Business to Business marketing is a fantastic challenge. Depending on your market segment there are resources which work better -- or less well. 90% of our clients are in the B2B space. Even when we work in the B2C space, we focus our energy on the B2B aspect of their overall marketing.
Not the end-all
Over the years we have learned that there are significant advantages to incorporating online marketing as an aspect of the overall marketing. Perhaps nowhere is it more apparent than in B2B marketing and sales -- but online marketing can not be all there is to marketing a B2B business.
Have your systems in place
As with all marketing, you need to have a good CRM process in place. You need to have mapped out the process of lead identification, through to prospect qualification, to opportunity development, landing in closing, and then providing ongoing customer support. The automation of this process into a CRM platform is not required until volume justifies the expenditure -- but investing the small amount of time necessary to document the process, the steps, the outcomes, and the milestones of the process itself is absolutely essential.
Having the ability to track your sourcing, and calculate the ROI of specific marketing efforts will be essential for your start-up to learn and move forward rather than spin its wheels.
Start off-line first
The online aspect of the marketing of a B2B business needs to support the non-online portions of the B2B marketing. Due to the "intrigue" factor of the online platforms and the seductive nature of the pop-wizz-wow of the internet; we have found that the marketing campaigns that we have built which started with the off-line components first and leveraged the online resources to support them consistently delivered better B2B marketing-ROI.
Know Your Target
Different targeted business will interact wit the web in different ways. Some will do source potential vendors online, others only maintain pre-existing relationships online. All "businesses which want to promote products on social media" is not a target market. It is the overall market. The target market will provide more specificity on the industry, sector, size, and internet-saviness. As you hone in on one or a couple targets -- then you will be able to more clearly identify how that target market makes its' purchasing decisions. In fact the differentiation of your market should incorporate the distinctions of their purchase patterns as a primary criteria.
Understand on the Purchasing Decision
How and Who. As you get to know your target market you will see the patterns of how they choose vendors in specific areas. One way is by looking at where the competitors in your space market or advertise to that target. You also need to know who is making the decision. For some target markets it will be the CEO and others it will be the VP of Marketing.
Match the Target Market's Purchasing Decision
Some target markets will immediately go to the web to figure out who to use for social media advertising. Some of them have no idea how to use the web, just know about this platform called "social media" and are hiring you to figure it out and implement it for them. The marketing
The conventional wisdom on B2B Social Media
The conventional wisdom is:
- Facebook is good for B2C
- LinkedIn worked well for facilitating networking and finding key prospects
- YouTube is a great place place for promoting testimonials
- Trade associations and conference nurture relationships which encourage referrals -- and advertising on their websites works well.
- Industry specific newsletters and websites are good advertising locations in well established industries.
- Distribution of "white papers" support the claim process on unique or breakthrough ideas
- Establishing expert credentials for yourself on user groups and other platforms is "capital" to support your overall marketing
- B2B prospects use the market to validate and verify -- be sure that when they do that it will.
In plans our team develop for clients we try to use all of the above. We also try to challenge the conventional wisdom every single time. We strive to do something out of the box and a little different. These are usually items that are very specific the industry and target market.
Your business authenticity
It is critical that you are able to demonstrate that you do for yourself what you are selling to do for others. If you are in the market to sell EDI services-- then you better use EDI services for your own billing. If you are in the business to teach CEO's to make powerful presentations-- you better make a powerful presentations. If you are in the business to promote products and services via social media -- you better have the best social media presence promoting your product and service of all times.
Even if it doesn't make a specific or tangible business sense for you and your market -- it is an issue of business authenticity.
People sense that authenticity. They will meet you and listen to your pitch, and then they will go and search you online. If you don't show up the way that you promised they will if they used your services -- well, it might not even be a conscious decision-- but the doubt will have been placed in their mind. They will intuitively feel like something is off.
And they will be right.