It almost goes without saying that trying to keep up with all the trends and fads in marketing can be a challenging experience. Nowhere is this more true than when it comes to business-to-business marketing, especially when considering the difference of B2B when compared to B2C marketing. B2B marketing can be more complex, with different motivations to take into account and other facts like dealing with more complex products and multiple decision makers complicating matters. In a world where technology evolves at a blistering pace, B2B marketing can quickly fall into patterns, methods, and strategies that are past their prime. With this mind, it’s important to note what new strategies work and how best to adapt to an ever-changing landscape. Here are several keys all B2B marketing companies should keep in mind as they take their campaigns into the future.
1. Data-Driven Marketing
By now, most businesses have likely heard of big data and its revolutionary effect on industries all over the world. The marketing industry is one area where big data can have an enormous effect, provided that companies know how to use it. Marketing organizations that base their decisions off of data they’ve collected about current and prospective customers will be able to use helpful new insights that will give them an edge over their rivals. B2B marketing companies can also engage in real-time data analytics, getting more information than ever before on what drives customers–their motivations, desires, and reactions. This data can be especially reliable in determining how best to approach customers and how to nurture high quality leads. All of these developments also show a shift from simply trusting in intuition and experience, instead focusing on raw data from which businesses can derive results.
2. Relationship Building
The data being gathered and used can in turn play a key role in how B2B marketers establish and cultivate relationships with customers. It’s not enough anymore to simply push a product; marketers and salespeople must make the customer experience more personal and individualized. This idea of personal communication with customers helps them to feel like a B2B marketer is really engaging with them, answering needs and questions as they arise or even before then. A number of tools are currently available for marketers looking to turn data into actions that drive sales. Customer relationship management (CRM) tools have become quite popular in recent years, and not just among marketers either. CRM software allows salespeople and anyone within a company to access customer information, including details on past conversations and interactions, personal information, and preferences. CRM tools, like Salesforce for example, can also be accessed from mobile devices, providing for convenient record keeping. And with the rise of bring your own device (BYOD) policies in many companies, access to CRM can fundamentally transform how many marketers conduct business.
3. Social Media Engagement
Marketers would be unwise to ignore the potential of social media to engage with customers on a different level. But if marketers want to use social media for future sales, they should not do it using traditional strategies. Social media provides companies with the opportunity to serve potential buyers by educating about products and services they might need in the future. Social media can also be an excellent way to identify and pursue prospective buyers based on how they behave on social media outlets. As mentioned above, cultivating personal relationships with buyers is an essential step, and few methods are more effective than doing so on social media. But it’s important to note that the relationship should be friendly and informative. If marketers try to push products directly, they’ll likely turn off buyers. Social media can also be an excellent way to gain referrals from customers that are already satisfied with a product or service. Usually they’re all too happy to refer others based on their good experiences.
The traditional methods of finding and engaging with buyers aren’t the most effective anymore. Modern and developing technologies are proving to have a positive effect for B2B marketers in ways that were difficult to predict years ago. As marketers learn to use data, social media, and the latest tools in relationship building, they’ll eventually see how powerful these new methods can be. They’re the most effective strategies for now, but marketers should always be prepared for any changes that may come along in the future.