6 B2B Marketing Strategies You Should Immediately Update

by Blackwood Impact Group

The basic principles of marketing are timeless, such as having concise messages and targeting them to specific audiences. Execution tactics, methodologies, and channels, however, are continually evolving. With rapid technology advancements, shifting customer norms, and changes in local and international regulations, it is critical for B2B companies to remain agile by keeping their marketing strategies up to date.

In less than 20 years since the 21st century began, business practices have rapidly changed. B2B companies tend to adapt slower than their  B2C counterparts. But as we head into the third decade of the century, now is the perfect time for B2Bs to reevaluate their marketing processes and systems to ensure they are not vulnerable to threats due to using decades-old tactics.

Strategy Update #1 – Data Privacy and Security

By the time the year 2000 arrived, many businesses had realized the importance of having a web presence. In those days, email marketing was still young, and some doubted that eCommerce would ever become “a thing.”

Fast forward 19 years and the landscape is vastly different. Protecting your website visitor’s information and how you communicate with them is now heavily regulated. Although implemented in the European Union, their GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) standards affect businesses in any country that might serve EU citizens. The regulations went into effect on May 25, 2018.

Now is the perfect time to review how you collect information and keep it safe if your website performs any of these actions online: collect email addresses and other personal contact information, collect credit card data, conducts live chats, conduct webinars, and more.  Also, consider updating your privacy policy. Be proactive about implementing security (SSL) certificates for your website as Google now penalizes your web ranking for not being secure.

Strategy Update #2 – Content Marketing

Content marketing is a cornerstone principle for B2B sales. It helps companies build their network of potential partners plus grow and nurture their lead database with thought leadership. B2B companies recognize its importance. But, according to OptinMonster, only 37% of surveyed B2B marketers have a documented content marketing strategy.

Even more revealing, over 60% of B2B marketers find it challenging to produce engaging content, do so consistently, and don’t know how to measure the ROI (return on investment) of their campaigns. If any of these statistics are descriptive of your business, it is time to establish or revise your marketing strategy, plus ensure it is documented. Your strategy must also contain key performance indicators (KPI’s) or trackable metrics.

Content marketing has certainly matured in the first two decades of the 21st century. With more and more companies, brands, and individuals flooding social media with links to their videos, podcasts, and articles, the competition for attention is fierce. Standing head and shoulders above your competition now require more targeted efforts.

Following good content marketing practices is only the beginning. Sticking to a consistent production schedule is expected. But proactively promoting your content beyond one email or social post is necessary. Having a steady flow of good, informative content is expected. But producing content that surprises, delights, and draws your audience into your world is mandatory.

Generally targeting your content for a particular demographic is expected. But having content that deeply explores your target audience’s questions, pain points, and most profound desires is necessary for building their trust that you can solve their challenges.

The more specific and relevant to your audience your content is, the more you will improve your chances of capturing brand loyalty and market share. If your content doesn’t speak to your target audience, they will delete, mute, unsubscribe from, or ignore it.

Strategy Update #3 – Video Marketing

If the content is “king,” then video marketing is the “Caesar” of the content marketing empire. Video marketing has moved from “maybe we’ll do it next year,” to “must start now!” LinkedIn, arguably the most influential exclusively business-themed social media platform, introduced support for native video in 2017 (Statistic on the percentage of video content that is consumed).

Video marketing is no longer just for B2C environments. It has been growing leaps and bounds in the B2B segment. Companies that do not have video as part of their content marketing mix is missing out on capturing their audience’s attention in a meaningful way.

If you haven’t started with videos yet, start now. If you’ve done a few but haven’t solidified a strategy, it’s time to prioritize it. Allocate a portion of your marketing budget for video production and promotion. Videos are highly consumed because it is a compelling storytelling medium that engages all the senses.

Video’s importance isn’t slowing down so invest wisely in producing a wide variety of content for the medium. For example, in addition to the standard thought leadership and subject matter informational videos, plan content that shows off your company culture, client testimonials, case studies, or “a day in the life” of your business.

Strategy Update #4 – Branding

Branding couldn’t be more important in today’s saturated marketplace. There are so many other aspects to your brand that must be attended to beyond your logo and color scheme.

Your brand must appeal to the right audience and should be characterized by laser-focused messages and bold promises. Your value propositions should inherently hook your audience emotionally so that the loyalty bond you create between you and them is hard to break.

Attending to the verbal aspects of your brand will be a great place to begin revising. You should also consider restrategizing the interactive content and customer experiences aspects of your brand. Here are Blackwood Impact Group suggestions on how you can successfully reimagine your brand:

  • Is Your “Clickbait” Branding Confusing Your Prospects and Clients?
  • How to Correct a Confusing “Clickbait” Brand: Verbal Brand Communication
  • How to Correct a Confusing “Clickbait” Brand: Visual Branding
  • How to Correct a Confusing “Clickbait” Brand: Interactive Content and Customer Experience

Ultimately, all aspects of your brand should work in tandem to be an accurate representation of who you are as a company, what you stand for (your values), and how you deliver on your brand promise. From your visuals to your website, to phone support, to in-person interactions with your customer-facing and back-end teams, anywhere your customers and prospects encounter your brand should be a consistent and positive experience. That’s the real power of a cohesive brand.

Strategy Update #5 – Measuring Marketing Results

Gone are the days of “spray-and-pray” marketing: spraying your messages and campaigns anywhere you can without a strategy, then praying it will produce paying customers. Targeted, measurable marketing is now the name of the game. With today’s fierce fight for attention, B2Bs must understand which campaigns are producing profits and when it’s time to pivot.

Beyond building KPIs into your campaigns, employ business intelligence (BI) tools to help track performance. SAAS products such as Grow.com  Tableau.com and Google dashboards can help you analyze data and give you the insight you need to make critical decisions.

Website SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and its twin, SEM (Search Engine Marketing) is still critically important. SEO has matured beyond its early days of being a panicked race for a first page ranking on Google. Long term authority and high organic listings for targeted long term keywords are at the forefront of today’s strategies.

The deeper into the sales cycle your prospects are, you can be sure they are searching for more information. They are also comparing you to your competitors. It is essential your information is findable online and ranks as well as your counterparts.

If PPC (pay-per-click) advertising on Google or Social Media platforms such as Facebook or LinkedIn is a part of your marketing mix, it could be time to reassess your strategies there as well. Each of the platforms has been investing in its ability to make targeting the exact customers you’re looking for more accurate. Update your search and targeting parameters and measure results to ensure you are getting the best ROI.

Be sure to leave room in your budget to experiment with new marketing channels. You never know what could be a breakout success. Consider investing in developing strategic partnerships. We outlined some considerations in a previous resource, Strategic Partnerships: An Underutilized Revenue Stream.

Another underutilized tool in the B2B space is influencer marketing. The personalities you connect with do not have to be a celebrity; in fact, it might work better if it isn’t. A person or solo business owner who has a highly engaged following around their book, blog, podcast, YouTube, or Facebook presence can be an excellent opportunity for partnering and leveraging their credibility.

Strategy Update #6 – Customer Experience

You can be highly successful at drawing in new paying customers. But if they do not enjoy their experience working with you, you can quickly lose them to a competitor and your efforts would have been wasted. Customer experience is a critical aspect of your brand that can differentiate and set you apart from everyone else in your space.

Creating a cohesive customer experience involves every aspect of your company and starts from the top down. It goes beyond how your clients and prospects interact with your sales and customer service teams. So be sure to take a holistic, operational approach in redesigning and documenting your exceptions for customer experience.

Every team member in every department must understand that they play a critical role in executing the customer experience, whether they are client facing or not. To successfully become a customer-centric environment requires clarity, understanding, and buy-in from each of your team members. Invest in training, so there is alignment throughout the company with the vision. Be willing to allow team members to exit your business if they feel they cannot commit to executing the vision.

The thought of making significant changes to one or more of your marketing strategies can be daunting. If you’ve read through this and feel you need to make changes in all six areas, it can be overwhelming to determine where to start. But we are here to help.

One easy way to start is by accessing our article and resource entitled The Ultimate Marketing Plan Template.  This tool goes beyond a surface fill-in-the-blank worksheet or simple check-list of “to-dos.” It will lead you through an in-depth self-assessment to prepare you for leveling up.

Another easy way to start is with a no-obligation consultation with our team. We are equipped to help you determine the right next steps for your business, develop effective strategies based on modern techniques, plus guide you through the implementation phase.  Reach out to us today at 770-502-6295 or info@blackwoodimpactgroup.com.