Historically, we’ve been programmed to think that selling to a B2B buyer is very different to trying to win over a consumer.
We’re told that “a B2B purchase is based more on logic” while a “consumer's purchase often is based more on emotion” and that our inbound marketing strategies and tactics should reflect these differences. But a B2B consumer at the end of the day is the driven by the same emotion?
By that, I mean that we’re all consumers. We all live in a world where brands are looking to engage us with their creative, emotional, thought-provoking marketing approach.
This can be a hit and miss approach, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Rarely you find that B2C marketing is boring – it simply can’t afford to be.
You should strategically work on your inbound marketing efforts to see the best results and understand what inbound marketing focuses on contrary to outbound marketing.
Can we say the same about B2B marketing?
It doesn’t appear so. About half (48%) of B2B potential customers find B2B advertising boring, according to a recent survey by WHM.
The results, compiled by Propeller Insights, show that a similar number (49%) also feel that most B2B websites are not as interesting and creative as consumer websites and that they feel as if they were being sold products/services by their sales team.
The uninspiring efforts of B2B firms has got the vast majority (82%) of buyers wishing that B2B advertising had the creativity associated with B2C advertising. A meager 22% of respondents said the advertising they see often prompts them to take a next step towards making a purchase.
What factors do you need to consider for a successful inbound marketing strategy?
As previously discussed, B2B marketing and buying is now far removed from the traditional ways of doing business. Therefore, the tactics that previously worked aren’t as effective anymore.
B2B marketers have to take a more creative approach to marketing that focuses on the brand story and providing value to the prospect. By doing so, you’ll be able to build a better relationship and trust with your prospect, leading to more sales.
Search engine optimization must also be considered, as creating content that won't be seen is counterproductive. Search engines give you the opportunity to provide consumers with content that will help them on their decision making process. Effective and consistent inbound marketing strategies will result in an increase on your organic traffic. Creating valuable content will separate you from your competition.
The three factors that B2B marketers need to consider when creating an inbound marketing strategy are:
- Audience: who are you trying to reach and why?
- Content: what type of content are you creating?
- Channel: which channels are you using?
What if B2B marketing took a leaf out of B2C's book?
The survey suggests that B2B firms would do well to ramp up the creativity and tone down the hard sell. More than three-quarters (81%) of the business buyers quizzed, felt they would make better decisions if B2B advertising did a better job of engaging them.
It is no secret that social media has taken over the world. Utilising it in your inbound strategy is a must. Creating relevant content will allow you to better engage with your customers, and thus, increase trustworthiness.
In other words, buyers would be prepared to spend more time assessing your offering if it connected with them on an emotional level. In short: make buyers feel something.
Commenting on the findings, WHM partner Thomas Whalen said that “so much B2B marketing falls flat”, and that firms need to seriously rethink both their inbound and outbound marketing strategies.
“Of course, we understand why tech companies get excited about pushing the features of their product,” he added, “and there's a time and a place for that. But the truth is, the vast majority of buying decisions are emotional.”
Do your B2B buyers buy into you?
Before buyers can buy into what you’re selling, they need to buy into you. Only once you’ve won them over with your values and personality, can you start to think about explaining how your product works.
All to often, there’s a desire to rush into execution. It’s understandable – you want to get going. But take a moment. Think about your buyer and their decision-making journey.
What messages will resonate with them? How will you connect with them? How will you speak to them through your marketing? What is your story and how do you present it?
Does this softer sell chime with your marketing strategy?
If not, speak with us to understand how best to create a strategy that connects emotionally with your target audience. A strategy that puts your prospects at the very heart of everything.