1.The context in Inbound Marketing for B2B
We are all aware that Covid-19 has brought many important changes to many fields in the business context, one of them certainly is the change in consumer behaviour. Not only does this affect the companies in B2C but also it has led to changes in B2B activities which had to adapt to this new scenario. In this line, even though there have been strategies that have worked perfectly in the past, the need for a change has arrived and we are here to provide you with the best assessment to succeed in the implementation of the new tactics in Inbound Marketing.
As you may know, Inbound Marketing is known for attracting customers by creating valuable content and experiences that have been specifically tailored to them. The aim is to form connections between the brands and the customers to solve the desires they already have.
Nowadays many companies still take a very corporate approach to B2B branding, offering numbers, facts and large texts. Nevertheless, some companies have started implementing tactics from B2C marketing, to add more fun and have a higher success in their B2B efforts.
2.The new consumer mindset
Surely the formal approach to B2B marketing has worked well in the past. Indeed, around twenty years ago the decision-makers in almost every business had grown up in the more conventional corporate culture. No matter what, business was business and the company’s internal culture was not necessarily represented by the image of the brand to the customers. But of course, this was twenty years ago. Nowadays there are plenty of new beauty industry start-ups, mostly directed by the new generation.
Why are we explaining this? Because it is essential to understand that it is crucial to know who your audience is not only in B2C but also in B2B. You want to get a deep insight on who are the people in research or buying positions in the cosmetic industry, what are their needs and desires, what products do they want and where do they look for these. This new generation is more likely to trust a brand with which they feel a personal connection rather than those that portray a distant and cold professional image. So, the old rules are not necessarily grand successes. B2B marketing campaigns need to adapt to the changes, otherwise they risk losing reputation or being perceived as out-of-date.
3.Tactics for successful experiences
An important aspect to take into account is that today B2B customers want to try before they buy as customers do in the B2C market. Therefore experiential marketing is the clear winner against common marketing techniques which uniquely tell the characteristics of a product or service without giving them the chance to smell, taste, touch, hear or see the product first.
Since the marketing scenario has evolved so drastically in the past years, these experiential methodologies are no longer a surprise or an extra. In fact, B2B customers today expect to experience the product or service before they are even invited to invest in it. Do not worry if there is not the possibility to connect the potential customers with your brand in person. Most will be comfortable with a virtual experience, which can be a wide range of opportunities in the shape of mobile apps, games, social campaigns or even simulations. Personal reviews as well are used to create a more profound customer experience. As you can see, B2B brands are following the lead of B2C marketing to approach their customers.
Experiential marketing doesn’t necessarily have to take place in the empirical world. If it’s not possible for customers to connect with your brand in person they will look for a virtual experience. Following the lead of B2C marketing, B2B brands increasingly offer a wide range of opportunities for product experience online like mobile sites and apps, games, social campaigns, simulations and highly personal reviews are all used to create a deeper customer experience. Reviews and testimonials are crucial to any B2B marketing strategy. Keep in mind that your brand messaging has to stand out.
4.Be creative and bond with your clients
Since you probably have wide portfolio of customers and each of them is quite different from each other, the marketing techniques that you will have to implement to reach to them will have to be of different nature, implying complexity in terms of having to assume a multi-channel creative approach since social media and online marketing do not allow to do so.
As it happens in any B2C business, customers want to relate to brands in B2B since they want to perceive that your brand is offering them a personalized solution to their personal challenges and pain points. They want to see that your brand cares for them. To achieve this goal, experimentation has to be carried out with new campaign ideas that develop new approaches to connecting and sharing with your customers.
You may have seen that some B2B brands are currently relying on influencer marketing, a strategy previously only taken by B2C brands. We can take as an example Olaplex, a company that has built a strong relationship with Guy Tang, who promotes their product online when this product normally is only sold to salons for professional use. This is the way Olaplex has managed to raise awareness and promote their product in a different and creative way. It is important to highlight the importance of education, which normally is an effective strategy for B2B cosmetic brands. Related again to Olaplex, teaching salons how to use their products and how to sell them establishes B2B customer trust and loyalty.
Last but not least, keep in mind that you should not neglect the personal relationships that you can build with your customers, which most times businesses only tend to see them as businesses and not customers. It is relevant to acknowledge that you are selling your products to a person, not a corporation. According to a recent Google research, B2B customers are “significantly more emotionally connected to their vendors and service providers than consumers.” This demonstrates that a B2B brand can have a bigger impact if it also tries to cultivate emotional connections instead of just focusing on functions and facts.
Remember: B2B brands need to be captivated, just as B2C brands. Make sure to connect with your audience through embracing storytelling and engage them with your narrative. There is no doubt that connecting with them will help you cultivate long-lasting loyalty.