Marketing isn’t about products, it’s about the people who use them. Understanding these people, from the language they use to the interests and values they hold, will ensure your marketing has impact.
While demand comes from consumers, business to business marketing is about meeting the needs of other professionals. These are the people you want to reach, and that means taking a unique approach.
B2B vs B2C: What’s the big difference?
B2B and B2C audiences are opposites in many ways, but they’re identical in many others. They’re people with different needs, challenges and wants, looking for something that will add value to different aspects of their lives.
The B2B market is largely seen to be comprised of information seekers with a thirst for knowledge. They’re seen as people more interested in logic as opposed to emotion, looking for efficiency and expertise as opposed to offers and entertainment. The B2C market, on the other hand, is understood to include people seeking promotions, entertainment and offers that speak to them on an emotional level. But is this really the case?
Regardless of what you think you know about B2B vs. B2C consumers, it’s important to remember the core goal remains the same.
The key to marketing that works lies in building empathy with your target market, regardless of what category they fall into.
This means every single business has one essential task to master: Knowing their audience.
B2B Marketing: How to get it right.
Every good marketing strategy is shaped around its consumers.
Like every consumer today, B2B buyers expect personalization and targeted messaging that speaks directly to them. According to Demand Gen Report’s latest B2B Buyer’s Survey, 75% expect relevant content that speaks directly to their company.
This means tailoring your message to the right people, responding directly to the need you can fill with valuable information, expertise and education.
Regardless of what audience you’re targeting, understanding them is the first step to engaging them and planning an effective digital marketing strategy. Start by taking a closer look at the B2B buyer using with latest statistics:
9 Things to Know About B2B Buyers
1. B2B buyers are most likely to be mid-level managers.
63% of B2B buyers are male, with the majority aged between 25-34 (38%). They’re also most likely to be mid-level managers.
2. They like to experiment.
They’re keen product-experimenters and deal-seekers – 8 in 10 say they like to try new products and that they always try and find the best deals for products.
3. Search and social are vital for brand discovery.
Visiting search engines and social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter are the most common online activities among B2B buyers. Importantly, search engines (46%) are the most likely place for B2B buyers to come across new brands, products or services.
They’re also 46% more likely to discover new products via a brand’s social media page.
4. They’re avid social media users.
B2B buyers are now spending an average of two and a half hours on social media every day, around 15 minutes more than the average internet user.
5. Youtube and Facebook are their top platforms.
In terms of social media statistics, 93% of B2B buyers use Youtube most frequently, followed closely by Facebook (89%). 6 in 10 B2B buyers are also more likely to be using Twitter accounts every month, while half are using LinkedIn and more and more use Instagram too. Other social media networks are also important. Instagram users are also useful targets for certain businesses, which should be factored into a social media strategy.
6. They use social media heavily for business.
Among key drivers influencing purchasing decisions, conversations with people from the company on social media is cited by B2B buyers as one of the most important. This reflects how these consumers are using social media business pages and social platforms;
47% follow brands they like on social while 44% follow contacts relevant to their work.
7. Industry websites are most important to them.
Industry websites are the most influential purchase drivers among B2B buyers, making this a key point of contact for marketers to consider.
8. They appreciate quality over rewards.
When it comes to brand advocacy, what encourages them to promote a brand most is high quality products (57%).
9. Reviews matter more than you think.
With 44% of B2B buyers now citing reviews from other customers to be a top purchase driver, their influence is rising.
Insights like these can give your targeting more precision, helping you decide where to allocate your spend and turn your attention.
Using audience profiling to go deeper into the motivations, interests and behaviors of these consumers will take your B2B strategy to the next level.
According to research by Stratabeat, 80% of business decision-makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus an advertisement. What’s more, Curata reveals long-form blog posts generate 9 times more leads than short-form blog posts.
This shows how pivotal comprehensive, educational content is when it comes to engaging B2B buyers and encouraging them along the path to purchase.
As individuals who value education and professional development, engaging these people involves putting a robust content marketing strategy in place that will offer expertise in the areas they’re seeking it.
With B2B buyers, the purchase journey can be long and arduous, thanks largely to the longer chain of command in place across most businesses. This lengthy sales cycle means there’s more of a need to nurture, and a more complex thought process involved.
According to CEB, B2B buyers are 57% of the way through a purchasing decision before engaging with a sales rep. This means a well executed marketing strategy will ensure prospective buyers’ questions are answered long before the point of purchase.
Consider every possible question your prospective buyer might ask at every stage of the journey, and be the mentor that makes them feel at ease.
Getting to the root of who this audience is, using data to guide your way, you can ensure these consumers are guided through the marketing funnel with personalized content they respond to.
Effective B2B Marketing in Practice
Deloitte University Press is one example of B2B marketing that works. As a professional services company dealing with clients across an extensive range of sectors, Deloitte’s approach naturally focuses on creating educational, useful content for specialized audiences.
In an effort to bring this approach to the fore, the brand created the Deloitte University Press, providing “insights, analyses, and perspectives for business and government.” Curating an extensive range of content from blog posts to reports, webcasts and podcasts, it set out to teach people about its specialties, offer intelligence to businesses and act as a thought leader in the areas that matter to their clients.
This means their prospective clients are given the transparency they expect and the insights they need to get educated on the many services the company has to offer, answering every question that might impact their decision.
Every business differs and the B2B market is far from a one-size-fits all state of affairs, but following some fundamental rules, your strategy can get to where it needs to be. Here are some simple steps to take.
Do your research.
Use audience profiling to understand your target buyers in as much detail as possible, from what motivates them in their daily lives to what drives them to purchase.
The more you know, the more tailored and engaging your approach will be.
Know the touchpoints that matter.
Analyze every aspect of the the B2B purchase journey to identify the social media usage and the touchpoints that matter most. For example, picking the right social media platforms to engage with or utilizing communication channels such as messenger applications (including WhatsApp and Snapchat) to get your message to the right people or the use of Instagram stories to communicate with other businesses and users alike. With this, you can be sure no opportunity is missed and no question goes unanswered.
Answer their questions.
Don’t leave it to the sales team to explain what you do, or why they need your solution. Answer every question a prospective buyer might have with personalized content that speaks to their needs at every point of interaction.
B2B buyers are no strangers to the sales process. They’re fellow business people, familiar with the marketing tactics so often used to get their attention. This means being authentic and transparent about your approach is key; don’t over-sell your solution, be the support they need to make their professional lives simpler.