Mixing things up – how to sprinkle a bit of B2C into the B2B marketing pool

B2B Marketing for Business

Now is as good a time as any for B2B marketers to loosen that top button and see what they could learn from their not-so-distant B2C relatives. Let’s take a look at how to spice things up in the marketing department to create a whole new breed of innovation.

B2B marketers have traditionally focused on using rational arguments to persuade customers to buy their products but with it becoming increasingly harder to grab the attention of potential buyers, marketers need to think smarter. While logic leads to conclusions and emotions lead to actions, audiences are now accustomed to being approached in a personal, emotive way meaning not taking this angle could have the potential to make your brand seem distant, disconnected or bland. So, clever marketers understand the need to tug on the heart strings/funny bone/[insert emotive body part here]. We’re not saying turn your whole marketing strategy on its head, but rather think about how to inject more personality into your messaging.  Remember, it’s not just the product or service you’re representing; it’s the personality and values of your business too. So yes, the number one goal may be to educate in a professional way but while you’re at it, think about how you could also show your audiences that you’re fun, charismatic and original too.

Get creative with the tools you’ve got as well as one’s you haven’t used before. B2C marketers use the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat to paint a picture and get conversations started. B2B marketers can consider employing social media too but it means thinking outside the square. What else could you talk about/show that is relevant and will get audiences paying attention? Don’t be afraid to have a bit of fun with your content. Whether it’s mixing things up with a new tone of voice, creating some fun  visual elements, or even making a video (which many B2B researches watch during the entire path to purchase), there’s plenty of options to consider . Everyone appreciates a good laugh so this could be your chance to jump on social media and show a less formal side to your business while aiming to make your audiences smile.

B2C knows that mobile means money which is where B2B needs to lift its game. It’s not just B2C audiences that will have their attention grabbed by a well-placed banner ad, video, or sponsored content – B2B audiences are real people too so don’t be afraid to get down and digital. Research from Panvista Mobile shows that “59% of B2B purchase decision makers and influencers use smartphones to gather information about B2B products and services, and 65% of executives are comfortable making a purchase from a mobile device.” Ensure your content is optimised for mobile so you never miss out. Google did a study in 2014 with Millward Brown Digital which discovered nearly half of all B2B researchers are millennials (digital natives), and 49% of B2B researchers who use their mobile devices for product research do so while at work. They’re comparing prices, reading about products, comparing feature sets, and contacting retailers.

In the end, everyone is a consumer in one way or another so keep reaching out to them.  Stick to what you know works while also aiming to surprise and connect differently with your audiences. Tap into habits and thought patterns when working out what makes your audiences tick on a personal level. Deliver something that will make them sit up and think ‘that’s different… I like it’.

5 ways to reach the right audiences with Programmatic Advertising

5 benefits of programmatic advertising-ballantynetaylor

1. Specific targeting

Want to reach 20 – 25 year-old males who live and breathe video games, tend to be on the internet between 2am – 6am, and live in Invercargill? With Programmatic Advertising you can do just this. You have the ability to target any market you choose – no matter how niche.

Instead of applying a ‘spray and pray’ approach, Programmatic Advertising allows a user to work out exactly who they want to reach, when they want to reach them and how they’re going to reach them. Instead of publishing your ad to a large, broad network where many of the people won’t see your ad as relevant or interesting, you can ensure that your ads are reaching specific audiences where your messages are more likely to resonate.

Using the marketing intelligence you already have (such as from your API or Google Analytics) is a great way to determine how you will proceed with your ad placements. This data should help identify any already occurring trends and opportunities to take advantage of.

2. Speed and time-saving

Through Programmatic Advertising, an ad can be served up in a matter of milliseconds. Once you have done all the background work in terms of placing your bidding price and setting the specifications on who you want to reach, your ad simply sits in cyberspace waiting for its first bite. When someone makes a search that links in with your ad (e.g. they have Googled prime fishing spots and you sell fishing equipment) your ad will suddenly kick into gear, competing with other ads for a spot on that person’s screen. If your bid is the highest then your ad will be served to them at lightning speed.

Programmatic Advertising proves time-efficient in terms of set-up and how fast it delivers. Instead of booking your media the traditional way (researching, finding a contact, discussing rates, negotiating, scheduling) programmatic puts you in the driver’s seat. You control the budgets and placements with real time bidding (RTB). Once the groundwork is done, the algorithms take it from there.

3. Cross-device targeting

Ever heard of a micro-moment? They are captured when a potential customer makes a decision or has their opinion swayed. Ensure your intent-fuelled, breakthrough moment is waiting around every corner for your customers – whether it’s via mobile, tablet or computer.

By deciphering your target market’s technology-user-habits, you can apply Programmatic Advertising to set your ads up like a well-prepared army – poised at all the right stations and ready to lurch. It also allows for brand/message reinforcement where your target might be exposed to your ads several times over various different devices, keeping your business top-of-mind. A good example of this would be to start promoting a weekend sale on Tuesday or Wednesday to build up interest over a few days.

4. Cost-efficiency

When implementing Programmatic Advertising, you can determine a budget and then decide how much you are willing to bid. Although this is similar to Google advertising, the major benefit with programmatic is that you are reaching out further than just the Google network. You will also be drawing on other ad exchanges like AppNexus, Microsoft Advertising, OpenX and rightmedia.

Ads are typically sold on a CPM basis (cost per 1,000 impressions). On average, programmatic CPMs range from $5 – $8. When compared to non-programmatic CPM which are closer to the $20 – $30 mark, it’s easy to see what option is the most cost-efficient. It is now possible to take a traditional online advertising budget and stretch it 5 times further with programmatic, which is particularly beneficial for SMEs that have a limited budget to start with.

5. Experts can do it for you

The best part of programmatic? You can get experts to do all the nitty-gritty for you!

Simply set the parameters in terms of who you want to reach and what you want to achieve. From there, experts can bring your strategic Programmatic Advertising plan to fruition. You may already have data and creative that a specialist can draw on, but if not, this is something they may also help you with.

The joy of taking this approach is that you reap the rewards but you don’t need to invest the time and energy needed to learn and implement the system. You can also receive a breakdown of how your ads are performing along with suggestions on how to further improve them.

BallantyneTaylor are experts in the field of Programmatic Advertising and can give your business a helping hand. Get in touch today and find out what you could achieve with them.

Make your content relatable and actionable

The amount of content on the internet is infinite, and it’s been noted that users rarely read content in-full. If your content doesn’t reach your audience on a personal level, prepare to suffer from a high bounce rate. Content must be relatable and actionable to increase your customers’ attention spans.

First, you will need to find out what resonates with your audience and create a plan to boost it across all of your platforms.  Once you’ve done that, you can start developing a plan of action.  But what content tactics will engage an audience and encourage them to take the next step?

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1.) Keep it simple

The best way to write content is to understand your readers could range from industry experts to amateurs and anywhere in between. If the piece of content you are creating is overly technical and industry jargon is necessary, make sure and explain it in easy to understand terms.

As we mentioned before, your audience suffers from a short attention span, so write for the skimmer, not the reader! Here’s a few tips:

• Use bullet points to break up long paragraphs
• Focus on clarity over jargon
• Link out important terms to Wikipedia or expert posts to provide more detailed explanations for terms you don’t cover

2.) Tell how to do, not what to do

Writing the “what” is a very on-the-surface content goal. Eventually, you or your reader will desire to delve deeper into the subject. If you want to be seen as a resource, you must discuss the “how” of your topic with your reader:

• Describe your personal processes and tools and explain how you use them to gain a competitive edge
• Give examples from your work and research and how you read the data
• List your resources and share how they helped you improve your knowledge or skill

3.) Include visuals

Showing visuals is one of the easiest and fastest ways to answer your reader’s questions (which appeals the short attention span we keep coming back to). Use graphs, screenshots of tools/buttons/ tabs you used, descriptive images or videos.  Anything that will grab attention.

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4.) Answer questions

Since Hummingbird, the web is geared more than ever toward answering users’ questions. During the writing process, think about the queries your audience might have and answer them in a short, to-the-point way. You readers will be happy and Google will be happy. And when Google is happy, you rank higher in search.

5.) Be innovative

Create your content in a wide range of formats and mediums, and be as unique and innovative as possible. Consider your content to be another form of branding yourself. Don’t hide behind your professional website – use innovative content to show users that your brand is personable, relatable, and human!

Want to learn more about how content marketing can improve your digital marketing strategy? Talk to Managing Director, Steve Ballantyne.  e: steve@ballantynetaylor.co.nz

Or check out our ebook, The Superheroes of Digital Marketing, which features an entire chapter on content marketing alone!

The sales process has been hacked by the internet

Sales effectiveness and productivity are critical in today’s business world, but there’s not a competitive business today that isn’t trying to grapple with the way the internet has redefined the classic 5-step sales process — engage a customer, qualify the customer, make a proposal, close the sale and follow up.

In the past, customers who needed a product would call in directly, or via an agent or broker. That call then set the sales process in motion. Or, a sales person would pick up on a lead and make a cold call to activate the first step. However, the harsh reality is that the internet has all but gutted that process.

Definitive evidence comes from new research from CEB and Google http://www.executiveboard.com/exbd-resources/content/digital-evolution/index.html that shows that customers are 57% of the way through the sales process before they ever contact a sales rep. That’s because they are looking at your business information online, sifting through a smorgasbord of information and are veritable experts before they even call in.

Customersresearch your company, your products, and pricing. They look at your competitors, and analyse your perceived strengths and weaknesses. They check online testimonials and reviews (good and bad), post questions on forums and ask their friend’s friends about you. They may even go to your social media pages and finally make a decision based on what their ‘gut’ tells them about the way you ‘feel’ on Facebook and Twitter.

This is the reality that businesses face today. With this change in sales process, a company has to adjust its marketing and sales strategy. You have to be available and accessible to customers where they are online. Your online presence must engage with customers and communicate the value you can add to their businesses. As a result, relevant content will continue to rule and escalate in value, especially content related to consideration and purchase drivers.

You need a strong, and ideally, all pervasive digital and internet presence to make it easy for customers to get information on your product or service. You have to consider and examine the full range of content that your organization is producing. Weigh up video, testimonials, blog posts, articles and white papers against their relevance, newsworthiness, insightfulness, clarity, and professionalism. This is a continuous process, and your businesses must analyse and improve online communications, content and accessibility with fastidious regularity.

And if that sounds complicated, that’s only one side of the equation. Increasingly, there is an equally important online aspect that goes hand-in-hand with everything else — online monitoring. Companies today must employ effective tracking and analytics to keep abreast of their Internet ‘buzz’ and avoid potential disasters. A single negative post on Facebook, Twitter or a blog can reach millions of potential customers in an instant.

In fact, some organisations consider this critically important to the way they manage their business. It’s a small wonder that a multinational like Nestlé now has a dedicated Digital Acceleration Team http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/26/us-nestle-online-water-idUSBRE89P07S20121026 , continually monitoring conversations about its products on social media.

Ultimately it may seem like confusing rocket science, but it’s really simple. Your website content should be well written, insightful, informative and up to date. Your blog should have regular updates, as should Facebook and Twitter. But perhaps most important of all, you have to ensure that your online reputation is what it should be. If someone did nothing but check you out online, would they decide to choose your business?