Building authenticity in the B2B marketing world
Thursday, February 20, 2020
If you think about that billboard advertising a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, you know what lies ahead: A delicious snack featuring chunks of chocolate chip cookie dough, brownie gobs, and some creamy vanilla ice cream.
Now how does this experience transfer over to the B2B world? So many companies are offering improved efficiency, miracle software platforms, and better conversion rates. But how do they actually stack up, and how can one trek through countless buzzwords to find out if their promises are kept? The answer lies in creating an authentic marketing strategy.
Authenticity in marketing guarantees end users that they are going to receive what they expect. Forget about profit margins for a minute, and think about how customers will feel using your products. They should feel supported, knowing that they have made the right choice by choosing your brand. What you see should be what you get — just like the ice cream pictured on the billboard! B2B companies’ products don’t usually come with a side of cookie dough, so the following considerations are of the utmost importance when marketing yourself to other companies.
OK, this term seems overused, but it works! Use your values to guide your company’s products, messaging, and communications. And make sure your staff lives and breathes these values as well. If your offerings don’t match up to your actions (advertising, product lines, customer support), consumers will be quick to question your ability to provide them with the solutions for which they’ve come to expect.
Care about your customers
Market research might be useful, but won’t always tell you everything you want to know — feedback from actual customers is best! Keep the lines of communication open in emails, surveys, on social media, at in-person events, or anywhere else you interact with them. They are the ones using your products on a daily basis, and are able to pinpoint any faults or areas for improvement. Work to make enhancements where needed, and let them know about it, too.
Public responses to inquiries can create positive buzz and goodwill. Ben & Jerry’s certainly listened to their customers for the release of their new, snackable cookie dough chunks — their brand’s beloved gobs of dough without the ice cream! A release due to “popular demand” shows that your brand is willing to grow for the better good of the consumer.
Think about your content
This builds on the above points. The content you produce — whether it be marketing campaigns, whitepapers, blogs, or even social media posts — should be cognizant of what your brand values. Consider the voice and tone with which your company will market its products. Take a step back from the “buy now!” mentality you may want to shout from the rooftops, and let your products shine through.
And while you’re creating ad content, be sure to use their language! Knowing the industry’s jargon, acronyms, and in some cases, certifications, is of the utmost importance. This will demonstrate that you are in touch with what your consumers demand, and that you are willing to support them throughout your working relationship.
Remember that buyers have choices
Perhaps the biggest threat looming is what your competitors are offering, and how well of a job they are doing so. If there have been any missteps throughout the business relationship, the competitor might appear to them as a tempting option.
You may also want to consider your demographics: Up to 73% of B2B buyers are millennials, and they come with their own set of decision-making characteristics. But don’t they want what everyone else wants? This includes a consistent brand experience, support on all platforms, and an up-to-date set of offerings for today’s businesses. If you haven’t made any major updates to your products in the past few years, it’s worth considering. You don’t want to isolate a certain target audience, and you don’t want to fall behind as a brand, either.
Just like the chunks of cookie dough and brownie bits swirled together in some delicious ice cream, your company should blend its values, understanding of consumers and content strategy to create the perfect marketing mix. Given the right measurements, you’ll end up with an authentic brand that speaks to future consumers, and supports current users. While a personality change overnight is unrealistic, brands would be wise to start structuring their efforts sooner rather than later.
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