We have expanded and updated the information in this post. Come over to "Eight Statistically Proven Priorities for B2B Tech Marketing" to read the latest information.
Marketing matters. We know it and, since you're reading this post, we bet you do too. However, many of the marketing tactics that we’ll discuss here—such as optimized websites, seamless user experience, and content marketing—have traditionally been ignored by B2B companies. Luckily, B2B companies are coming to realize that business pressures have changed in the post-digital age and they need to adapt. They are reprioritizing marketing, devoting resources to it, and seeing significant return on their investment as a result. That’s why we have compiled a list of six B2B marketing priorities that research shows really work.
1. Know Who You are Talking To
People like doing business with people. Including (and especially) in the business-to-business world. B2B customers are people with interests, responsibilities, and cultural insights. That’s why more and more B2B companies are seeing the value in using personas to create marketing strategies that speak to buyers.
Based on data and research about your target customer base, these buyer personas help brands understand their audience and adapt their strategy accordingly. In building your buyer persona, you may ask questions like: What are their key activities? What keeps them up at night? How do they find new ideas and product information? As you develop more comprehensive and meaningful personas, your marketing strategies will become more relevant and effective.
2. Create Content with a Measurable ROI
B2B firms are familiar with content marketing. In fact, 86% of them are already using it and 70% of B2B marketers are creating more content today than they were a year ago. But—like B2B marketing itself—content marketing is changing. It is evolving into a much more strategic, mature and measurable approach. Content marketing will continue to be a cornerstone in B2B marketing strategy, but the focus will be less on quantity and more focus on quality, well-written content.
One of the most important takeaways from CMI’s B2B Content Marketing Report? The most effective content marketers document their strategy. According to CMI, 60% of those with a documented strategy said it was effective (versus 32% of marketers relying only on a verbal strategy). Effective content marketing can be used in conjunction with lead generation to drive sales and revenue, making it well worth the continued investment.
3. Visualize Complex Ideas
We’re all visual learners, whether we think so or not. Studies find that the understanding of information jumped from 70 to 95 percent with the introduction of images.
B2B selling can be complicated—especially when it comes to technology-based products and services. Video, photos and graphics are an effective way to communicate complex ideas. The best B2B marketers are combatting complexity by creating content that educates the potential buyer in a compelling, easy-to-understand way.
Our clients have seen success by transforming their dense sales pitches and product demos into streamlined keynotes and videos. These animated presentations walk prospects through our clients’ complex technology in a way that makes it easy to understand and see the value they provide. The clarity provided by these visual resources set our clients’ offerings apart from the competition, impressing prospects and investors alike.
4. Build a Better Brand
B2B firms are beginning to understand the influence that a strong brand can have on buyers. This report from Lippencott revealed that 39% of B2B purchase decisions are driven by brand, making it more influential in the decision-making process than both features and price. In B2B, brand establishes credibility and trust with potential customers.
Along with driving leads and sales, a strong brand helps customers see you as a long-term collaborative partner beyond the initial sales transaction. Historically, B2B companies have not invested in brand development the way that consumer-facing companies have—but now, in light of findings like these, leading B2B organizations are making their brand a strategic priority.
5. Meet Customers on Mobile
Nearly 65% of the U.S. adult population now owns a smartphone and nearly half own a tablet. For many busy executives, mobile devices are becoming the preferred screen for checking email, browsing the web, and researching purchases. According to <Name of Report, for 70% of B2B marketers, 25% of site traffic comes from mobile. As a result, 97% of B2B company plan to increase or maintain the amount they spend on mobile marketing in 2015.
E-commerce has long been considered a B2C game, but not anymore. B2B e-commerce is expected to account for $780 billion in 2015 and $1.1 trillion in 2020. As far as reaching your prospective customers, 56% of B2B buyers say they frequently use mobile phones to access B2B sites and 24% of B2B buyers have made a business purchase using a mobile device. Your prospective buyers are accessing information and making purchases in the way that’s most convenient for them: on a tablet or smartphone. Are you engaging them in the process?
6. Provide a Seamless User Experience
We’ve established that B2B buyer journey is shifting to mobile. This means additional emphasis on mobile compatibility for all content, not just your website. We all know that having a responsive website in 2015 is no longer optional, but true responsiveness goes beyond your website and involves looking at how every element of your marketing strategy can be optimized for mobile.
For instance, you may have great content (because of that documented content strategy we discussed above), but if you don’t have the tools in place to provide an impeccable mobile experience, its won’t be effective for a large part of your audience. If you expect your target customer to engage with you, then you need to make their user experience a top priority.