Updated: January 9, 2023
The world of marketing is ever-changing. Just when you think you’ve got it figured out, a new tool is released or a new tactic becomes popular. Sometimes, an old tactic nobody ever expected to be relevant returns again. Other times, it’s a tool we never thought would last, e.g., QR Codes. This keeps us marketers on our toes, always learning the latest tricks of the trade. But there are a few misconceptions about B2B marketing that have become so matter of course, it’s time to set the record straight.
Myth #1: B2B marketing isn’t emotionally driven.
Wrong. Good marketing is human-to-human marketing. Just like anyone else, decision-makers respond to emotional triggers and storytelling. Yes, the B2B customer journey is longer and more complex than B2C. According to LinkedIn, it’s a myth to assume the protracted consideration phase in B2B removes emotions from the equation. In fact, the opposite is true.
With the advent of digital marketing and new, more advanced technologies, it can seem tempting to take a data-only approach and look at storytelling as something only relevant to consumer marketing. However, it’s not as black and white as that. You don’t have to sacrifice data for creativity and vice versa.
After all, without good data, it’s a complete guessing game on what types of stories your B2B prospects will respond to. So, don’t throw out your data just yet. Instead, use that research to craft the messaging that will inform your emotionally driven B2B marketing.
Ultimately, B2B marketers are looking to build trust with customers, and they will only do that by putting audience needs ahead of the product or service they are marketing. Therefore, B2B marketers get to be just as creative as B2C marketers while developing emotionally appealing messaging and communications.
Myth #2: B2B marketing channels are completely different than those used in B2C marketing.
While B2B sales cycles and buyer’s journeys are much more complex than those in B2C marketing, the channels and tactics used are quite similar. Most B2B buyers expect the same multi-channel communications options available to consumers. Research giant, Gartner predicts that by 2025, 80% of B2B sales interactions will happen over digital channels. Most of the buying decision happens through online research before the buyer even talks to a sales rep. So, B2B marketing, just like B2C, includes all the same communication channels, such as social media, digital and print advertising, emails and more.
However, it’s not enough to just focus on digital channels for the sake of reaching B2B customers online. Today’s buyers are inundated with information. There’s a lot of competition to gain the attention of enterprise purchasers over digital channels. According to Gartner research, B2B buyers are three times more likely to purchase a bigger deal and experience less regret when the information they receive makes it easier to advance through the purchasing process. Therefore, B2B marketers must focus on delivering high-quality, informative content over a variety of channels, especially digital. Moreover, the content they create needs to help them advance through the complex B2B purchasing journey.
Myth #3: B2B marketing stops once the sale closes.
Good B2B marketing continues long after the prospect has completed a sale. Typically, B2B buyers are much more interested in the value of a long-term partnership than in the lifecycle of the product or service they buy. 84% of B2B buyers prefer to purchase from suppliers they already have a great relationship with, regardless of business terms.
One reason the B2B sales cycle is much more complex than the B2C sales cycle is because many more people are involved in the decision-making process and the purchase has the potential to impact the entire company. That makes preventing B2B churn and retaining B2B customers complex as well. B2B customer acquisition is typically high, much higher in most industries than the cost to retain existing customers. Yet, B2B retention starts at the very top of the B2B marketing funnel, during the acquisition stage and continues long after a purchase occurs.
It’s not enough to build a relationship with just the key decision-makers on the buying committee. Those people might not be the main users or contact people moving forward. Instead, good B2B marketers will continue the relationship with everyone involved in the purchase long after the sale has closed. Furthermore, relationships must be built and maintained with those products or services.
Myth #4: B2B marketing isn’t focused on brand building.
Building a solid brand is just as important for B2B marketers as it is for B2C marketers. In fact, brand inconsistency is the number one business killer for B2B companies. Consistency in the way the brand is displayed in creative and conveyed through messaging copy is key. These elements influence the relationship buyers have with the brand. In addition, when the entire organization is aligned on its story, then the buyer will have a consistent experience across the brand — from interacting with it the very first time to long after becoming a loyal customer. That consistency starts by aligning sales and marketing. In fact, 209% more revenue is generated from leads by B2B companies with “good” or better alignment of storytelling across marketing and sales. Moreover, leads nurtured by closely aligned marketing and sales teams spend 47% more.
It’s consistency that builds trust between a brand and its prospective buyers. Beyond alignment of sales and marketing, smart marketers must use a data-first approach to story-telling by crafting brand messaging backed by solid research. A concise, consistent, cohesive message combined with complete alignment across the customer journey is the fuel that ignites all your B2B marketing tactics, including the ones mentioned throughout this article.
Bonus Myth: B2B marketing doesn’t require the help of an agency
B2B marketing has changed dramatically, and it’s more complex than ever. To succeed, companies need to incorporate more B2C communication channels, more digital content touch points and more emotive content. The best results occur when you align your marketing strategy with business objectives.
If you need help developing a winning marketing strategy, work with an established B2B marketing agency. An experienced B2B marketing agency will employ market research to develop buyer personas and craft targeted messaging that gets results.
With over 20 years of experience, Elevation can help you break through the confusion.
We perform extensive research to dissect your target audience and dive deep into their purchasing behavior and psychology – their needs, where they are within the buyer’s journey, etc. We then cater brand and campaign messaging and creative that resonates with your target audience. Contact us to learn more about how our B2B marketing services can benefit your company.