further with five focused ‘Golden Rules’ to set your B2B marketing strategy.

1. The Customer is Always Number One

Put the customer first

How you market your business and offering should be built around your client as the number one consideration. In that respect, it’s no different to B2C.

What does your end customer need and want?

How do they behave and interact with the brands that they purchase from?

Then you can bring in the services, products and solutions you offer in the context of those needs and ways of engaging.

This may sound over simplified, but it’s a strong start and a solid foundation to build from.

2. Know Your Customer

Understand your customer and their environment

There are fantastic marketing automation and CRM tools to ensure you can map your customer journey, personalize communications and experiences and segment audiences effectively.

There are technologies available to make social listening easier and more targeted to your business personas and specific client segments, industry sectors and areas of expertise.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to marketing technology and its uses. However, it is meaningless if you don’t gather the right data and use it in a way that supports your marketing strategy, processes, and ultimately, your customer relationships.

It’s easy to get carried away with wanting to use all the exciting new martech and even to automate as much as possible. Beware system overload, data silos and building an unwieldy marketing technology stack that doesn’t support or talk to other systems you have in play.

Be clear on what is helpful to automate and what requires the human touch – this is even more important in B2B marketing now than ever, as the lines between the office and home have blurred during the pandemic and ways of working and engaging continue to evolve in response to global events.

3. Make Yourself Valuable

Live your own values

Your business was built on something: a customer need, a gap in the market, a desire for change – in your community, marketplace or environment at large.

Make sure this is embedded in your business and that your values are genuine. Live and work by those values. It’s not difficult – if anything, being inauthentic and coming up with arbitrary ‘values’ is far more taxing and a waste of time.

Equally, don’t publicize every little ‘good’ thing you’re doing with great fanfare, or just for the sake of it. It’s no good if it doesn’t relate to action and meaningless if it’s not rooted in reality.

Brand awareness is critical in today’s B2B marketing strategy. But this starts with genuine understanding of the customer, industry and wider environment, rather than specific technical knowledge or individual initiatives.

4. Offer Insight and Advice

Provide insight and educational tools to help your client make decisions

Gather industry and customer insight through primary and secondary research, pulse surveys, and taking the temperature of the marketplace through social media.

Secondary research gives you the opportunity to look at what others are saying in your client markets and chosen fields as well as finding existing research to back up your points, offer resource and educational materials.

Primary research puts you at the heart of the client’s challenges and direct access to their voices and opinions – so you can see and understand what matters to them and is happening in the industry.

From carefully targeted and tailored research, you can create meaningful content and resources for your clients, which not only resonate with their own experiences, but demonstrate your understanding and knowledge of those, helping you build and sustain a relationship through thought leadership. Research-led thought leadership is also an important way to grow your B2B business and its profitability.

5. Communicate and Connect with Your Community

Know and support your marketplace and wider community – and demonstrate it

Consider how sustainable your business is and how you can become more sustainable – what are the steps needed to be a better ally to the environment, society and different communities, including your immediate industry and business community? How can you give without taking?

What special skills, knowledge and insight do you have within your organization that can support your clients and wider community?

If you can help others through your offering and actions, this also builds trust and credibility for you and your business.

Communicating in the right way and with an appropriate tone is also part of this puzzle. Offering support and understanding in difficult times rather than trying to sell products and services to people. Do the challenges your clients face change with ongoing events? If so, can you adapt your services and ways of communicating those solutions accordingly?

Don’t just boast about your achievements and actions. Look at the wider impact and implications and consider how this aligns with your vision, values and customer base.

Find out how your clients like you to communicate with them and the ways they find easiest and most enjoyable to engage, then build relationships through communicating in that way.

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