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’.

Which content works on Facebook?

This fantastic infographic from Vi Knallgrau GmbH, and agency for new media in Vienna, sheds some light on what types of content and strategies work best for brands on Facebook.  

The infographic is based on a for week study of Facebook posts from 50 Consumer Brands and 50 Retail Brands in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.  Due to the fact that the study is contained to a specific region, it’s unlikely that every single data point will resonate with your own brand, but we think it is pretty universal food for thought!

 

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Source file: infografik_english.jpg 1000×3059

Want a second opinion on your content marketing strategy?

Contact Managing Director, Steve Ballantyne at: steve@ballantynetaylor.co.nz

Or check out our ebook, The Superheroes of Digital Marketing.  We’ve got an entire chapter dedicated to content marketing!

Digital scientist the new cool cats of marketing

The traditional marketing and advertising techniques we once knew have drastically transformed in the digital age. Smooth-talking, martini-swilling Mad Men have been unceremoniously uprooted from their bar stools to make way for new cool cats in advertising — digital scientists and engineers who are developing new technologies to perfect our digitally driven ads.

While we haven’t completely forgone measures to emotionally connect consumers to a brand, it is no longer our driving force. Today’s strategies are about Big Data and innovation. Through accurate collection and proper analysis, this information enables us to pinpoint our audience demographics and deliver highly targeted ads which directly speak to individual wants and needs. While it may sound a bit hard-nosed, the truth of the matter is this: campaigns today must now be completely immersed in digital strategy or run the high risk of being overlooked.

It is probably unnecessary to say, then, that evolving your brand with the latest online marketing trends is vital to your business. Let’s explore some predictions for what the top digital stratagems will be in 2014.

1. Content Marketing — It’s More Important Than Ever

You may be thinking that content has always been an important part of marketing strategies, and you’d be right if you are. But the ‘what and how’ we are presenting our content is changing and will be more crucial than ever in the next year(s). As inbound marketing strategies are steadily overtaking more antiquated outbound forms, it is important to focus on producing valuable, engaging content designed for specific, target audiences. After all, one of the main ways a brand is able to establish authority and trustworthiness with consumers is by regularly producing valuable content through a variety of different outlets. Some of the most effective channels for B2B companies are: social media, company blog posts/articles, case studies and eNewsletters.

And lest we forget, always make your website accessible from mobile devices. Whether you create an alternate mobile-friendly version or utilise responsive web design, it has to be done. There are seven billion people in this world and six billion of them have smart phones — that’s a pretty big audience that you won’t be reaching.

2. Social Media Marketing Will Require More Diversity

Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are still the head honchos of social media, but sites like Pintrest, Google+ and Instagram (to name a few) are surging in popularity, thus providing businesses with a wider array of options to produce unique and engaging content. By branching out and experimenting with multiple networks, businesses will be able to build their audiences across more channels and acquire higher recognition rates, building brand equity.

3. Ad Remarketing Will Grow in Efficiency

To sum up remarketing, it is a strategy that works by utilising browser cookies to track the websites consumers visit. If a viewer leaves your site without converting (only 2% of web traffic convert within the first visit), the product or service will be shown to them again in advertisements across other websites they subsequently visit. It is basically a friendly reminder to the non-converted, keeping the brand front of mind and increasing overall conversion rate.

4. SEO & Social Signals Will Become More Intertwined

Since the aim of Google and search engines like it is to provide users with the highest quality and most relevant content possible, it is no surprise that social shares (likes, shares, tweets, etc) will start playing a bigger factor in SEO. They theory is that the more social shares a blog post or article has, the higher quality it is likely to be. Social shares also serve as a kind of trust signal for visitors to a landing page. If viewers see that a page has a high number or shares, they can only assume that there is something of value there. Many businesses are harnessing this power of social influence by installing social share plugins and encouraging viewers to share content with their social media circles.

5. Websites to Take a Turn Towards Minimalism

In 2014 we will see marketers answer a shift in customer preference by offering content that is quick and easy to digest as opposed to text-laden, in-depth messages. Brands will not only begin to tone down their messages so as not to overwhelm customers, but begin featuring content with well-placed images, infographics, etc to break up content and help emphasise key points.

 

While it may seem like consumers could not possibly be more connected than they already are, the truth is, we are becoming increasingly more conscious, hip, knowledgeable, by the second and it’s not waning any time in the foreseeable future.

If you are looking to fine-tune your website and want some expert advice, contact our Digital Manager, Veronica Nobbs:veronica@ballantynetaylor.co.nz

5 ways to score more LinkedIn followers

With over 2 million companies registered within their database (including all Fortune 500 corporations), it’s no real revelation that LinkedIn can be a powerful tool in the B2B world. A company profile allows you to build your professional network via the influence of social media and being top of your class is certainly beneficial to your brand. Procuring company followers increases your business’s visibility as your updates will be seen throughout the LinkedIn community, attracting your target audience.So how do you acquire a bunch of LinkedIn groupies? While there is no exact formula to catapult you into the upper echelons of LinkedIn stardom overnight, there are certainly some helpful practices to enhance your company page.

1. All in the Family

Your friends and family are your biggest fans, so use your real life community to help develop your social media channels. When you start using a new platform, invite these people to connect with the page first. This will help you to build a decent foundation to start attracting new followers.

2. Share and Share Alike

You can use your already existing social media communities to draw attention to your LinkedIn page. Share your business via Facebook or Twitter, all of these forums should be used in conjunction with each other to yield the best results. You can do this in corporate forms of communication (email, newsletters, advertisement) as well, just remember to make it compelling. Include information you will make available to followers: promotions, articles, event, etc.

Following other companies’ pages is a good tactic as well. Showing a bit of sportsmanship and camaraderie will no doubt earn respect from your peers as well as gather some reciprocated follows along the way.

3. A Matter of Substance

Since most everyone is on LinkedIn for career purposes, use this opportunity to increase exposure for your products or services. Share engaging, original content that is applicable in your followers’ everyday life. Workplace tips or career advice is always relevant and, if you are having trouble coming up with content, consider using personal experiences. Chances are you are not the only one to encounter a business problem — share how you resolved a difficult matter with others who may be having issues in a similar situation.

Once you add new content, make sure to share it across your other social media platforms; it will increase the likelihood of people finding your LinkedIn content.

4. Consistence Beats Resistance

Post new content often to keep viewers interested and coming back to your page. Perhaps set aside one day a week (or more) to publish new information or advice. This will force you to keep your content timely and relevant.

5. Top Jocks Need Their Lackeys

Just kidding. You’re employees are not your lackeys. But getting staff members involved and backing your company is advantageous for everyone involved. First, encourage anyone who does not have a LinkedIn page to create one and list your company as their current employer. You company logo will then show up on their profile and will click through to your company page. You employees can then “like” and share status updates from your company page. Remember: more views = more brand recognition = more followers.

As I previously mentioned, overnight popularity isn’t something to realistically strive for. But begin putting the groundwork in early. You may be pretty green at the start, but a little networking and a bit of swagger will ensure you’re the one being crowned king of the LinkedIn prom.

If you feel that your LinkedIn profile could use a bit of a boost, we’re here to lend a helping hand. Contact our Digital Manager, Veronica Nobbs: veronica@ballantynetaylor.co.nz