What B2B marketing skills can bring to the B2C sector
Sometimes B2B marketing is tough, it’s competitive, results driven and could be considered to be the unsexy cousin of B2C…
I read a great article this week: Unsexy, Compliant and Boring? The B2B Content Challenge. Aside from some good general tips, I felt like I was reading an article from a marketer who really understood the challenges of B2B marketing. Giving some examples of sexy B2C campaigns, Catherine says;
This is not the world in which your average B2B marketing professional operates. You try being quirky and viral when your product offering is highly specialist and complex, your sales cycle runs into years, and your prospects range from junior researchers to chief executives. Or, when you have to squeeze content out of reluctant yet verbose product managers, dodging legal and compliance bullets as you go.
So how can a B2B organisation – often with little editorial expertise in-house, limited content budgets and lots of internal resistance – respond to the constant demand for effective, measurable, marketable content?
She might just be talking about content but this could apply to many aspects of the job. However, it’s time to open up a can of Man-Up and show these B2C marketers what classic B2B skills could bring to their marketing.
I reckon my time as a B2B marketer has really helped me to develop in these areas:
Knowing what converts a client
It’s great to know that a mass of people are engaging with your social media (#ThingsThatMakeB2CMarketersHappy) but you really need to know the nitty gritty of how they are converting, or more importantly, where they are dropping out. Generally you have a smaller pool of available clients in a B2B market and are converting a lower number of clients but for high value services so conversion rates start to really matter. Time to learn where to source the best possible leads, know and analyse your sales funnel and find out you can do to win that pitch! Review and learn again and again because every pitch matters and get competitive!
Eeking the best out of your budget
Here’s £2.50 and a ball of string, now go make me a marketing campaign and you better show results to the board by next Friday. This is the world of B2B marketing budgets, especially if you work for an SME. They want sales and they want them now because that keeps the business going and if you don’t get results you get fired. It’s motivating though and teaches you to focus on the campaigns that work not just what you think would be fun.
Always learning from business people.
When your clients are all business people you learn about many different types of businesses, how they market themselves and what makes them tick. I find it inspiring to meet people who run their own companies or head up impressive departments; but more than that it teaches you about what makes some people successful and others not. Now how can you apply that knowledge to your own business? A marketer doesn’t just send out emailers – they need to guide strategic growth and product development too so good knowledge of how businesses work is useful.
Negotiating like no-one has before!
The sales process is long in the B2B market and negotiation is inevitable to seal the deal, unlike a B2C market where you may never meet the customer before they make a buying decision. Successful business people are successful because they know how to negotiate. If you try selling to that person on a regular basis you will pick up some tips. This feeds back into your marketing when it comes to persuading people through marketing copy and collateral, negotiating with external suppliers and negotiating internally to get what you want. Let’s not underestimate that last point, it’s a big deal in marketing to be able to persuade senior management to follow your strategic recommendations and to gain financial sign off on budgets and contributions from staff for content and campaign support.
Implementing a successful marketing strategy is a bit like this:
The value of face to face time with the client.
As a B2B marketer you usually end up spending a lot of time around your clients at conferences, exhibition, meeting them in the office; you might even be selling to them directly and be supporting the sales team in pitches. This gives you valuable insight into what client needs are and what pushes their buttons. You know it’s important and B2C marketers should spend time getting under their customers skins too, not researching cold dead statistics but meeting or speaking to real people.
Understanding the importance of networks.
You know that guy who you went to school with who’s sister’s husband is now the Sales Director at that client you’d like to do business with? This is a familiar story in B2B world when you’re seeking out leads. It’s handy too when you’re calling in some favours to find speaking slots, guest bloggers, suppliers and other opportunities. By the way, have you added me on LinkedIn?
Well that’s a few points, I bet there are more. I reckon we could all learn a lot from each other so if you have any tips you want to add please do comment!