As consumers, we are familiar with the concept of being marketed to. But it’s not until you turn it around and consider how to market to a range of stakeholders you realise it can be like solving a puzzle. However, when it comes to B2B marketing, where strategies change and patterns shift, being ahead means success. The 2024 landscape is even more vibrant and challenging than ever before and businesses need to adapt to survive and beat the competition.
This guide will take you through some powerful tricks that you can use to improve your B2B marketing efforts. These are the best B2B marketing strategies in 2024, with each element of the process designed to equip you to market your brand and create a relationship with customers who understand what your business is about.
But that’s not all! Explore the potential of creating direct leads from outbound channels and building value through omnichannel optimisation. In each section, you will find insights that will help you succeed in the fast-changing world of B2B.
Ready to redefine your approach and seize the opportunities that 2024 brings?
Understanding B2B Marketing
Business-to-business marketing is the type of marketing where one organisation sells its products or services to another. Unlike the B2C market that targets consumers, it possesses a number of distinctive features from this perspective.
Generally, B2B marketing content is often less persuasive and more informative than B2C. This happens because business purchase decisions focus more on their financial bottom line than consumer purchase decisions do. Usually, return on investment (ROI), is virtually never the primary concern of an average person when deciding to make a purchase. However, for corporate decision-makers and managers, it’s the most important consideration.
Establish a Consistent Brand Identity
Brand identity is an illustration aspect of a brand. Think of Apple’s bitten apple or KFC’s Colonel Sanders. These are examples of brand identity linked with a visual aspect. That said, a brand must build a strong visual image that connects to the brand.
A brand identity entails various branding elements that build up your brand. It shows how your brand expresses and describes itself through social media, marketing images and the brand’s colour. As a result, it strengthens the presence and popularity of the company in the market.
A successful brand not only saves the company from promotion costs, it also builds the brand to be a valuable asset itself.
Tips on building consistent B2B brand identity
As a competence and confidence tool, brand identity maintains your existing clients and attracts potential ones. On the contrary, brand inconsistency reflects your company’s poor performance, and sometimes distrust among your clients. To keep your brand identity polished, consider these tips:
Use your logo consistently
Your brand logo is the brand’s signature. It is good to have a number of your logo’s core variations for versatility reasons. You may have observed that logo designers present you with variations such as vertical, horizontal, two-level, tag-lined, black, white, icon or logo only, among others.
The most challenging part of brand identity consistency is picking up only a single logo variation and prioritising it for each of your marketing collateral. Other versions of this logo should then be saved for rare circumstances where the first choice wouldn’t do because of format or size. It enables your brand signature to appear far clearer to your customers, leading them to recognise it among many brands. Imagine discussing with a group of stakeholders, sipping from mugs with your brand’s logo easily fitting your brand’s identity into the process and creating a lasting impression.
Brand identity comes with infographics, background textures, photography, illustrations and icon styling. Setting a style for these visuals polishes your company and makes it appear consistent. If possible, icons should maintain one style. Using different styles, colours, line weights and details throughout your collateral will clash with your brand and make it look unprofessional and disjointed.
Your colour palette significantly contributes to your brand development. While having a specific set of colours is important, having them across various marketing materials is critical. That is, your palette should be versatile enough to expand your brand, but not too much to dilute how your brand feels and looks.
Pay attention to colour application. Identify the primary and the secondary colours, and how they relate to each other. Does the application fit to look like part of your brand family?
Can you identify your marketing copy? Is it professional with a consistent brand voice? Brand voice is the communication tool that shows your audience how you interact with your team. That said, try minimizing disconnections from your brand’s voice so it matches your audience’s expectations.
Researching your buyer persona
In 79% of B2B purchases, only six people or less are involved. Half of the buyers have started to spend more time on research, and the other half use multiple sources for research compared to the last year. That means winning B2B buyers just got more difficult than ever! But with the right strategies, you can easily woo them to the bottom of your sales funnel. How to do this? Identifying your buyer persona.
Why is the buyer persona important?
A buyer persona is simply your ideal customer profile (demographics, firmographics, psychographics). This analysis helps you understand your buyers on a more personal level so that in return you can create customised offers and tailor communications just for them.
In fact, most buyers usually expect personalised engagement for their needs. They prefer being treated as people, not numbers. So it is important you know their every detail, and to make the process easier, you need to identify their persona. These steps will help you do so:
Step 1: Identify the important details
Learn a few facts about your target audience, including:
Learn about your buyers’ gender, age group and locations. Identify their background, challenges, objectives, hobbies and interests, goals and fears.
You could start by researching your prospective buyer’s LinkedIn profiles. Learn their job title, skills, education level, team structure and their professional background. Also, check out their contribution and people reporting to them. Repeat the process for all levels of prospects, even influencers and decision-makers.
All these details will help you create a better experience for your prospective B2B buyers. For instance, you won’t have to give education on the industry for audiences at the director and managerial level like when interacting with those at the introductory level.
Next learn about the organisation your customers are linked to, their sizes and the type of industry. Know what products and services they give to their clients. With these details, you will work on communication and offers that impact their business positively. Also understanding their organisation and the challenges they face will help you give them a more personalised experience.
- Pain points – identify the stakeholders in the purchase, and understand their individual challenges.
- Goals – find what drives them
- Their life activities –how active are your prospective buyers on social media and work? It will help you know the best time to shoot them marketing messages.
- Success – know how they measure success in their role, so you can know how to make them look better in their organisation.
- Purchase process – understand the typical purchase process so you can know how to overcome potential barriers. It will also help you create marketing collaterals that are likely to appeal to them.
Step 2: Get the answers to step 1
A single source isn’t enough. You will need a variety to answer the above questions.
- Analyse your existing customer’s details and identify the trends in how they consume content
- Get information on the customers you interact with the most and see if you can generalise their interests, preferences and habits.
- You can utilise lead capture forms and get information directly from the prospects.
- Alternatively, interview your prospects and customers. This tactic is a win-win since customers like to be asked for their feedback, it makes them feel valued.
Step 3: Compile all you’ve gathered
You will start noticing the similarities and trends. You should then sort to categories (demographics, goals, challenges, purchase preference). That will be your outline for our buyer persona based on common characteristics.
Step 4: Create your buyer persona
It’s time to bring your buyer persona to life. There are many tools online that create buyer personas. Put them on paper and let your team do the magic.
Get leads from outbound channels
Like most B2B marketers, you probably believe that inbound marketing is the only gateway. Besides, who wouldn’t love getting leads from social media posts and engaging content on their websites? While it is an effective strategy, it is not all your toolbox has to offer.
Outbound marketing channels offer great value from B2B companies, generating new leads, building brand awareness and driving sales. These channels allow target reach, making it seamless to engage with the right leads. To make full use of these channels consider these tactics:
Engage potential customers across the digital space at multiple touch points.
These are responsive ads that appear on search results pages and vary as the incoming performance data. The cost is usually on a pay-per-click model for a qualified model. For this, find keywords that match your offers so you won’t waste money and time attracting the wrong users.
These are visual ads that appear in websites that your target audience frequently visits. Google ads are recognized as the most converting in the b2b space. About 5 to 10% produce high performance.
This involves reaching users who previously engaged with your website but never converted. Retargeting works with user’s behaviour, like those who visited certain product(s) but didn’t make a purchase and personalize the ad and CTAs.
Social media ads
Social media offers a great opportunity for marketers to engage with decision-makers and professionals directly. Choose platforms that provide features that target specific leads and message the right users. LinkedIn is a good example because its tool allows social media ads to target your ideal audience. LinkedIn campaign management will tailor your campaigns, enhance engagement rates and improve resonance with the target profiles.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Take advantage of search engines to target high-intent leads. Initiate campaigns based on buyer personas, competitor insights and historical data. It maximizes your investment when you reach the most relevant audience.
Regularly adjusting your bids and other variables to fine-tune your campaigns is also important. It improves your ad performance and sees you reach quality leads for less.
Common misconceptions about outbound marketing channels
There are several misconceptions about this type of marketing channel in the b2b world, and these are the most prevalent:
It is dead
Outbound marketing is far from dead. Most people believe inbound marketing is the only way to a successful b2b business, and that outbound can no longer match its effectiveness. While inbound marketing is a powerful tactic, outbound channels are still valuable for driving sales and reaching new prospects.
Some people find outbound marketing as spammy, and that it’s just about cold calling and sending unsolicited emails. These tactics are usually ineffective and may damage your company’s reputation, but there are more targeted and personalized outbound marketing strategies.
It’s too expensive
You don’t need a heavy investment to go for outbound marketing channels and no. these channels are not for large companies. There are several affordable outbound marketing channels, like social media advertising and email marketing, that are as effective to small and medium-sized businesses.
It is less measurable compared to inbound marketing
As most people assume, outbound is more difficult to track and measure since you reach out to prospects rather than wait for them to reach out to you. However, there are technologies and tools that track outbound marketing effectiveness such as web analytics, call tracking and click-through rates.
Optimising with the omnichannel approach
The omnichannel sales approach involves offering integrated services to clients on all channels, and platforms, or using any communication devices. Companies that do their omnichannels right will draw in more new customers and keep their existing buyers.
Omnichannel experience used to be just an extra point, but now it is a must for offering clients compelling proposals. Soon enough, it became essential to survive. Surprisingly, organizations implementing omnichannel strategies actually manage to retain up to 89% of their clients. In addition, an effective omnichannel approach might result in more revenue collection, less cost incurred while serving the customers and satisfaction of the customers.
There is no denying that the benefits of an omnichannel are awesome but the transition towards an omnichannel environment is hard for B2B companies in particular. Because of increased channel visibility, traditional pricing has made it increasingly difficult to standardize prices by customers for ad hoc or spot discounts. This then poses an important question: how can B2B companies move into an omnichannel model?
But first, why does it even matter?
The role of marketing is to stimulate demand for goods and services, so the revenue team wants to know the benefits of investing in these activities.
With all channels linked in one platform, B2B sales professionals and marketers are able to prove value using an omnichannel marketing approach. Moreover, it enables go-to-market (GTM) teams to realize early what is wrong, thereby enhancing its efficiency.
Also, it should be mentioned that today’s B2B customer is more intricate than the former days of cold calls. In the last several years, the number of channels for B2B buyer have grown up by double. As a marketing and sales specialist, you must understand that every platform of communication with prospects can be turned into the beginning of meaningful conversation.
How to transition to an omnichannel approach
These five steps will get you up and running:
Identify target accounts
It is usually, just a little, but crucial gap between starting out and starting right properly. Identify existing accounts you can target so as to give your omnichannel marketing practice a shot.
Your sales and marketing objectives will guide what an account should be based on, for it to qualify as worth targeting. This may include the size of a firm, type of technology used, or maturity level in the buyer decision process. Concentrating on optimal accounts will enhance your omnichannel marketing effectiveness and allow you to scale.
You should also consider total addressable market (TAM) segmentation. B2B market segmentation will help define who you are going to target among the accounts in order to determine whether they may be good targets for a specific product or service.
Finally, you may be seeking some additional credit and revisiting your buyer personas could assist with crafting impactful messaging. It’s important to remember though in B2B marketing that beyond your GTM there’s a human who has certain priorities and particular situations, therefore you should bear it in mind when trying to promote goods or services.
Use clean data at all times
Data is omnichannel marketing’s strength. Unclean data can halt a project, whereas clean data will propel it forward. That’s why you should ensure that you have good-quality data.
· Capturing only the old behaviours will not help as trends keep changing very fast.
· Inappropriate or non-existent data in a campaign can adversely affect its effectiveness.
· Duplicated data can create conflicts among sales personnel in an organization hence wasting marketing resources in addition to double communications with prospective customers.
In order to ensure that your omnichannel marketing strategy succeeds ensure that you clean and manage your CRM data by filling in missing fields, checking account territories and eliminating redundancies.
Balance sales and marketing
The process of developing an effective omnichannel B2B marketing strategy is easier with the joint efforts of sales and market teams. Remember, it’s not just about sharing a common agenda or collaborating in pursuit of their respective dreams; rather, they are fully joined in unity, as partners seeking to fulfil one common vision.
However, when sales professionals and marketer concentrates in their channel, one or even more fruits might arise respectively with limited power. The mutual benefit is seen when the two groups row in the same direction from the beginning. Also, customers feel that they are dealing with one organization and not just two separate departments bringing about a uniform experience.
Through collaboration, sales and marketing become one in promoting the right programs to the desired market. This is by focusing their TAL onto the ICP and then targeting business at each journey stage depending on the journey stage and intent signals. It is an approach that makes a strong omnichannel marketing strategy for your revenue team and also gives a relevant experience to your prospector accounts.
Determine prospect touchpoints
For every customer segment and stage of the journey, you must decide upon what touchpoints and places of brand engagement are most essential.
These are only but a few important touch points you should always make while doing your omni-channel marketing.
Most customers nowadays begin by conducting heavier investigations on accounts and, in most cases, it is through websites that they get connected with the sellers’ side. It is crucial for companies to find ways of turning visitors not only to good impressions but also to warm leads.
Digital communications and channels are critical media through which the firm runs its business. However, the factor of human quality sales support is usually the customer’s most valuable point. Even the sales team can become more dynamic by taking into consideration how they get involved in new prospective business opportunities based on customer engagement through omnichannel marketing techniques.
As such, ongoing account management isn’t all about just making a call every time a client rings. Look at this touch point from a wider perspective about what it can entail. You can use all channels: such as customized or personalized emails, engaging social media content, and retargeted display ads.
Armed with these 4 must-have strategies, you’re well prepared for success in any B2B marketing venture. These are some key strategies, from building a solid brand identity to developing an omnichannel approach. Therefore, you must put in place these strategies so you move forward into the changing b2b marketing environment of 2024 equipped for success.
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