Guest post by Marina Turea.
Business to business (B2B) marketing differs from consumer (B2C) marketing in several important ways. B2B marketing requires a unique, sometimes unusual, approach to effectively target buying groups within companies.
It forces out-of-the-box creativity that draws attention and makes you stand out from all the other pitches. But what can you do to make your pitch cut through the clutter and connect with today’s hard-to-reach business buyers? Here are five strategies to make your brand stand out.
B2B marketing strategies too often involve “writing by committee” that waters down any personality involved to the point where bland corporate-speak produces a pitch that falls flat. This doesn’t mean you should be needlessly edgy to get your point across, either. But a little bit quirky is good.
Off-beat, off-center, off-topic ideas can all work, but regardless of the approach taken, you still have to be genuine. You are trying to build a relationship with this company.
You’re looking to become a source of products or services, and if you come across as a caring human being with insight into the working of the business world, with a wicked sense of humor in portraying your integrity, you’ll get the contract. Don’t be fake. Don’t pretend. Be real, and if that includes being funny, then entertain prospects with your pitch.
Remember back in the day when the mailman would plop a tiny bar of soap or some other product sample into your mailbox, and how that product made you feel? Well, you can bring back those days by simply boxing up a sample of your product and shipping it to prospects you are targeting with your B2B marketing efforts.
There are two factors at play when you send samples to a prospect. First, you get share of mind where your product is considered something of more importance than average simply because it is physically in the hands of the person you want to reach long before you get to have a meeting.
Second, there’s the feeling of reciprocation that comes from receiving a gift of a sample of a product. Depending on whom you sent the sample to, there may be the feeling that you are now owed something which gets you that face-to-face meeting to explain the benefits of using the product you sent as a sample.
Sure, it’s old-school marketing. You know, something dating back to about the dinosaurs or at least before the Internet and email took away the core business of USPS. However, data proves the effectiveness of the way we used to do things. For example, direct mail recipients will visit a promoted website that appears in that direct mailer 60% of the time. Those are pretty good odds.
Have a product you are trying to get into the hands of a prospect and have had little or no success on the phone or with other methods? Why not pull one out of the hat that always gets to where it is sent and that is putting your trust into the good old postal service.
USPS even conducted their own survey where they found that response rates to direct mailing fluctuate, but it is not uncommon to see figures in the 25% range. That beats cold calls and most other B2B marketing strategies that are less direct and more costly than snail mail.
Have a list of prospects that you want to make feel special? Hosting an awards night is one way to show you value each of these people. After all, if you are trying to get your product into their hands, treating them as special will give them a great first impression.
Plus, by honoring each with an award that singles out their business and declares them as rising stars in their respective industries, you’ll gain a lot of credibility.
Imagine inviting 25 or 40 prospects to a special gala event where each one will be presented with an award recognizing their business with the requirement of coming equipped with an acceptance speech, and plan to have a good time networking.
The prize or trophy that goes to each winner is entirely up to you as is the overall lavishness of the trending event. Ideally, you’ll want to make it a big deal so that when you do your follow-up a few days later, the prospects will be anxious to talk to you.
If you are using content marketing to capture the attention of a prospect company, slip a link to their website in a post and include campaign tracking tools. Visitors to your website who click on the content link will end up going to the company you are targeting as a prospect. It won’t be long before they start to notice that there is additional traffic heading their way.
With a sudden spike in new website visitors, typically a website owner will investigate what’s happening and use analytics to find out where the new traffic is coming from. This will pique the interest of the company you are focused on when they see it is you funneling that new traffic.
Expect the prospect to reach out to talk to you about the traffic flow. This allows you to make your pitch because by this time they will be fully aware of who you are and what your company has to offer.
Innovative ideas get products noticed. They can work as well in B2B marketing as they do with consumers. To reach your targeted prospects, it is important to be different, stand out, and create a pitch that not only grabs attention but gets your product recognized as something special.
With the intense competition out there, the more interesting your products and your brand appears, the better your chances of hitting it big and converting those prospects into customers.
Marina Turea works as content manager at Digital Authority Partners, a San Diego-based local SEO agency.