The world of B2B marketing is colliding with the world of B2C marketing. That is, the lines between B2B and B2C are starting to blur. We’ve seen this happen in a variety of ways. For instance, B2C marketers were among the early adopters of social media and hit the ground running to connect with their customer base. Today, it’s increasingly common for B2B marketers to be active in social media channels like Facebook and Twitter.
This trend is manifesting itself in other ways too. Some B2B companies are borrowing marketing strategies that are already proven to work in the B2C world. Here are four examples of strategies that B2B marketers can incorporate into their own marketing.
1. Use Marketing to Reduce Reliance on Outside Sales
Many B2B companies still rely on an outside sales force to educate buyers about their product, negotiate a final price and close deals. B2B marketers can help reduce reliance on outside sales by providing comprehensive product information (e.g. specifications, pricing, demos, free trials, etc.) on the Web. While a lot of B2B buying activity still happens offline, but studies have found that 70 percent of buying activity still happens before a sales rep is engaged so it makes sense to put all this information online.
2. Offer a Free Trial of Your Product
Providing a free trial of your product is difficult if you have a high cost of goods sold (e.g. insurance) but it can be a great marketing strategy if you have a fairly low cost of goods sold (e.g. Cloud software). The important thing is that you not give away a full functional version of your product because then people don’t have a good reason to buy. In the marketing, make sure that you’re only giving a limited version of your product away.
3. Gamify Your Customer Feedback Process
Regardless of whether you’re in B2B or B2C marketing, getting customer testimonials and feedback is great marketing material. But finding advocates can be tough. B2B marketers should consider gamifying the process to create challenges that provide customers with an incentive to help you with your marketing. For instance, marketers could give away a $100 gift card in exchange for someone providing a case study.
4. Make Your Marketing an Interactive Game
B2C marketing has done a great job of creating marketing that we can interact with. For instance, the Nike FuelBand turns working out into a game that resonates with the Nike brand and products. B2B marketers should consider trying to turn their marketing into a game that demonstrates the value of your product as well. A great example is SonicWALL, which created a network security game that demonstrates the value of enterprise level security by asking users to decide what should be let past security and what shouldn’t. The point is to fail so you see that manually controlling this won’t work and you need an automated security solution.
As B2B and B2C continue to converge, we’re likely to see more savvy B2B marketers borrow more proven B2C strategies and tailor them to the world of the enterprise. Got other great ideas? Leave a comment below.
This guest post is written by Derek Singleton, CRM Analyst at Software Advice--a website that helps software buyers select the right software to support their business. You can connect with him at [email protected].
The Eye/Comm Blog
Every business should be using social media. Used effectively, social media can greatly enhance your bottom line. Keep in mind that every business is different so the way you design your strategy will be different, but the basic premise and processes will be similar.
- The first key is to set your goals by deciding what are you trying to accomplish. Are you going after leads, branding or more website visits, etc.
- The next big one is deciding which social media channels to use. There will be great variation depending on your goals and who you are trying to reach. It is important to decide which channels will be your primary targets. You should have a presence on as many as possible, but your primary targets should be narrowed down to 3.
- Make sure that everyone on your team is taught about your social media plan and is on board with it. Social media for your company takes a team. Everyone on that team needs to know what the goals are and how to respond when issues arrive.
- Really take time to figure out who your target audience is and how they think. Once you are in their shoes you can really focus on what is going to get them to respond to you and meet your goals.
- Lastly, you should create a blog for your company. The blog needs to be useful to your target audience and should be set on a consistent schedule. Look for employees to help you create the content that are not just word savvy but for individuals who can provide valuable information. Look to customer service reps, who have firsthand knowledge of what your customers want to know.
Don’t be afraid of social media. It can really help your business grow. Remember, it is OK to be funny and create a humanized brand for your company. Keep it in line with your corporate culture as well as you goals. Make sure you are testing and measuring to see what is working and what is not.
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