If you are sci-fi film buff, Charlton Heston’s desperate plea, “Soylent Green is people!” from the classic movie (it’s dark, overwrought and partially in fun) is something today’s marketers should note. Your return on investment is dependent on people because people are essential to the modern B2B marketing strategy that actually drives real ROI.
I’m launching this thread because of a combination of client observations, conversations I’ve been having with rising stars, developments in AI and recent announcements from certain tech companies regarding their own learnings about marketing’s impact on earnings and business health. It’s become clear to me that personnel challenges remain a basic, stubborn impediment still keeping many companies from making substantive, scalable marketing progress. There are two core elements at issue:
Just as they have been with most things digital, B2C marketers are ahead of their B2B counterparts in adopting the latest social marketing trends. While our B2C friends have been leveraging social media stories since they originated on Snapchat several years ago, it’s taking the B2B world a little longer to figure out where they fit in the digital marketing mix.
Why should B2B Marketers Care?
Social stories are the newest way social platforms are trying to engage their users- and they’re working. Research shows that social media stories are growing at a faster pace than newsfeeds and offer a new way for marketers to advertise. As businesses try to personalize their brands, marketing via social channels is more important than ever. The new story formats allow the brand message to be told in a logical, linear pattern, rather than having it split across newsfeeds.
In 2017, is there still such a big difference between B2C and B2B marketing? We asked experts of both sides of the fence to weigh in on their approaches to communicating with customers, promoting products and moving prospects through the sales cycle.
B2B and B2C marketers are driven by different factors. “B2C and B2B marketing have similar goals but we’re communicating to two very distinct audiences,” says Tabara N’Diaye, sales and marketing manager, Cocktails in The City. “B2C marketing is more emotional and focuses on the benefits of the product whereas B2B marketing is more logical and focuses on the knowledge and return on investment.”
The length of the B2B sales cycle is also challenging, as multiple touchpoints can make it tricky to determine the impact of different campaign components.
Ryan Gould, vice president of strategy and marketing services at Elevation Marketing, feels companies should view marketing as a capital expense and not as an operating expense. “When done right, marketing has a direct and lasting impact on an organization. Unfortunately, we often see companies take marketing too lightly.”
B2B marketing should focus not only on lead gen but building connections with prospects. “It is critical to look at the infrastructure, programs and activities that are directly responsible for developing these business assets as an investment,” adds Gould.
Sales goals are more obvious in B2C than in B2B, and it is more challenging for B2B marketers to set KPIs. “Many great marketers and professionals fall into paralysis by analysis by focusing on lower level priorities and metrics,” notes Gould. “Top-level alignment of metrics to goals is critical in keeping all eyes on the prize and establishing how success will be measured globally.’
“The lines between B2C and B2B are definitely blurred nowadays,” feels N’Diaye. “Quantitive and qualitative data are invaluable when targeting both audiences.”
But do marketers really know why an audience buys? “As a B2C buying decision is more emotional towards the product, understanding lifestyle and market segmentation to really target your message is key,” adds N’Diaye. “We spend quite a lot of time trying to understand our audience and create a profile so all our content is bespoke and something they are effectively going to engage with.”
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