Most articles that are available on the topic of digital marketing focus largely on B2C. The stories, statistics, examples, and professional perspectives all seem to come from the B2C space. Because of this, there is a decided lack of information on best practices for B2B marketing.
This lack of coverage has also been the cause of a lot of misconceptions about what it takes to run a successful B2B marketing campaign. Sadly, marketing pros who create and operate campaigns under these misconceptions are going to struggle when it comes to meeting their goals and objectives.
Here are seven of the most common misconceptions about successful B2B marketing. Hopefully, you will recognize a few that are catching you up, and find some workable solutions.
Marketing Efforts Must be Buttoned Down And Serious
Creative marketing efforts are great, but they just arenâ€™t for B2B. Brands like Chipotle, Kate Spade, Jack in The Box, Red Bull, and Modcloth are all doing amazing things in their marketing efforts. They are creating exciting content and the engagement they are getting, as a result, is truly impressive, but that sort of thing just doesnâ€™t have a place in B2B.
If you believe the above, you arenâ€™t alone. The creative, funny, engaging side of content marketing has long been seen as something meant only for B2C. The logic was that if B2B used the same tactics that they would view as lacking in professionalism when compared to their peers.
In truth, there are many B2B niches where a more casual, friendly, even funny touch is perfectly appropriate. In fact, the B2B software space is one example where marketing tactics typically associated with B2C are working quite well.
Market Research is For Big Companies With Big Budgets
If you are a big corporation, market research is a no-brainer. Whether you keep it in a house or contract it out, itâ€™s simply a line item in the budget, and marketing teams then get to benefit from all of that information. Unfortunately, if you arenâ€™t a part of a large company, all of that goes out the window. After all, who can afford it? Certainly not small to medium sized companies.
There is some truth to this. Using the strictest definition and application of the term â€˜market researchâ€™ does rightfully conjure up images of paying thousands upon thousands of dollars to market research agencies. However, the truth is many companies can conduct a significant amount of market research on their own through social media channels, analytics, and survey/feedback tools.
Formal market research may not be accessible to all B2B companies. On the other hand, there is no excuse for bringing a product or service to market without conduct some form of preliminary research to determine viability.
Social Media is a Trivial Concern
- This is B2B. We donâ€™t need to be on Facebook.
- We donâ€™t need social media management. Let the interns handle that.
- We should be more concerned with the marketing we are paying for.
These three statements are not uncommon. They are very much representative of the way that many in the B2B industry view the role of social media in marketing. To them, itâ€™s either not something that is important whatsoever, or it is a trivial matter that should take a back seat to paid advertising and marketing which is presumably more â€˜legitimateâ€™.
This is where an injection of reality is sorely needed. Not only is social media important to B2B marketing, for many clients or potential clients, it means by which they are going to connect with your brand.
Emotional Connections With People Donâ€™t Matter
Ultimately, marketing of all types is about relationship building. Yes, other things matter. In B2B your price, ability to fill orders, regulatory compliance and a whole host of factors contribute to whether or not a company is willing to do business with yours.
However, when it comes down to it, the person who will be selecting your firm, over others will be doing so for some very human reasons. Primarily because they feel good about doing so as a result of the feelings of trust that you have instilled and the solid relationship that you have nurtured. If these factors werenâ€™t important, marketing wouldnâ€™t be necessary at all.
It is because these emotional connections are so important that B2B marketers must have high standards when it comes to content creation and promotion. It is for this reason that many invest in content tools such as HootSuite or essay supply.
If it Isnâ€™t Digital it Doesnâ€™t Have Value
The presumption is often that B2B is behind on the times because marketing efforts donâ€™t embrace social media, mobile, and content. However, sometimes the opposite is true. B2B marketing gurus are too willing to throw out techniques that have worked for decades, simply because content marketing is on trend.
While embracing content marketing is wonderful, it would be foolish to assume that other techniques should go by the wayside. Print based marketing such as the use of marketing slicks or printed newsletters are still effective in B2B marketing. There is also a significant amount of ROI in attending conferences and conventions. Even going on site visits or offering tours to VIP clients are still great ways to develop relationships and nurture leads.
Branding Doesnâ€™t Matter
You may think that fast food places, sporting goods stores, candy companies, even pet stores need branding. However, at the same time hold the opinion that branding is a waste in the B2B space. This is decidedly untrue. Branding is simply a reflection of the impression people have of your company based on visuals, personal experiences, and experiences by proxy. Establishing a solid branding identity and ensuring that your marketing and customer interactions support that identity is just as important in B2B as it is in B2C.
Targeting Companies is More Important Than Targeting People
In B2B it isnâ€™t uncommon for success to hinge on landing a few lucrative contracts. There are dozens of businesses in this space that are able to remain profitable and support a decent sized workforce with two or three (or fewer) clients. Auto manufacturing and aerospace are two industries that come to mind.
Because of this, when it comes to marketing efforts, many pros make the mistake of assuming that as long as they can get in front of the right company they will be golden. Unfortunately, nothing can be further from the truth.
Letâ€™s say you are targeting a multinational company with well over 15 thousand employees worldwide. Out of all 15K employees who are located all over the world, only five of them have the juice to give you the okay. These five are located in a single location in a single country. If you donâ€™t get their attention or the attention of someone who is very close to that inner circle, you arenâ€™t going to get that contract or make that sale.
In fact, you can earn hundreds, even thousands, of followers from that company and still not be close to having a useful lead. This is why targeting people is always key.
In spite of what you may have heard, the possibilities for marketing your B2B business are just as varied, engaging, and exciting as any available in the B2C space. In fact, the limitations that you think youâ€™ve been facing until now, are more likely the result of misconceptions than they are the reality. Yes, B2B marketing is distinctly different from B2C marketing, but that doesnâ€™t mean that you have to limit the scope or any other aspects of your efforts.