Whether you’re a seasoned marketer or just getting started, you’ll eventually find yourself trying to market your business to a business-to-business (B2B) audience. Maybe you’ve tried marketing to the general public and found little success. Curious as to how others are approaching this difficult task and wanting to learn from the best, let’s examine how to market your business to a B2B audience.
Attracting, Retaining, and Motivating a B2B Audience
Although B2Bs come in all shapes and sizes, there are five common threads that bind them together. Understanding these five Ps will help you attract, motivate, and retain your B2B audience towards profitable growth.
- Products or services for purchase
- Procurement of these products or services
- Delivery of these products or services
- Management of these products or services
- The industry itself
If you’re marketing to a B2B audience, your goal is to attract and motivate these buyers to take action and buy your products or services. To accomplish this, you’ll need to establish a clear connection with your audience by demonstrating a genuine interest in their needs and motivations. Developing a genuine connection with potential buyers takes time, so be patient.
Product or Service Awareness
You may be tempted to jump right into pitching your products or services without first gaining the attention of your audience. However, for a business-to-business (B2B) marketer, this approach can be risky. Why? Because until you have a good understanding of what your audience is looking for, you won’t be able to provide them with value-additional products or services.
For instance, a chemical company that wants to market its specialty lubricants to a mechanical engineer audience may think that equipping the engine with some of its products would be a “no-brainer”. However, without first understanding the needs and requirements of the potential customer base, the chemical company could end up with a machine that doesn’t perform as expected due to a lack of lubrication. This might lead to dissatisfied customers, bad word of mouth, and eventually profit loss.
The first step to properly marketing to a B2B audience is to develop a buyer persona. A buyer persona is a description of a specific type of buyer that you’ll be targeting with your marketing efforts. For example, if you’re a luxury goods company trying to convince car dealers to stock your products, you might come up with a buyer persona such as a high-net-worth individual or a luxury brands buyer. These individuals are more likely to be interested in your products because of what you represent — the epitome of luxury and power.
Now that you have a clear picture of who you’re targeting, it’s time to assemble a team that can help you bring these buyers to your company. You need a salesperson, an account manager, a marketing manager, and, potentially, a consultant.
Once you have a clear picture of what your audience needs and wants, it’s time to conduct extensive research on existing and potential products. This is critical for any type of marketing, but it’s especially important for B2B marketing. Why? Because you’ll be competing with other businesses for the attention of your audience, and it’s key that you stand out from the pack.
Start by asking yourself questions about your product or service. Be specific and think about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. For example, a health company may decide to create a juice bar in its cafeteria to engage students and attract healthy eaters. During the research process, the company will discover that many students are more comfortable buying natural and organic juices, and they also have particular dietary restrictions such as gluten free or vegan diets. Based on this feedback, the company can decide to focus its marketing efforts on promoting organic juices, appealing to these specific needs and restrictions.
Having a clear picture of your target audience and knowing what they want and need is the beginning, but it’s not enough. To successfully market your product or service, you’ll need to follow up with a digital marketing plan. More than anything else, a good digital marketing plan will tell you which platforms to use and how to use them to grow your business. It can also help you decide on the right pricing for your products or services. Developing a digital marketing plan can be a tedious task, so make sure you have the help of an expert.
Understand the ROI of Your Marketing Efforts
The last thing you want to do is run a campaign and not see any return on investment (ROI). Fortunately, this is quite rare, but it does happen. To minimize the risk of not seeing any return on your investment, it’s important to track the results of your marketing efforts. The number one killer of any marketing campaign is inaction. Simply put, if you don’t measure it, you can’t improve it. This is why it’s essential to track the results of your marketing plan. If you do this, you’ll be able to tell how much ROI you’re getting for your investment and what areas you need to focus on for greater results.
When it comes to marketing to a B2B audience, patience is a virtue. It may take time to find your audience, attract them, engage with them, and establish a connection that will lead to profitable growth. However, once you do, you’ll be able to unleash the full power of your business to take advantage of the situation. So, be patient and diligent, and before you know it, you’ll be enjoying the benefits of a successful B2B marketing plan.