Author’s Note: In this series, the author’s ego has been boosted. These listicles are his way of helping and supporting the comms community whilst he uses B-school terms like ‘synergy’ and ‘cross-platform collaboration’. Every month, a broad subject will be broken down into it’s three key components and supported by a broad framework of Dos and Don’ts that could help plan, ideate or pitch around the subject at hand.
B2B: Three letters that make social media teams ask the question:
“Do I have to?”
Often described as boring, unsexy and dry, the B2B sector has only recently started getting love from mainstream agencies through creative and effective campaigns. For years, there was a stigma about: “Oh! How do I sell electrical wires to the customer?” or the like.
At the onset of this article, let’s be clear:
Every industry is different. Every industry’s consumer is different.
Having said that, there are three primary components to B2B marketing.
- Consumer micro-segments: Whether you are a content marketing agency in Noida or a steel trader in Thane, as marketers, there is a clear definition to who your target market is. Thing is that creative marketers usually sell the same product (with different use-cases) to different customers for varying margins. Although segmenting is beneficial, creating micro segments within existing customer groups could allow you to reach out to new audiences. If only there were tools that allowed you to do this. * Cough * Facebook AdEx and Google AdSense * Cough
- Sales are usually of a higher ticket size: Compared to B2C companies, B2B marketing usually sell to less clients but have higher unitary sales. Depending on the industry, marketers could take advantage of low customer acquisition cost and re-market to their existing audience set and increase the Customer Lifetime Value through continuous social media engagement.
- Often brand-loyalty is low: A lot of my B2B peers have mentioned this. Since procurement teams of their buyers have a ‘most for the least’ mindset, cost-undercutting is major sales tactic used by some players who’d like to acquire new clients or customers and cross-sell and up-sell goods/services later. With focussed engagement on social media and creating a community through incentive programs through other digital platforms, this problem can be levelled.
“Listen, I know you love to write and can go on and on and I promise I’ll read your other articles too. Promise! But right now I just need some tips on how to pitch to Agro-tech company”
- Engage your existing community: It’s easy to start something to acquire new customers – but WoM and references are proven to be the best sales tools for B2B companies. Create a loyalty program, run contests and reward them often. The idea is to make them feel wanted. (woah, that last sentence hit deep)
- Define roles for engagement platforms: Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram should NOT be used for the same creative and copy. It’s not like you shouldn’t use them – just that there should be a clear purpose for each. For instance: LinkedIn for corporate networking and hiring and Instagram for employee engagement.
- Be relevant/cool: This one actually comes in for all kinds of marketing but B2B campaigns can use this extremely effectively depending on their sector and audiences. Moment marketing has been a rage since early 2016 and taking advantage of news and events to tell your story makes brands a bit more relatable. Check out this film by Shutterstock taking a shot at the infamous FYRE festival.
- Take action: Not stunts. Action. nukkad nataks (street plays) and a social experiment will probably not make you memorable. When promoting your service, brand or a cause you support – show actual results. This usually is a mass approach but certain B2B2C sectors have taken inspiring steps to create a sense of purity and trust in their end-customer. Here’s one example by Nerolac
- Speak through the people to the people: The most important part of any corporation is their workforce. Create a sense of connecting your audience to your people and NOT A LOGO. Admiration and connections form only when we speak to human beings. Find unique stories and your people will do the rest.
- Future-gazing is always fun: Don’t predict; project. For manufacturing and tech companies specifically, talk about what to expect from their company but by the sector they work in. The company comes across as learned and prepped for creating and participating in new opportunities. Instills confidence and pride in customers.
- Looking back is fun too: For legacy brands and corporations, this is a good bet to inspire trust and communicate effectively about their story. Usually through videos or infographics, audiences love to learn about these stories on social media. A very interesting approach was done by the Godrej company:
- Testimonials Testimonials TESTIMONIALS!: Yep. Take permission from client – go nuts.
- Be available: Things could go wrong or customers might want support to understand your complicated argon gas based flux capacitor type products. Assisted AI chatbots can be a great tool for the company’s customer service team to be in touch with and rectify any usage or other basic issues that customers may have. If you aren’t sure where to start on Chatbots, check out this video by Rebot.
- CONNOVATE: Yes, I made that word up. People often think that this approach is sacrilege in marketing forgetting that originality is subjective. Find out how yours or your client’s competition approaches social media. Aggregate your thoughts across Indian and International competition and write down the top 3 takeaways. Add your own flavour to these and ideas will emerge specific to your requirement. Brainstorming is a must for this exercise. CONNOVATE™ !
Okay, now go sell stuff.
The universe commands you to.
Stay curious. Stay secure.
See you next week.
The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.