Effective marketing is no easy feat. It’s a balancing act of audiences, budgets, and tactical channel decisions. Throw in the complexities of marketing to other organizations, and it’s tricky to know where to start. Your overarching growth marketing strategy needs to speak to your sales goals and objectives as a business. With one of the top trends for 2021 being personalization, you must understand who you’re talking to and how you will relay your message. Here’s how personalization will take your B2B strategy to the next level.
[Read More: B2B Content Marketing: The Quick & Easy Guide]
What is B2B Marketing?
A B2B marketing strategy focuses on business-to-business sales. You need to gear the content you create at other businesses or organizations rather than individual consumers. Unlike B2C (business-to-customer) strategies, B2B tactics need to consider the various stakeholders who impact the purchase decision. More often than not, multiple people are involved in the decision-making process, drawing out the sales cycle. Your strategy must communicate a clear benefit to your product or service, something that’s quantifiable to a potential client.
The Key Differences Between B2B and B2C Marketing
1. B2B buyers are more rational
It may seem like a controversial statement, but B2B buyers make more considered purchase decisions. Consumers are often less informed about the product they’re buying, focusing on the brand positioning. It may be easy to drop $300 on a leather jacket you love, while it’s a little trickier to buy an automated payroll solution without identifying the benefits the service includes. Simply put, a consumer is far less likely to ask whether a product has a good return on investment.
2. B2B products are often more complex
The product you’re marketing is likely to be more complex than a tangible thing. Your average consumer may not require special skills to understand their leather jacket, but they will need a degree of knowledge to understand your product. A B2B buyer is incredibly interested in the technical details; specifics are crucial.
3. Your audience is smaller
It’s not uncommon for an FMCG business to boast ten to twelve different customer segments. As a B2B company, you’ll likely have three or four. Having a smaller target audience doesn’t mean that there are fewer opportunities. It just means that you have fewer buckets available to you. The solution you’re providing will be relevant to these limited buckets; the pools will just be bigger. The most common B2B segments include:
- A price-focused segment
- A quality and brand-focused segment
- A service-focused segment
- A partnership-focused segment
4. Your audience is smaller
A significant feature of B2B marketing is personal relationships. If you’re a small B2B supplier, your sales representatives or technicians are probably on first-name terms with their regulars. It’s about developing a sense of trust which often leads to commitment and loyalty in the long run.
The importance of relationships in B2B marketing is also a barrier to entry. If you’re coming in as a new brand looking to provide a solution, you’ll need to forge that relationship from scratch, proving the superiority of your product.
5. B2B buyers are more demanding
B2B buyers have the responsibility to make the right decision when purchasing on behalf of their organization. It adds another level of pressure to the sales funnel. As a B2B marketer, you need to meet their needs, exceeding their basic requirements. They’re usually experts in their field and will happily tear your product to shreds if it isn’t up to scratch. It’s your job to highlight how your product will benefit their business, leaving nothing up to chance.
Why Personalization Is The Top B2B Marketing Trend For 2021
Now that we understand the difference between B2B and B2C marketing, it’s no wonder that personalization is at the forefront of B2B trends in 2021.
According to a report from Salesforce, 72% of buyers expect B2B companies to personalize their communications. 69% of consumers are happy to provide their personal information to banks to receive a tailored experience, and business representatives are no different. B2B buyers expect practical suggestions and examples. There is no one-size-fits-all approach.
4 Strategies To Improve Marketing Personalization
1. Get to know your audience
The only way to ensure your audience receives a genuine, authentic experience is to complete thorough research. You need to understand their defining features, building this into the way you communicate your offering. Use analytics tools like Hootsuite for social media or Google Analytics for website traffic to gather insights that will drive your communication strategy.
2. Create buyer personas
Once you have identified your audience, create different buyer personas. They can link back to the segments discussed earlier, like price-sensitive or brand-focused. You can then segment your communications, creating targeted landing pages on your site. Take it a step further with a dedicated account rep who aligns with that persona, focusing on the most prevalent USPs to their business objectives. Spend some time identifying pain points for your target industries, allowing you to incorporate metrics that matter.
3. Add email marketing to the mix
In the B2C space, personalized email marketing has become the norm; the same should go for B2B. Personalized email marketing and lead nurturing will increase your conversion rate.
The Expert Institute tried this tactic with a one-to-one campaign built around personalized mails from their vice president of client relations, George Cuchural. They cleaned their database, ensuring all subscriber first names were correct (a crucial step in the process). Customers felt like they were connecting with a person of authority. Reinforce something like this with personalized follow-up content, and you’ll soon be smashing your sales targets.
4. Personalize your content marketing
We’ve established that B2B customers are focused on expertise. Ensure that your content marketing satisfies this priority, offering valuable information that informs and confirms your authority. Serve strategic content pieces into their relevant buying persona buckets, and you’ll fortify your footing in this space.
Your B2B marketing strategy needs to prioritize personalization if you want to stay relevant in 2021. You’re already facing more hurdles than B2C strategies with a picky buyer that demands the perfect solution. Your marketing plan needs to rise to the challenge, speaking to your audience on a relatable level and giving them real-life insights into the difference your product will make.