5 Myths of B2B Marketing
B2C marketing is trendy. There’s a glut of information available about how a business can reach out to individual customers. There is relatively little information available regarding B2B marketing. Because of this lack of information, it’s important to take a discerning look at B2B on its own instead of lumping it in with B2C. Let’s take a look at 5 common myths of B2B marketing to elucidate some key differences and challenges of B2B marketing.
1. B2B Marketing is Essentially the Same as B2C Marketing
Although there are many aspects of B2B marketing that overlap with B2C, B2B marketing is still a completely different beast than B2C. Your target audience in B2B marketing is going to be a business and employees within said business. B2B customers usually have a pretty good idea of what they want. They may desire to be educated to some degree, but they have honed in on their goal much more completely, in general, than your average B2C customer. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that all of your standard B2C techniques will transfer over to B2B marketing.
2. Social Media is Always Beneficial for B2B
Social media is an incredibly powerful tool in this digital age in which we live. It allows a company or individual to reach out to millions of people in a moment through numerous compelling media channels. Despite this value, it is not always ideal for B2B marketing. The customers you attempt to target often won’t be interested in finding product or service information on Facebook. They may feel that Pinterest is not professional enough to yield valuable results. LinkedIn can be among the social media networks that are effective for B2B, but before you start to launch a concerted social media campaign, make sure that you first verify that your audience is interested in using social media for business.
3. Outbound Marketing is Ideal for B2B
Let’s start by clarifying that outbound marketing most certainly has its place in an effective marketing strategy as a whole. However, it may be more effective in B2C than in B2B, and here’s why: As previously mentioned, B2B customers usually have a better idea of what they are looking for than B2C customers. This means that reaching out to them with outbound marketing can be ineffective or even counterproductive. B2B customers are used to parsing through the fluff to get what they want, and pestering them with constant outbound marketing can drive them away. Instead of outbound marketing, take a look at inbound marketing for an effective B2B strategy. Inbound marketing is basically marketing that focuses on helping customers to find you, instead of reaching out to them. Therein lies its B2B marketing power.
4. B2B Marketing Should Only be Done Through Networking
This is actually a rather common, and surprising, viewpoint. Many marketers, both agency and in-house, have become jaded after watching various marketing efforts not show results in the B2B sphere. This is largely due to our first myth. After various marketing techniques fail, very traditional methods such as networking are reverted to. There is definitely a place for networking in B2B marketing and business development. However, it most certainly is not the only effective method. There are numerous marketing techniques available today that, when slated for B2B effectiveness, can produce sustained positive results.
5. B2B Marketing Starts At the Contact Form
There’s a rather pervasive belief in many B2B businesses that the sales and marketing process only begins when a potential customer submits a request for quote. This belief hampers marketing efforts to a very significant degree. Although you may not hear directly from a customer until they submit an RFQ, make no mistake, they have been researching and vetting your product or service long before they get to this point.
It is for this reason that SEO is such a valuable tool for B2B marketing. SEO allows a B2B company to get involved in the pipeline earlier and more effectively. If you actually believe that you have no control over the process until an RFQ is submitted, then you have already missed an opportunity. Making sure that not only what you present is the message your customer wants, but also that they can find said message is absolutely crucial to marketing in a B2B world.
SEO allows a B2B company to have some control in the initial search stage over what the customer finds and how quickly they find it. This is critical to not only bringing satisfactory volume to your product or service, but also to closing the sale. The less a potential customer needs to search to find what they want the more likely they are to convert into a paying customer. SEO for B2B marketing is about enabling potential customers to find and be delighted by what you have to offer.
Sometimes we forget that for anyone desiring to perform effective marketing for any business, one must first understand their market. B2B is a unique market and there are many tactics that simply don’t transfer from B2C. If you make sure that you are marketing within the proper context you will have much more success in the long term.
Andrew Dean is an account manager at Globe Runner.
Photo credit: Zachary Korb