5 Reasons your B2B brand should start marketing like a B2C
Unless you’ve been living on another planet for the last decade, you’ve likely noticed that a fundamental shift has been taking place in our industry. Mantras like “Content is king!” have led to the content marketing revolution, the quest for authentic storytelling and the hiring of many MFA-educated bartenders-turned-copywriters across the country. Consumers, regardless of their market, want stories, right? Good ones.
What’s more, B2B brands are starting to occupy many of the same digital spaces as B2Cs. This proximity is pushing the two to compete for attention in ways they never have before. The result – for the smart B2B brands, at least – is a blurring of the lines where B2Bs look and sound a lot more like B2C brands. You should consider following suit. Here’s why:
1. Your customers are already copying B2C
Gone are the days when you could meet your prospective client face-to-face, wow them with a sales pitch and call it a day. In part, this is because your lead base is more educated than ever before – self educated. Like B2C consumers, B2B buyers are doing a healthy amount of online research before they ever contact you. In fact, they are nearly 60 percent through their purchasing decision before you hear boo from them.
2. LinkedIn alone ain’t cutting it
Sure, everyone knows LinkedIn is where the business people go to network, right? Right. (Psst… it’s also a super effective platform with 66 percent of users reporting good results). But, you have to remember that your potential customers are real people, and real people in 2017 work and play in all the social spaces. Did you know that Instagram has 300 million daily users and the highest interaction rate? Facebook has, oh, two billion monthly users, 74 percent of whom say they use the platform for professional purposes. It also offers features like live video that allow you to tell your brand story in ways LinkedIn just can’t. Don’t discredit what Pinterest, Snapchat and other channels can offer, too.
3. The Millennials are taking over
Quite literally. Millennials now make up the largest age base in the U.S. While some people still view them as entitled, avocado-toast-eating kids, the reality is that Millennials are a well educated, thriving part of the workforce and many are in B2B roles with purchasing power. As a demographic, they are holding brands to a higher standard. They seek out brands that have a sense of purpose, that they feel emotionally connected to or that are disrupting the market in intriguing ways. To reach Millennials, you’re going to need to step up your storytelling game.
4. Big data makes it way easier
There is more behavioral, mobile and social data available than ever before. Predictive analytics are helping B2B marketers understand who their target demographic is on an intimate level. Of course, the next step should be taking those insights and transforming them into account-based targeted campaigns that focus on reach and frequency; i.e., it’s time to invest in some B2C-style brand perception advertising based on data-driven buyer personas. When paired with geo-targeting, this type of campaign is incredibly effective at teeing up your brand for top-of-mind awareness.
5. Relationships are better than transactions
At the end of the day, the B2B sales cycle still looks very different from the typical B2C buyer’s journey. In B2B, the process generally requires a great deal of nurturing, often over the course of several years. For example, if I own a collision repair shop, switching paint brands requires living out an existing contract and then purchasing an entirely new system and all the mixing, spraying and storage equipment that goes with it. It’s not exactly like Holden Hipster deciding he wants to try a different brand of beard tonic. In other words, B2B business deals are all about the woo. You’ll have a much better chance if you come off as human, charismatic and trustworthy… not just the company with the flashiest features.
Need help shifting your mindset? We have a lot of cred in both B2B and B2C worlds and we’re happy to help. Get in touch!
Check out these related blog posts:
• Let’s Give Them Something to Blog About
• B2B Content Has Feelings, Too (So Stop Calling it Boring!)
• Discover the Diamond in the Rough for B2B Marketers