Marketing is never static, and as such today’s businesses need to be agile enough in their approach so that they can maximize budgets while also reaching enough customers, at the right times and in the right ways.
Markets have never been more competitive and the bar just keeps rising, so if you want to stay ahead of the game and ensure future success it is crucial that you not only know customers’ needs but also how they think.
1. A new era of communication
The shift towards digital will be far-reaching, impacting sales, commerce and virtually every facet of the consumer and seller relationship. The tactics that started out as crisis responses have become “the new normal,” impacting every level from strategy all the way down to execution in an ever changing landscape where even marketing campaigns that were relevant weeks ago are suddenly unsuitable. Much like in the B2C market, B2B relationships have become more flexible as geopolitical and regional rules change, lockdown to lockdown.
COVID-19 is purely one way that B2B communication has been impacted since the beginning of this decade. There are a myriad of other developments that have meant that communication has changed for good.
With the new digital reality, more than 75% of buyers and sellers now prefer a self-guided service through their journey with remote human interactions (McKinsey & Co). This trend continues even after lockdowns end.
2. Making an emotional impact
It’s time to break free from the old ways of thinking. There are many similarities between consumer marketing and B2B sales, more than a lot of marketers actually realise. In both cases, you need to engage with your audience on an emotional level in order for them to consider buying. B2B buyers are proven to be more emotionally connected to the brands they purchase than consumers. This is because emotional factors such as trust, confidence and reassurance are the most powerful differentiators for B2B brands.
If you want your future customer to engage with your brand, you need to create empathy by linking what your brand stands for with the values you share with your customers.
The drive for personal satisfaction often leads consumers to make impulsive purchases, especially those made under the influence of emotion. This behaviour is generally attributed to B2C marketing but the ability to produce the right emotional response is just as important in B2B.
3. Widen your channels
The internet is now a part of everyday life for many people, in fact, with 46.6 million people in the UK using the internet daily, the likelihood that your ideal customer is cruising the internet right now is fairly high.
In this COVID-19 world, if you want to reach your B2B customer it’s hard to know where to start. You have more options than ever before in how and where they can be reached.
Reaching these people means using every appropriate channel to get in touch, and – if you’ve not got the tools or know-how – working with a data-savvy marketing agency for insights and direction could make all the difference to your bottom line.
4. Focus on customer experiences
The change in buying behaviour that’s occurred over the last 5 years means that customer experiences are more important than ever before. Enhanced customer experiences are now expected as is personalised service from brands and retailers alike; this is especially true during these months when we all spend more time indoors!
According to McKinsey & Company, B2B companies have an average customer experience score below 50%, whereas B2C companies average up to 85%. The difference is because communication is not as highly valued by B2B sellers despite representing larger revenues and lower customer acquisition costs and percentages in a typical scenario.
If you have an account-based marketing scheme then you only need to pivot a bit. The customer relationship is already there, it’s just a case of getting your marketing to work for you.
5. Embrace video, “the metaverse” and the unknown
COVID-19 was a catalyst for change, shifting the way we do business and connect with our customers. We are now more likely to interact digitally than via phone calls – video streaming has replaced face time as it offers an unrivaled experience with both a visual and auditory component, increasing engagement.
Nowadays, it’s a given that any business worth their salt should be using online video.
But what does this mean? It means video will play an even larger role going forward because people are scrolling through posts faster now than ever before; so instead of posting one article per week about something interesting happening at work, post 2 videos of no more than a minute or so, about your business thoughts side by side each day.
‘How to ‘ videos are especially fitting for most B2B businesses to share their tips and value, giving away tips is expected now and if buyers want more depth, they expect to purchase from you.
The game has changed. Businesses are now forced to dive headfirst into the digital world, and there’s no turning back. What will you do to take advantage of this opportunity?
With passion and professionalism in abundance, Vida Barr-Jones has an impressive track record of establishing and meeting business goals. Vida brings 34 years of commercial experience, having spent eleven years as a Board Director at Europe’s largest FTSE-listed office products wholesaler. Vida is an inspirational leader known for excellent communication and engagement across all levels.