A Question We See A Lot Is: How Do I Build A B2B Marketing Strategy?
The online marketing world has a language problem. First up, we love our jargon. And secondly, we tend to call everything marketing. But that’s not really accurate — I have an entire course on why that’s not accurate but I’ll save that for another day. What we’re going to cover today is the differences that you need to make in your marketing strategy and approach when it comes to serving Business to Business (B2B) vs Direct to Consumer (D2C) target audiences.
One of these things is not like the other and it makes a difference.
Because we love our jargon, let’s take a moment to define a few key terms and get clear on what we mean when we’re talking about B2B vs. D2C. At the end of the day, you’re still selling to people. It’s just a matter of the channels you’re going to go through and how many decision makers you have to move through to really be seen, heard, and taken seriously.
B2B: The Art of Marketing (aka talking to and influencing) Other Businesses
For our purposes we are looking at the way your marketing strategy will shift when you are a business (which we define as a team-based organization of more-than-one, unless you’re talking about consultants or coaches, at which point, it gets muddier) trying to sell your goods or services to another business. For example, a manufacturing company who is looking to sell to an engineering firm, a marketing agency or consultancy selling to a large organization to be their agency of record, a wholesaler selling to a retailer.
These are all examples of B2B relationships. While the fundamentals of a marketing strategy still hold true — your execution is going to look a little differently.
Recap: Marketing Strategy 101:
- You’re going to have to define your target audience. Who are you speaking to and who are the key decision-makers? (CEOs? HR reps? CFOs? Marketing Managers? CMOs?)
- You’re still going to have define the problem you solve for those people (better ROI on marketing dollars? Cheaper costs of goods sold? Faster delivery time which helps their bottom line? Resource and talent acquisition?)
- And yes, you’ll still need to have a clear and concise message to deliver (please stop serving everyone. <3 No-Where)
If you’ve got those pieces in place, we can get started. If you don’t, well we have blogs for that, too.
Diving In: Building A B2B Marketing Strategy That Works
Depending on the level of the decision-maker and the access you have to them, you’ll need to start by getting really clear on the mindset your target audience is in when they start to get curious about the solution you offer — B2B strategies tend to take longer because the stakes are usually higher — it’s much different thing when you’re trying to sign on a client for several thousand dollars worth of services over a 12 month period than if you’re trying to sell a ‘feel-good’ or ‘quick-win’ item to a customer scrolling on Facebook (Meta. Whatever.)
Here’s 3 of Our Favorite Approaches To Reaching Executive Decision-Makers:
- Find out where they hang out in-person and online — CEOs and other executives tend to hang out with other CEOs and executives and they tend to find groups and places to be that support and nurture the things they spend their days (and nights. oops) thinking about the most — growth, scalability, company culture, building teams, etc. Why? Well, it’s tough to run a business and most other people just don’t “get it” (ask us how we know). You kinda have to be one to know where to look but with some effort you can find a way to enter their ecosystem.
- Publish and produce content at their level. No business owner that I know still cares about the fluffy stuff — they want real solutions. They already know that things cost money and that people deserve compensation (mostly) so just focus on solving the problem and building the trust to show them that you know how to solve the problem.
- Delicately reach out. If you’ve identified the person that you need to talk to and what you have to offer is of real value, then there’s no reason to not find a way to connect with them on LinkedIn or via email. Sending authentic communication is the only path forward these days and it’s not one to be understated.
Producing Content That Matters:
Divulge yourselves, if you will, from the idea of moving everyone and everything that talks to you through a sales funnel. It doesn’t work that way, especially the more sophisticated of a business you intend to build. When we say that you need to produce content that matters to folks and reaches them at the levels that they’re at — what we mean is that you have to really get down and dirty about what it is that motivates people to take the next step in their decision-making process. What is it that you really, actually offer that makes folks want to create a lasting business relationship with you. Generally speaking, your audience is going to be more sophisticated than the typical “top of mind” Google would suggest. If those answers were good enough for them, they wouldn’t need you! So you’re going to have to go deeper into what it is you provide. And that takes clarity.
If we could sum up in one sentence what makes B2B Marketing so different from D2C is the clarity of it all. You can absolutely go broad and see who you attract with a D2C brand. They’re almost meant for it– who doesn’t love board games or good wine or a cool cheese board, right? But with B2B services, you have to be crystal clear on what you offer and who you serve.
Good luck out there!