I would’ve been lost on how to speak to a B2B audience if it weren’t for a nugget of wisdom early on: B2B customers are people, too. And, we (humans) have more in common than not. Marketing and storytelling is all B2H – business to human.
This leads me into a few tips that I adopted in helping guide my clients to connect with their audiences. The goal is to deliver a delightful – not dull – marketing campaign. Whether you’re marketing cybersecurity products or data centers.
Remember: Business 2 Human
The best way to connect with the human behind the screen is to get to know them. What keeps them up at night? Where do they consume content? What types of issues and success do they face daily? Building an audience persona is key to speaking to your readers/viewers/followers in terms that resonate.
Getting a real picture of your b2b target audience requires a little dirty work. Attend industry conferences and network between sessions. What talks are folks looking forward to most? Which sessions were a let-down and why? Focus groups or interviews with subject matter experts are also great ways to hear first-hand what motivates your target audience and areas where they wish there was more information.
Your website and social media demographics will also reveal a lot about your audience and where they’re spending time and areas where they’re engaged. Create similarly formatted or tangentially related content, and consider how it’s being consumed …
Meet Your Target Audience Where They Are
… to that end, tailor marketing materials for the context through which they’re received. In-depth competitive and audience research is necessary to track where your ideal customers spend their time, so your brand can meet them there.
For example, your B2B decision makers are likely researching independently online during work hours. Build up your owned content to reach decision makers while they’re on the clock. In this scenario, you can likely get away with informative, to-the-point content that inspires trust and convinces your potential customer that you’re better than the competition. What might seem boring to an outsider will be helpful to the six to ten people who make up the B2B decision-making committee.
B2B podcasts are an excellent medium to reach your B2B customers outside of business hours. Forty-nine percent of podcast listeners tune in at home and 22% listen in the car. Because they’re off the clock, it’s imperative that your podcast doesn’t sound like an extension of the workday. Luckily, 74% of people listen to podcasts to learn something new. Make sure your podcast is at the cutting-edge of your industry and that you select engaging hosts and guests to deliver your unique POV. Consider inviting industry influencers as guests and putting their name in episode titles or at the beginning of episode descriptions to entice listeners to check it out.
Not everyone is built for TikTok legendary status. If hilarious mini-movies aren’t true to your brand, don’t force it. Authenticity to your brand’s mission and audience is key to a sustainable brand and marketing strategy. Forcing your company into a box that doesn’t fit could alienate potential customers. The best use of your time and resources is to compose and disseminate messaging that chases your target audience but is still true to your brand.
One way to stretch your creativity while being authentic to your brand is to find the white space in your industry. That means following every B2B content and product competitor and tracking their online movements. What do they write about? How do they write about it? Now, create content that’s completely different. What are they not writing about? And how can you write about it differently?
Identify Desired Outcome
Performance marketing is an integral part of your marketing team that can help you determine not only what your B2B buyer will find interesting, but how it will achieve your larger business goals. A performance marketing framework is always step one. A framework directly ties every campaign, tactic, and metric to a business objective and outlines the KPIs you’re striving for. Creating and sticking to a framework from the beginning will save your marketing team from huge headaches post-launch that stem from indecision and being lost in a jumble of analytics. The framework helps you nail down exactly what you’re trying to achieve, so you can be creative on how you get there.
“Success” is different for everyone but should always be measurable. Cold hard numbers and set time frames keep you honest about whether your efforts are successful or if you need to pivot your strategy for better results next time.
Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously
Your B2B audience members don’t wear their power suits to bed. They scroll through Instagram stories for way too long just like the rest of us. There’s no rule saying that a B2B brand can’t hop aboard fads while they’re hot. Live a little!
For example, do you remember the red flag trend that swept the internet in late 2021? That can be adopted for basically any business. Developers have pages worth of red flags that indicate what could go wrong during coding. Security analysts have red flags galore signaling an imminent cyberattack targeted at customer data. Let your brand personality shine, but still be relevant to your B2B audience.
B2B Marketing Isn’t Boring, It’s Boundless
Without losing sight of your brand and company goals, stretch your creative muscles every chance you get. Your marketing efforts and audience will benefit from marketing material beyond product release notes and dry industry news.
Above all, remember: We’re all humans, which makes us more similar than different. Your B2B audiences will thank you.
If you’re looking to spice up your B2B marketing efforts, partner with our integrated digital marketing team. Contact TEAM LEWIS today!