When it comes to digital marketing in the modern era, one of the most important things to understand is that B2C and B2B audiences are not the same and should never be treated as such.
B2C audiences are savvy, to be fair - but they're looking for something different than their more professional counterparts. They're looking for more personal experiences - ones that dive beneath your brand to show the true personality hidden underneath.
B2B audiences, on the other hand, are looking for authority above all else. They want to know beyond the shadow of a doubt that yours is a brand to be trusted - that it possesses a voice worth paying attention to.
Getting to that point with B2B audiences isn't necessarily difficult. but it requires you to keep a number of important things in mind.
Taking Advantage of B2B Marketing: An Overview
By far, the most important thing you need to understand about B2B digital marketing has to do with who your ideal customers are in the first place.
As a B2B organization, your job is primarily to sell your products and services not to consumers, but to other companies. Your goal is to help these businesses operate more efficiently than they can right now. You're trying to increase their productivity. You want to help them improve the satisfaction that they can give to their own customers. The list goes on and on.
Therefore, you need to take a decidedly different approach to the creation of collateral than you would when encountering a B2C situation. Whereas when you design Infographic materials for a B2C audience with a tool like Visme (which I founded to help brands better communicate with their target audiences), you might take a lighter and more conversational approach.
In a B2B scenario, on the other hand, you need to keep things as professional as possible. You don't want to do anything that could jeopardize the ultimate image you're trying to convey - that you know what you're talking about, that you're an authority on the subject. And that you're someone who the audience member should be giving their attention to.
Along the same lines, you also need to understand that the goals of B2B customers are entirely different from those of B2C customers. In the latter scenario, most people are concerned with finding the best deal on products and services that interest them, or otherwise injecting more "fun" into their lives. They're not necessarily driven by logic, they're driven by emotion.
They appreciate educational materials that you put out into the world, but they don't necessarily depend on them - instead, they choose to be motivated by things like social proof and other elements before making a purchasing decision one way or the other.
When it comes to B2B audiences, however, things are entirely different. Your customers are going to be focused almost exclusively on return on investment. Not only that, but they'll have an eye towards efficiency, too.
What is it that you do, exactly?
How is it different from everyone else?
How is it going to make their lives - and their jobs - somehow easier after they make a purchase than it was before?
The answers to questions like these are going to dictate a lot of the decisions that they're making moving forward, so they need to influence the vast majority of the content that you're creating, too.
Overall, it's important to understand that the purchasing stages of B2B customers will also vary from B2C customers. With a B2B customer, the awareness stage is among the most important. This is when they identify a certain need or problem in their life and begin to do an immense amount of research in order to solve it.
At that point, they'll set out on the consideration stage - where they've identified exactly what the problem is and they'll begin to dive deep into the myriad of different ways that they can potentially address it.
The decision stage is where your digital marketing collateral will become crucial, as this is where they begin to whittle down their long list of potential candidates into a short list that they will ultimately use to make their final decision.
They'll weigh the pros and cons of each one and in most situations, the brand that showcases the highest level of authority will come out the victor. Taking into consideration the best practices outlined above will go a long way towards guaranteeing that the company they choose to partner with ends up being yours.
In the end, all of this also illustrates why it's so important to partner with a digital marketing agency for all of your B2B marketing needs. Effectively getting your message out into the world can quickly become a full-time job - which is an issue, considering that you likely already have one of those (rightly) monopolizing all of your time.
Rather than trying to stay ahead of all of the latest trends in the marketing space, you can have a trusted third party do so on your behalf. More than that, this partner is someone who will take the time to learn as much about your business - and your audience - as possible. At that point, you're in a position to sit back, relax and focus the majority of your attention on your business - exactly where it belongs.
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Robb Fahrion is a Co-Founder and Partner of Flying V Group. He is passionate about helping businesses grow using the power of the internet. Robb graduated from Chapman University in Orange, CA and currently resides in Costa Mesa, CA. Robb enjoys writing about digital marketing, helping his clients turn their dreams into reality, and he is a HUGE Mike Trout fan.