B2B (Business to Business) marketing is a kind of communication that addresses not the final customers, but other businesses and for this reason, the sales cycle is usually longer and more complex, since it requires more decision making and buying stages, usually with 6-10 professionals involved in the process.
Another difference between B2C (Business to Customers) and B2B marketing is what your target is expecting from your campaigns; while B2C customers are looking for emotional and fun content to encourage a purchase, B2B targets want to be educated with highly detailed, valuable and precise content, that showcase all the perks and benefits of products or services.
What makes B2B marketing campaigns successful
To structure a successful B2B marketing campaign, it’s important to carefully plan all the steps in advance, even before thinking about the content.
In short, you need to ask yourself who your audience is and what they need, what you expect from the campaign, and how you’re going to achieve it.
- Who is your audience? As for B2B campaigns, you need to clearly understand who the professionals or businesses you want to communicate with are. What are their needs? Their concerns? This is the first important step to consider before moving on.
- Why should your audience buy your products or services? This is not an easy question to answer, and needs a deep understanding of your company’s B2B branding; once you understand how your products and services fit into your audience’s needs, and how they differ from your competitors’ ones, you can get to the next question.
- What is your goal? Be it B2B lead generation or to introduce a new product, your goal has to be as specific and precise as possible, for example establishing a numeric target to reach. This ultimately helps to keep the motivation bar high.
- How to reach this goal? It’s time to create a B2B marketing funnel, to track your customer’s journey. As is the case with B2C marketing, B2B marketing funnel involves three main stages; awareness, research, and finally the purchase, along with all the tools and strategies related to guide your target through the funnel.
How to structure B2B marketing strategies
Once the Who, What, Why and How of the campaign is clear, it’s time to start creating some more detailed tasks and goals.
The message and the content
After understanding your target and their needs, the next step is to develop marketing messages for the content you’re going to share on your channels offline and online.
The best way to do so, and to make sure your B2B communication will be effective, is to create a value proposition, to outline the key messaging, unique selling point and the reasons why customers should buy your product.
Once the message is clear, it’s time to choose the medium i.e. which content will deliver your message, and on which channels. B2B advertising can include blog posts, e-books, a landing page, B2B social media marketing, and B2B email marketing campaigns.
The best strategy is to create a wide range of different content, depending on the platforms and tools you want to use, always keeping in mind that you’re communicating with a B2B audience, that has to be convinced about the product or service, and how it’ll help their business.
Here’s an example of contents that make a B2B marketing campaign successful:
- Lead magnet – a whitepaper with a landing page, that showcases the state of the art of a specific field and the benefits of adopting a specific product or service.
- Blog articles to support and direct traffic towards the lead magnet, while giving useful insights about the industry and the products
- Social media posts on B2B social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn (depending on the industry) to share the articles and whitepaper
- Sponsored media ads on Google and social media, to expand the audience and collect valuable B2B leads.
- B2B email marketing campaigns to get in touch with the leads generated across the complete b2b marketing strategies
- B2B events to establish as an industry leader, improving brand awareness.
If you want to reach your B2B marketing goals, it’s crucial to be realistic about the available resources. An editorial plan is a perfect tool to keep under control all the content that you need to post online.
If your company struggles to do so internally, a good option is to hire a B2B content marketing agency that can help and support you with all the B2B marketing activities you need and who already have a clear vision of your needs and concerns, in terms of goals and objectives.
Last but not the least, the final step is to identify how you’re going to measure the success of your campaign. This is linked to the goals you set out at the beginning. If you’ve planned to improve B2B lead generation, the amount of MQLs will be the metric that measures the success of the operation.
Of course, only one metric is not enough to confirm the success of the campaign. In fact, it’s helpful to look into a series of analytics, such as click-through rates, page views, and bounce rates, insights that can give you an idea of how the content is performing.
This way you’ll be able to make proactive changes to improve results throughout the campaign. And when it’s all over, you’ll have the information you need to provide better results next time.
What are the latest B2B marketing trends?
Considering that both B2C and B2B digital marketing are fast-paced environments, the trends that encourage customers to conclude a purchase keep changing as new technologies come to the market.
The rise of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality is changing the way companies and brands interact with their audience, and this also applies to B2B marketing campaigns.
VR and AR can help create stronger bonds between companies and potential customers, offering engaging product visualization experiences that not only improve brand awareness but also smooth the buying process.
Also, the future of digital marketing is moving toward a phygital ecosystem, with many brands (Facebook with Meta to mention one) integrating AR into their businesses, to offer their audience immersive experiences that convert and catch customers’ attention, bridging the gap between offline and online communication.
According to Spotify, in 2021 the number of podcasts featured on Spotify increased by more than 2.500%, compared to 2018, proving how this format is witnessing growing popularity; investing in a podcast could be an interesting strategy for companies that want to improve their B2B marketing strategy.
First, because it’s a relatively cheap format to integrate, and it can convey huge value in terms of positioning and brand awareness. Also, podcasts are easy to share online, can be uploaded to many different platforms or shared via social media or email marketing.
Case studies and customer stories
The best way to encourage a company to buy your products or services is to show them how other players in the market are already benefiting from them.
And to do so, you can share interesting case studies and stories of happy customers, providing stats and insights on how, by adopting your services, their businesses improved.
This kind of content is pretty valuable for the B2B market because it creates a sense of urgency in brands and companies that do not want to stay behind their competitors who have already adopted a new trend or integrated innovation in their business.
In addition to this, it reassures decision-makers that they are making the right choice since others in the field have already done the same.
As we mentioned before, B2B sales cycles are usually longer and cause more difficulties for marketers, since the decisions are less connected with emotions than in the B2C ecosystem.
For this reason, and to better showcase all the perks and benefits of products and services, a good strategy is to provide custom demonstrations offline and online.
Of course, demos take time and effort but are a very good way to persuade customers and improve conversions. With b2b communication, you can easily offer a demo and give your audience the opportunity to book them online, via DEM, or social media.
It might seem strange that copywriting is enlisted as a trend for B2B marketing campaigns, but this factor is often overlooked by companies; when it comes to B2B marketing, many companies do not adopt an appropriate tone of voice and don’t adopt the copywriting to their audience.
Basically, they communicate with companies in the same way they do (or did) with final customers. As we have seen, B2B marketing needs to convey different messages and values and needs to use a different tone of voice – understanding this and adapting the copywriting is a crucial step every b2b marketer needs to take.
B2B marketing campaigns need to be carefully planned ahead to bring results; the whole communication is different and marketers that want to operate in the field need to understand the needs and concerns of the B2B audience – and how different they are from b2c ones.
What makes a B2B campaign successful is a mix of different strategies and tasks that first helps you to understand your audience and only afterward helps to effectively communicate with them.
Also, it can be helpful to keep an eye on the latest b2b marketing trends and find the perfect and smoothest way to integrate them into your marketing strategy.