For far too long, business-to-business (B2B) marketing has been considered the ‘dull cousin’ of the vibrantly creative business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing star. But in a post-covid world, B2B marketing’s vanilla, safe, buttoned up and boring days are well and truly over.
The B2B decision-maker is a ‘person’ not a ‘business’
Behind every B2B purchase decision is a person, or team of decision-makers. You’re still marketing and selling to people. This means, in today’s highly competitive landscape, experiential marketing, personalised campaigns and messaging that creates an emotional connection is more important in B2B marketing than ever before.
You might be surprised to learn that, according to Google, “On average, B2B customers are significantly more emotionally connected to their vendors and service providers than consumers.” B2B brands that make emotional connections with customers have double the impact of marketing, conveying functional value. Further, 86% of B2B buyers see “no real difference between suppliers,” meaning your brand needs to stand out.
This is why at AZK Media, we work with our clients to ensure all messaging, branding and positioning is as ‘human’ and ‘emotionally intuitive’ as possible. What industry pain points does your product solve? How are you helping your customers? Trust, confidence and empowerment needs to exude from all aspects of your creative and corporate messaging.
Where are your decision-makers?
The majority of B2B decision-makers you want to make an impression on are the same people who spend their spare time, scrolling their LinkedIn feeds, listening to podcasts or watching online videos. To even be noticed, let alone stand out, B2B marketing must be sophisticated and multichannel.
So ask yourself, would your customer really stop to click on a boring B2B banner ad? Or would they stop and watch an engaging video of a thought leader, explaining a serious business problem that can be solved with your solution?
At AZK Media, we quickly realised how video marketing and podcast production can be a powerhouse tool in B2B marketing, and our integrated B2B multi-media campaigns are being leveraged worldwide by B2B vendors who want a unique and high-performing strategy without the internal heavy lifting. The secret is creating videos, podcasts and subsequent PR content, using key thought leaders and influencers that your customers love and would listen to.
Explain what you do, but differently
In a remote and hybrid environment, customers can’t experience your brand and product. But they still want engaging and interactive digital experiences and social engagement. So don’t just do a ‘boring product launch’. Make it interactive!
Create an interactive landing page with a demo video, run a powerful PR campaign against it, add the video content to a paid social campaign, and then have a hybrid launch party. Make some noise, and make it fun. This is what we do at AZK Media for our clients, which means zero stress for the marketing lead internally.
Customer reviews are gold
Like B2C marketing, customer reviews are just as important in B2B marketing. That’s why integrated customer advocacy campaigns are so crucial for driving demand in B2B. As an example, at AZK Media, we create a video customer review, an SEO landing page, and then direct an organic PR campaign and paid social campaign to that landing page.
Typically, a marketing lead would have to hire a video agency, PR agency, copywriter and digital agency to do all of this, which becomes a logistical nightmare. But with us, we run it all seamlessly, meaning bigger results faster - and at scale.
B2B marketing and sales is evolving
One-size-fits-all B2B marketing fits no one. But truly innovative, creative risks that are tailored to your audiences can pay off in unprecedented ways. Take a look at Cheetah Digital, as an example. They are running exceptional B2B campaigns, featuring Seinfeld’s ‘Newman’ and Motley Crue’s Tommy Lee Jones. Or Sisense, who are leveraging ‘Cameo’ to make fun and quirky videos around data analytics, featuring well-loved celebrities.
The key is to push boundaries, and let your marketing do the ‘soft sell’ in fresh, creative and engaging ways. Done well, it can significantly lessen sales lead times and take the ‘outbound’ load off your sales team.
The future of B2B marketing is exciting. Are you ready for it?
Azadeh Williams is the founder and managing partner of Global B2B Media and Marketing Agency AZK Media.