Companies market their products and services differently to customers and other companies. The latter, companies advertising to other companies, is known as B2B marketing. How can B2B marketing help to create a go-to-market strategy?
What is B2B marketing?
Business-to-business (B2B) marketing is
" Any marketing strategy or content that is geared towards a business or organization. Companies that sell products or services to other businesses or organizations use B2B marketing strategies." (HubSpot, 2022)
The main goal of B2B marketing is to sell a company’s products or services to other businesses. This marketing to businesses is done by making other businesses familiar with:
your brand (name and positioning)
the value of your product and services (benefits)
and the solution, which converts them into customers.
What is a B2B marketing agency?
A B2B marketing agency is
a third-party marketing company that specializes in tailoring your business’s marketing message to other companies. B2B marketing experts target decision-makers for products or services.
Key aspects of B2B Marketing
B2B marketing experts focus on the key aspects of B2B to create marketing strategies. Every business that wants to increase its B2B sales, which is its sales to other businesses needs to have a go-to-market strategy. Before creating such a B2B strategy, the following five key aspects of B2B marketing need to be identified:
1) Brand positioning
Brand positioning is
how your brand is perceived through the eyes of the customer.
To create a brand positioning, the following business aspects need to be clear:
How does the business position its offering (product or service)?
Whom do they serve?
What value do they offer?
Why are they in business?
What is their competitive advantage?
This is also called brand identity, the personality of your business. It seeks recognition from your target audience and includes both visible and invisible aspects:
Visible aspects: logo & style guide.
Invisible aspects: business values, messaging & tone of voice.
2) Target audience
Marketing efforts should be driven by knowledge about the audience that we are trying to reach. It is therefore important to find the target audience of a business.
These are the people that are searching for your specific brand’s product or services. It helps to create a buyer persona. In this way, you can find out how specific people make their choices to buy the business products or services.
Once the brand positioning and target audience have been agreed on, the next step is to create an analysis of your competitors.
This analysis is needed to understand what value a brand is offering to its target audience and what makes that business stand out from its competitors. This research should focus on:
What products and services do the business’ competitors offer?
How do the brand’s competitors achieve sales? What specific sales tactics do they use?
What do the brand’s competitors’ social media and online content channels look like?
This will be helpful to get insight into a competitor's strengths and weaknesses. It also gives insight into business opportunities and threats. This kind of analysis, known as SWOT (for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) will help your business find insights on both pain points and communication channels.
4) B2B customer pain points
A fourth important aspect to consider is pain points.
Pain points are
the actual needs of the target audience.
A business must know what its target audience needs and if its business can provide it. Four main categories cause companies' pain in several ways:
Finance – companies are spending too much money on their current solution.
Productivity – The current tools that businesses use is a barrier to their productivity.
Processes – Companies want to improve their internal processes and upgrade their business but work with outdated methods.
Support – Many businesses experience support issues during and after a purchase decision.
Identify where and when a potential B2B customer needs support. This makes it easier to offer your products and services. There are two ways to solve these pain points:
A sales process.
Your business product or service.
How to find the B2B customer's pain points
1. Talk to your customers.
Ask them direct questions about your company's brand, products, and services.
2. Learn from customer support.
Customer support has direct contact with customers every day. They can give insights into the pain points that affect customers the most.
3. Collect customer feedback.
Study complaints or ideas customers have about the brand’s product or service. This provides valuable insight into customers' pain points, while at the same time also building trust and loyalty with the customer base.
4. Read customer reviews.
Select your main competitors and the customer base you serve. Research what people are saying about their company and their products. What is missing from the competitors that your B2B business can supply?
Customer reviews give clear insights into industry trends. They also show the specific pain points and language your target audience uses to describe their issues.
5. Read industry-related social media posts
Social media channels such as LinkedIn and Twitter are great to find content.
Look at the top tweets on relevant industry topics to see what top issues they describe, as well as ideas or solutions in the replies from other users.
Connect with people that belong to your target audience and explain to them how your product or service can help them solve their problems.
6. Use chatbots to validate your idea of customer’s top pain points
Put your hypothesis to the test. Add a chatbot to your website to validate ideas about the main pain points of companies that belong to your target audience. Pick the top three pain points and create questions for your customers to answer.
7. Engage in real-time live chats with B2B customers.
Use the live chat feature on your website to engage with visitors in real time. This will help you understand their pain points and end up making more high-quality sales.
8. Talk to the marketing team
A marketing team spends a lot of time researching buying signals. They follow industry topics, learn, and write about what is happening in the B2B customer’s world.
9. Brainstorm with the sales team
A company’s sales team speaks with prospects, leads and customers daily to understand their needs and offer them a solution.
Knowing ways to find your customer’s pain points is a good start. However, a B2B company also need some self-reflection:
Does your company engage in regular customer research that involves talking to customers?
How well does your company understand the language your customers use to describe significant pain points?
Do you show customers that you get their business pain and are ready to help?
What do your brand’s competitors’ social media and online content channels look like?
Understanding the major pain points of customers is the best way to improve the experience customers have with the B2B brand.
5) Communication channels
The last aspect to consider is the communication channels the target audience uses:
Which communication channels does your audience prefer to use?
Where does your target audience spend their time online?
Which social media platforms do they prefer?
What questions are they asking on search engines?
What industry events do they attend?
Which types of marketing communication channels do your brand competitors use?
Which of them is successful? Which can be improved or don’t work well?
The four major communication channels for B2B markets are:
B2B email marketing- How can your business help my business grow?
B2B digital marketing- Is your brand’s online presence informative, engaging, and findable?
B2B content marketing. - How can your brand’s content strategy satisfy your target audience?
A content marketing strategy adds valuable information and informs B2B customers.
Educate the B2B target audience with engaging content, logical advice, and in-depth knowledge from industry experts.
Create a business blog. Give in-depth insights into the major pain points of a business’s target audience and show them what solutions exist to solve them.
B2B social media marketing Many businesses struggle with social media, even though it’s a powerful tool for building brand awareness, sharing content and getting recognized as an industry expert.
B2B business marketing strategies
Now a business is ready to create its marketing plan for its target market.
B2B companies have nine main strategies to choose from for their go-to-marketing strategy and to improve B2B sales. The following ten B2B marketing tactics are proven ways to help grow any business.
1. B2B customer pain point research
Successful online B2B marketing starts by researching what your customers need with customer pain points research.
2. B2B reviews, testimonials & case studies
Another effective online B2B marketing strategy is creating reviews, testimonials, and case studies from existing customers, all of which help build credibility and increase trust from potential customers.
3. B2B content marketing
Content marketing helps position your brand as an authority to both search engines and users.
Creating content marketing materials with in-depth industry insights is a way to get potential clients interested in your B2B products and services. Regularly publishing educational content, showing a B2B business’ subject matter expertise, and helping the target audience make more informed decisions.
4. B2B SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is another valuable strategy. Before a customer is willing to buy a specific product or service, they often do online research. If your business is not among the top results in a search, it’s unlikely to be noticed by potential customers.
Combine reviews, testimonials & case studies with content marketing. This helps to increase the search results for business products or services. The business brand gets better search results. Customer reviews also help to improve the trust and credibility of the company.
5. B2B social media for business
Having a symbolic social media presence is not enough: your business is expected to be present and active on major social media platforms.
Business purchasing managers often use social media reviews to decide if a business organization is a good fit.
Due to user saturation, organic reach through social media has been declining over the last few years. This means that one way in which your business can achieve more exposure to potential customers is with a paid social media campaign.
6. B2B advertising
Another highly effective B2B marketing strategy is B2B advertising. This strategy should include paid campaigns on search engines and social media.
A B2B business’s target audience is made up of decision-makers and purchasing managers. One way to reach them is by using advanced targeting features on popular social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter.
Paid search makes it easier to reach a business target audience. By paying for advertisement spending, you automatically show up at the top of the search results. Specific advertisements will show at the exact moment your target audience is interested in them.
7. B2B campaign tracking and reporting
AnotherB2B marketing strategy is B2B campaign tracking and reporting. Before you implement any digital content strategy, the business needs to develop a system for tracking its effectiveness.
How can your business measure rankings, organic traffic, and conversions?
A business needs to track and regularly review reports about its marketing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are needed to improve marketing efficiency over time.
8. B2B marketing automation
B2B Marketing automation can be used to engage with business decision-makers and integrate all business’s marketing channels. It’s a fantastic way to maximize each contact your B2B marketing generates.
9. B2B referral systems
Creating a B2B Referral system is a highly underrated B2B marketing strategy that can become a reliable source of new business for companies.
Building customer referrals into a B2B marketing process from the start will help increase customer satisfaction. Such a strategy can be both paid and free: the paid approach will offer B2B customers an incentive for every new customer referred.
10. Influencer marketing
Partnering with influencers can be a highly effective creative marketing strategy for B2B businesses. Especially if they are well-known public figures in the industry your business is in.
Working with local influencers in your target industries can be an affordable way to improve your B2B marketing effectiveness.
Let Xplore Digital’s experts handle your B2B marketing strategy
At Xplore Digital, we have over 50 years of combined experience with B2B marketing in Europe. Our marketing team consists of digital marketing, graphic design, video, and traditional marketing experts with proven track records.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation and discover how we can help your business grow.