During times of crisis, people choose brands they know and trust. Covid-19 brings an opportunity for businesses to build stronger, more meaningful relationships, highlighting the need for genuine human connection, in life and in business. Being human: it’s what connects us.
B2B is increasingly consumer-led, with the importance of online channels and brands looking to engage with customers as human beings, not purchasing personas.
Online interactions shape experiences for the B2B audience and can make or break the sale and even the business. They can also create long term relationships and powerful advocates.
What makes your offering unique? Subject matter expertise? Business relationships and partnerships? These are driven by people, not technology or processes. Differentiate through your people and relationships.
Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) should be part of your vision, values and purpose. Think beyond Corporate Social Responsibility to the wider social and environmental impact of your marketing, business, services, and products.
How can you create community when face to face is no longer an option? Companies that innovate online and resonate with audiences on a deeper, more authentic level stand out and build trust.
It’s not enough for Marketing, Sales, or specific business department heads to be the only ones who know existing and potential customers – it needs to come from the top.
Ask questions, get their perspectives, find pain points. What issues keep them awake at night? Can you make their life easier by offering insights and solutions to specific issues, or for potential scenarios?
Put yourself in their shoes
Make it relevant, timely, and unique to your audience. It’s common sense for the customer journey to be simple and intuitive, but often overlooked in B2B marketing.
Signpost support channels, resources, useful content and tools: make sure they know you provide what they need. Personalize your content and interactions – from awareness to advocacy.
See the bigger picture as well as being able to dive into their business and lifestyle drivers – increasingly the two are merging. The most effective way is through targeted research to take the temperature of your clients’ and potential challenges and opportunities and test hypotheses with the people at the heart of that sector.
Don’t be afraid to have a point of view. It’s important to have a clear voice on issues that matter to build trust and credibility. Do your research: get industry, sector and role insights from customers and their peers. Act on it.
Have an informed opinion
Having clear viewpoints and ideas about key topics or industry sectors set the scene for thought leadership. When this is insight-led , you have a powerful tool to appeal to your target audience and showcase your business’s knowledge. What might they be able to do differently as an individual and as a business, when armed with quality insights into burning issues?
7. Pain relief
Marketers need to know and understand their clients’ business sector, company, roles and be aware of challenges at each level, pinpointing opportunities and suggesting solutions.
B2B research is vital in gathering genuine industry insight and opinion to shape views and strategies. How can you create valuable content if you haven’t researched the topic in any depth, or if you are unable to demonstrate perspectives and points of view from within that industry? To make an impact, you need to tell engaging, truthful stories, supported by evidence.
Short, medium- and long-term planning needs to be more adaptive and agile. When the global situation changes daily, you need to be ready to respond in a considered and properly resourced approach, not just react to constant change and uncertainty.
It’s not enough to have a Plan A and B, you need to be able to anticipate outcomes and address them in the planning process.
Simplified processes made more efficient through technology, data and insight reclaim time for the agile B2B marketer. Consider marketing automation and better online communications channels to keep business moving cross-border and remotely. Use technology to understand the purchase process, creating content and communications at each stage.
Zoom fatigue is real
It doesn’t all have to be online. Think about how you can stand out from the ‘noise’. 87% of studies show reading comprehension and performance improve when print materials are used instead of screens. More important now than ever?
Ensuring integration on and offline with campaigns across multiple channels enables easier dissemination of insight and reduces over-reliance on any one channel.
Agility is vital in times of uncertainty and moving goal posts
The pandemic and political change necessitate pivoting with purpose. Trying and testing something new and different should be every B2B marketer’s approach, whether in tech development, processes, or the marketing mix.
Measuring progress, engagement and return on investment is crucial to B2B marketing success. Benchmark across the business, with different customer groups and against both direct and indirect competitors. Then adapt accordingly.
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