Why you should throw overboard the distinction between B2B and B2C marketing
Anyone who wants to sell B2B products that require explanation to discerning customers usually needs a lot of patience. Those responsible for B2C, on the other hand, are supposed to reach their goal faster. Why you should not (any longer) differentiate between B2B and B2C when setting up your digital sales and marketing strategy is explained in the Evernine guide.
Many marketing and sales managers still differentiate their digital sales and marketing strategies strictly according to the old pattern of B2B and B2C. Instead of thinking about whether you are addressing a company or a private individual, you should ask yourself two questions:
1. How well known is your brand, product or service?
2. Who is to be convinced for the purchase decision?
Because even in B2B you should always keep in mind that you do not simply have to address and convince a company, but also individual persons with their own needs, concerns and expectations. Depending on how you answer these two questions, your product or service can be assigned to a two-dimensional matrix (see graphic “QLM Background Knowledge”). Important: Be honest with yourself and your company! Of course, every medium-sized company hopes for its own product and brand to be widely known, but products – especially in the IT industry – are often more in need of explanation than you would expect.
In this article we want to shed light on the two “extremes”: One decision maker with a known product & topic and several decision makers with an unknown product & topic. Which sales and marketing activities are most effective in which initial situation has been summarised here for you by the communications consultancy Evernine Group.
1. One decision maker & known topic/product/company
A classic example for this part of the matrix is the Nike shoe with high product and brand awareness and as a rule it is the wearer alone who decides whether to decorate his own foot in the future.
As soon as the product and the brand are known, brand awareness campaigns should not be in the foreground. Due to the brand awareness, many potential customers are looking for the product, which is why you should rely on a marketing mix of search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine advertising (SEA).
Those responsible for this part of the matrix are probably gazed at by their colleagues with envious glances. But don’t forget: companies in this area are often under considerable competitive pressure and therefore have to spend a lot of money on marketing activities in order to reach their customers in the first place. SEO measures are costly and long-term, while clicking on Google Ads can be extremely expensive in highly competitive markets. Therefore, always keep an eye on the ROI (Return on Invest) in performance marketing.
2. Many decision makers & unknown topic/product/company
Many medium-sized companies approach us in the Evernine Group and would like to carry out lead generation campaigns immediately – similar to what they know from “Nike shoe” marketing. If you want to burn as much money as possible in the shortest possible time, this is certainly an effective way. But fun by the side: Sales and marketing managers should be realistically aware in advance whether the product, service or their own company is known to the target group – or whether there is a need for explanation.
If you are unsure, we at Evernine recommend the “Digital Health Check”. This will analyse the extent to which your brand is already anchored in the web. This includes an analysis of the website, the social media channels, your presence on important industry magazines and the search engine ranking.
Native advertising to increase brand awareness
If you sell a product or service that requires explanation, we recommend the use of various content marketing measures. From a blog to your own corporate magazine, the focus should be on strengthening your brand and explaining what you have to offer. Focus on the pain points and needs of the target group and show how your (unknown) product can help.
Instead of focusing on marketing activities via Google Ads, which refer directly to the product page, we recommend the use of Native Advertising – for example via plista, Outbrain or Taboola. The previously published blog entries or articles can be brought closer to a very large audience by reading recommendations, for example on Handelsblatt.de, Wirtschaftswoche or Spiegel Online, whereby you can achieve an enormous increase in product and brand awareness. The advantage: As a rule, you pay considerably less for the clicks than with Google Ads.
Identify your target groups
In addition to increasing brand awareness, in this part of the matrix you should also be aware of who you have to convince with which arguments for the purchase decision.
In the case of products and services with a high sales volume, not only one person has sole decision-making power on the customer side. Instead, several decision makers with different needs, concerns and expectations have to be picked up. This means that you must have an overview of the entire buying center. This includes, for example, users, buyers, budget managers and managing directors.
Reach the Buying Center via Social Selling
As soon as you have identified your target groups and are taking initial measures to increase brand awareness, you need to pick up the individual decision-makers in a targeted manner. Everyone must be convinced and addressed correctly. Each position must have its own arguments and individual benefits. With a presence on LinkedIn, XING and Facebook, you can win new customers and maintain contact with your existing customers.
Use Big Data and Social Selling to make forecasts, analyze customer behavior and simplify processes.
Be bold and write directly to potential leads. In order to bring your products and services to the man or woman in need of explanation, it is advisable to have links with the previously created contents ready in Messenger. Depending on the level of the buying center and pain points, different contents should be used to describe how the existing problem can be solved by the product or service.
Stay in touch
Even if you may only sell products and services to a customer a few times in the B2B business, you should never let your contacts fall asleep.
You need to be there for the customer throughout the product lifecycle when it comes to maintenance, repair and disposal. Try to maintain and regularly refresh your customer relationships. Check to see if the customer is satisfied with your product and offer up-sell and cross-sell.
Provide training and information materials such as easy-to-understand videos on YouTube or a blog highlighting interesting new features.
Consulting for medium-sized companies
Would you like to learn more about the sale of products requiring explanation with many decision-makers? Feel free to contact our consultants from the Evernine Group. In a Digital Health Check, they analyse your initial situation and work together in various workshops to develop an effective marketing and sales strategy. You can find more information here.
Source cover: iStock/golero