The current business environment has presented several challenges for B2B marketers. One of them is the complex transformation to an almost entirely digital journey. This is probably the basis for the belief that buyers are more likely to contact B2B vendors only in the later stages of their purchase cycle.
Such rumors cause two misconceptions:
- B2B buyers don’t consider vendors suitable to their purchase cycle
B2B buyers need community forums, credible publications, and subject matter experts to identify products and solutions that will help them sustain or grow their businesses. They also assume that vendor teams have a high level of expertise because they make the solution. Hence the idea that they like to connect with these experts at a later stage of the buying cycle doesn’t make sense. Expert help is needed early on in the requirements discussion. To prove this to be accurate, the change marketers need to make is to become a reliable and trusted source of insights for buyers, and they will gain entry early on in the decision-making process for buyers.
- Till the end of the cycle, B2B buyers prefer to avoid personal interaction with vendors.
False, again. Even though digital connection is the preferred form of outreach, personal interactions are always in fashion. B2B buyers like personalized communications and not just generic outreach, messaging, or emails that address a whole market. Here, marketers need to create well-intended personalized digital touch.
The B2B environment is creating new possibilities to engage closely with the buying collective, even though it is complex and challenging.
So, to engage with B2B buyers in the most effective way, the best strategy is to leverage the power of the triad – content, research, and community. Marketers can generate a more significant ROI with this communication combo.
Strategies to leverage the power of the triad and engage with buyers more efficiently –
STEP 1: Elevating all the experiences under the triad
Enhancing research-based marketing experience
Research must be credible and legitimate and not simply dull. Although, marketers are yet to fully utilize market research to entrust buyers and persuade them to test the viability of a new product or service. The power of in-depth analysis is immense as it helps with planning the direction of marketing strategies and creating a vendor-neutral narrative for more credible content.
Market research will be critical for B2B sellers to build thought leadership, enlighten and guide choice, and offer reliable data. If the data is credible, then buyers can utilize and disseminate it.
Enhancing the content-marketing experience
B2B buyers seek reliable, influential, and independent voices on the topics they are interested in. They prefer brands that have a reputation in domain expertise.
In the ocean of content available for consumption, brands can level up by harnessing plausible editorial representatives to stand out in B2B content marketing. They act as trusted sources of information that address the audience’s pain points and bridge knowledge gaps.
When trusted and well-known editorial voices deliver on the topics that B2B buyers care about, they are more likely to associate with the brand and respond positively to the ads and content sponsorships.
Enhancing the community marketing experience
Communities are essential for professionals to connect on what’s important, new, informative, and trending. But, the buying collective immediately identifies and disregards the brands that try to hide behind community conversations only to accomplish their sales pitch.
This doesn’t mean that the buyers have problems with vendor representatives being on the seats of stakeholders. They must be part of it, and buyers like to have personal interactions to get informed, educated, and engaged with the brands. The key is not to be salesy, as communities are not built for hard selling. Being an honest community member that offers value and holds stakes is what brands should focus on becoming.
STEP 2: Connecting the dots to produce exponential results
Combining and leveraging the power of the triad – research, content, and community initiates a value-first experience, enhances outcomes, and enables the brand to:
- Shine on highly reputed editorial channels and publications
- Engage with the entire buying collective
- Increase brand recall at every stage of the buyer’s journey
- Build authentic personal relationships on all channels
Steps to connect the triad – research, content, and communities; seamlessly
Intense market research, insights, and information from the communities and gatherings are the key to building a solid foundation in knowing the customers and their needs. The brands should also cross-verify the information they get with original intent data they have on their prospects.
An authentic brand voice
Once the insights are in place, focusing on creating value for the customers is essential. The information from the communities and research enables brands to create content and communication that helps buyers learn and decide. It is paramount to support valuable content, reply to queries, solve issues in the community, and share independent research that helps buyers make correct decisions.
A brand’s outreach must be consistent and convincing to ensure these steps succeed in building customer connections across all channels they are in. Posting stand-alone content or jumping into conversations in an ad-hoc manner will never help gain the desired traction.