“It’s important to develop a clear and distinctive B2B marketing proposition – rather than simply repurposing your B2C material.”
Kimberley Gaskin, Editorial Director, Six Black Pens
When it comes to B2B communications, there’s good reason to go the extra mile. After all, from a revenue perspective these customers are highly valuable to your business. And making sure you connect with them – building that all-important trust – will undoubtedly show up in your ROI.
So how do you ensure your communications and content build those connections, that trust? Here are eight key considerations from Six Black Pens Editorial Director Kimberley Gaskin.
Avoid B2C lite
When it comes to your business customers, it’s important to develop a clear and distinctive B2B marketing proposition, message, brand palette and creative platform – rather than simply repurposing your B2C material. That means putting time, effort and original thinking into something that’s tailored to your business customers’ needs.
Look outwards in,
not inwards out
The best communications strategies are those based on facts. Which is why you need to step outside your bubble of what you think B2B audiences want and invest in comprehensive research and testing. It’s only then that you’ll understand your audience and how various messages will land. For example, you may assume emotional messaging is better suited to your individual customers; rational messaging being the better choice for businesses. But is that necessarily the case? After all, aren’t we all individuals?
Don’t treat your
audience as a monolith
It’s important to understand how nuanced your B2B customers are. Their needs and interests will vary greatly depending on their industry and business stage, and drilling down into these distinctions is a must. To have maximum impact, you’ll want to segment your customers so that different pieces of content or communications go to different audiences. By speaking directly to a particular group, you are more likely to focus on what matters to them and build confidence in your specialist expertise.
Give them substance
You’re a business; you know how important ROI is. In the same way, you need to keep in mind that your business customers are primarily driven by profit and by the promise of saving time and gaining support for their highly specific goals. Above all, make sure you give them practical, numbers-driven insights that are actionable.
Don’t forget your customer
value proposition (CVP)
Any comms or content should ladder up to, or reflect, your CVP with careful selection of narratives, or themes, that raise awareness of your core attributes and how they set you apart from your competitors. One way to do this is by reflecting your customers’ experiences through customer story telling. This not only provides a practical example of how you supported them but also builds a strong picture of your offering in practice.
Get the BE edge
Part of building trust is overcoming any barriers that might prevent your customers from taking up your product or service. This is where behavioural economics (BE) can be particularly helpful. BE takes human emotions, as well as economics, into account – the idea being that we often make our purchasing decisions based on a whole lot of irrational reasons. Never forget there are real humans behind each of your business customers. By understanding how they may respond to certain information, or the way it’s imparted, you can effectively use your communications to dissolve any points of friction that may stand between you.
Provide a comprehensive
If you want to build a reputation as a trusted expert in your field, it will take more than one or two pieces of thought leadership. Anyone who visits your website needs to see that you regularly produce quality content and that it’s up to date. Think about the right combination of thought leadership and practical/tactical content for your specific B2B audience; think about your cadence and channels; and think 12 months in advance.
Invest in the best
Make sure your communications materials are high quality. It makes it that much easier for your business customers to believe in your story and goes a long way to backing your sales team when they’re out on the road or you’re pitching for a large tender.