There's No Boring In B2B
When people think about interesting and innovative advertising, chances are that some of the great Business-to-Consumer, or B2C, campaigns immediately come to mind. Who could forget Budweiser's Wassup; Dos Equis’ The Most Interesting Man in the World; P&G's Thank You, Mom; Old Spice’s The Man Your Man Could Smell Like; Schick’s Free Your Skin; Delta’s Dating Wall; or IKEA’s Valentine's Day ads?
But B2C marketers shouldn't have all the fun. Technology has made it easy for B2B buyers to behave like B2C consumers. They actively seek out information about the products and services they’re interested in, and they rely on a wide variety of sources to help them make their decisions. What does this mean for B2B marketers? We’ve got new opportunities to spread our creative wings and connect with our audiences through more effective B2B cross-platform marketing strategies.
Consider these B2B marketing stats:
- Content marketing generates 3x as many leads as traditional outbound marketing, but costs 62% less.1
- 83% of B2B marketers use content marketing to achieve their lead generation goals.2
- 67% of a B2B buyer’s journey is now done digitally.3
- 55% of B2B buyers search for information on Social Media.3
Understanding the B2B Buyer Journey
Technology has made the path to purchase for B2B buyers virtually the same as the buyer funnel for B2C, and B2B marketers need to evolve as well. Consumers rely on online reviews, peer recommendations, informational content, and more before they make a purchase, and B2B buyers are no different. With endless information available at their fingertips, B2B decision makers spend countless hours researching and comparing B2B products and services before they ever contact a salesperson.
B2B Marketing Example
I'm the perfect example of how both an effective digital B2B and B2C campaign strategy can be successful: I just got a new Samsung Galaxy 8+, but before I bought it I read a half dozen reviews, articles, and brand comparisons. And when I finally got my gorgeous new phone, I spent another 1/2 hour researching the best phone cases and screen protectors. The online reviews were much more valuable to me than the opinion of a salesperson in a store—I bought both my 5-star-reviewed case and screen protector online, without speaking to a salesperson. And for my business, when it came time to select a social media and content management platform, I again went right to trusted online reviews. I also crowd-sourced the information on my LinkedIn page and via email, asking peers which company they used and why.
Of course, since I was searching for phone accessories and social media management tools on my desktop and mobile, I started getting ads based on personalized retargeting, with valuable brand messaging that helped me make an informed decision about my B2C and B2B online purchases. For my phone accessories, I ordered online and never spoke to a salesperson. For the B2B decision, my mind was made up and I was already sold on the platform before I ever contacted a sales rep. Easiest sale ever.
B2B Sales Strategies Should be Just as Personal as B2C
With so many ways for marketers to influence B2B buyers, B2B marketers have a great opportunity to connect with them the same way B2C consumers connect with their audiences. We need to be where our audiences are, and to deliver the kind of content that's going to get their attention. That means engaging, interesting, and informative content that reaches B2B consumers at every stage of the buyer’s journey.
Another Successful B2B Marketing Campaign (of Our Own)
Our cross-platform Mean Tweets Campaign did just that. We used custom illustrations and sassy copy to connect with sought-after media buyers with a pop-culture-inspired campaign. The campaign targeted our B2B social media audience with magazine Cover Wraps delivered directly to their desks, as well as digital ads that reinforced our messaging. The result? We received a lot of feedback that proved the campaign succeeded in grabbing people’s attention. Our sales reps were able to book meetings that had been difficult to get in the past—our brand and business received an undeniable boost from the creative B2B campaign strategy we developed.
To help other B2B marketers use the tools and technology at their fingertips to connect with their audiences, we created There's No Boring In B2B Advertising.
It’s a comprehensive resource for B2B marketers, filled with info about the changing face of B2B advertising, and how marketers can deliver the kind of content that will help their audiences move down the path-to-purchase.
1. Demand Metric, Content Marketing Infographic, 2016.
2. Content Marketing Institute, B2B Content Marketing: 2017 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America.
3. The Marketing Blender, Statistics Every B2B Company Should Know to Boost Their Sales, 2016.