B2B marketers can learn a lot from their B2C colleagues. It starts with thinking of your customers as people, not companies, and your B2B brand as a multi-faceted company that provides value in multiple ways. Too often B2B brands are represented as bland, business-only entities, which is not just deflating for the company but ultimately leads to one-dimensional representations of the brand. Once B2B marketers get past that common mistake, everything gets better: the content improves and becomes more entertaining, you’re reaching out to people, not companies, and there’s room for being clever, fun and memorable.
B2C marketers create brands that customers want to be connected to because they have great products, great experiences or stand for something they care about. If B2B companies thought of themselves and what they do this way, their sales and marketing outreach would connect and pay dividends when it comes time for that customer to buy. Ultimately, any purchasing decision will rest on the facts, but the initial impression B2B sales people make should come from the heart, not from an excel spreadsheet. Facts can be added to the mix after the initial emotional connection has happened.
The best B2C marketing avoids robo-calling and e-blasting “are you the right person?” emails, which is straight-up lazy marketing. Because B2B marketers often view customers as entities, not people, they underestimate the brand damage this can do. It’s important to get to know customers as people by understanding their roles and helping them accomplish what they need professionally and personally.
Too often B2B marketers forget about the humans behind the corporate banners. By taking a more B2C approach, B2B will activate their brand and connect on a human level, which is essential to lead generation and B2B sales. To sum up:
Don’t think of your customer as a firmographic. Too often marketers regard their customer as a representative of their company, and nothing more. It’s important to remember to make an emotional connection with your audience, since so much decision-making starts with that.
Social media is meant for creativity. Different platforms and different media, like video and podcasting, are wonderful ways to get your message out and it changes people’s perceptions of your brand. Suddenly your company isn’t just a manufacturer of the best commercial refrigerators on the market, but it’s also an excellent source of marketing, maintenance and procurement advice for retailers considering a purchase. And some days it can deliver a laugh or a smile as well.
Content should be about trends, company culture, fascinating facts and people making a difference. So often B2B communications sound soulless or technical to a fault. Even if your business is in a highly technical area like manufacturing, there’s always a way to differentiate your content with diverse and human-centric topics.
Brand building is just as important in the B2B world as in the consumer world. Take your content and messaging beyond your product lines and your brand’s story will start to interest and attract your target audience. Make it memorable and they’ll pay attention.