When approaching the design of a B2B marketing strategy, the risk of falling victim to habit is just around the corner. Many brands still tend to have an old-school view of marketing, where the company and its products were at the centre of all communication and potential customers were nothing more than passive spectators.
Do you recognise yourself in this model? Then maybe it's time to do some self-analysis and implement some necessary changes. Admitting your mistakes is always a good start:
1. Creating self-referential content
"I, I, I,..." Too many companies still talk only and exclusively about themselves, how they are experts, how competent they are, how they are the 'industry leader', etc. The paradigm has changed.
The paradigm, however, has changed: today we must put the customer at the centre, trying to establish a relationship based on mutual trust. It doesn't matter how good we are or how many years we have been in business. If we don't succeed in intercepting the real needs of our target audience, the chances are high that we will not succeed.
So what should we do? Devise a B2B content strategy that includes content that is useful and interesting to your audience and promotes it on the channels they use. We need to understand what kind of people our audience is made up of, what virtual places they are in, how they communicate and what kind of issues they face. In a word: we need to develop buyer personas.
From here, we will be able to understand what issues to address in order to produce content in line with their needs.
2. Underestimating social channels
Social media is still viewed with a certain amount of suspicion in B2B. In many B2B marketing strategies, it still plays a secondary role, relegated to the back burner behind other activities that are (sometimes rightly, sometimes wrongly) considered a priority.
If managed strategically, social media are a very important source of contacts, relationships and, ultimately, business. So it's time to carefully develop your B2B social media strategy.
Our potential customers are bound to be on at least one of the main platforms. We need to identify the channels we need to cover and create content that generates interest and curiosity, without forgetting that social media marketing involves investment.
If we want to do business through social media, we have to set aside a minimum budget for advertising campaigns. Showing the right content to the right people at the right time has a cost.
3. Neglecting analysis and monitoring
The traditional marketing techniques that B2B is struggling to move away from were not as technologically advanced as those offered by digital. Today, we can monitor every action we take in real time and get up-to-the-minute data on the performance of each individual campaign more easily, thanks to marketing automation software.
From the number of visitors to a website to the views of a Facebook post, from the open rate of an email to the clicks on a call-to-action, we can analyse just about anything. And this data is extremely valuable for optimising and possibly correcting our B2B marketing strategy. It would be naïve to neglect it.
4. Expecting short-term results
Expecting immediate results in B2B marketing almost certainly leads to a failure of strategy. The strategy has to be defined in several processes and steps, taking time and constantly coming up with ideas, new content and building strong relationships. This is the only way to achieve good results and convince other companies to accept your business proposals.
5. Not using a CRM
If B2B marketing is becoming more and more Human to Human then CRM is the tool best suited to keep track of and organise customer relationships. Not having a CRM means missing the opportunity to correctly categorise and segment leads, prospects and customers. Correct segmentation will allow the development of well-targeted strategies for each identified target.
6. Not extrapolating data from the web
Nowadays it is possible to extrapolate and monitor a lot of data from proprietary channels (website, email): how many people have visited the website and what content they have focused on, the number of emails opened and the amount of content downloaded, geographical origin... not giving importance to all this data means missing the opportunity to get to know potential customers better in order to offer them ad hoc solutions and strengthen their engagement. In addition to proprietary channels, the web is a veritable treasure trove of data. You can go and read reviews of your own product or those of your competitors (perhaps everyone is complaining about a specific feature). You can also go and read the various posts and comments on the Facebook groups (or forums) where your target customers belong. Linkedin is also a source of information: it can give you an idea in advance of the person you are going to interact with.
7. Simply copying the competition
Imitating your competitors' actions, adopting the same actions and presenting yourself in the same way, means losing the competitive advantage of your own company, and making potential customers lose interest in choosing it among others. The main disadvantage of adopting this methodology is the impossibility of knowing the dynamics of one's competitors; since it is not possible to anticipate their next moves, one would simply act defensively. In addition, you would miss the opportunity to structure a customised strategy based on your business, to get to know your target audience better and to set quantifiable and achievable goals. Every business has its own characteristics and peculiarities, from which it is possible to derive its own added value, which can then be communicated to the outside world by adopting tailor-made strategies and identifying the specific target, which may differ from that identified by the competition.
To err is human, to persevere is diabolical. It's never too late to change your perspective and adapt to market changes. Adopting an inbound approach can help you grow your business by building relationships with a highly profiled audience interested in your offering. If you are still struggling with your marketing strategy, contact our team at Xplore Digital.