It’s easy for marketing teams to get swept into the latest industry trends. Some of your team members have even started arguing over which trends are better suited for B2B versus B2C businesses. But those trends can often be short-lived and costly. Even worse, they may distract you from your ongoing efforts to promote the value you can deliver to your customers.
Marketing trends are worth exploring as long as you remember to implement them on top of a strong foundation of traditional marketing strategies. Your goal is to create a valuable product or service that benefits your customer, whether the end user is a Fortune 500 company or a 45-year-old soccer dad. We rounded up tried-and-true marketing tactics that can increase customer connection for both B2B and B2C businesses.
Keeping these strategies in mind will help you connect with your customers and deliver the value they’re looking for, no matter which business model you’re using.
Create Buyer Personas
Whether you’re pitching your product to a team of corporate buyers or an average Target shopper, you need to be clear on who you’re selling to. Creating buyer personas is the best way to ensure that every piece of marketing copy and value-driven content is directed at the exact people who can benefit most from your product.
It takes some research to create an accurate buyer persona. Hubspot recommends starting by gathering basic demographic data on your ideal buyer. Use Google Analytics, keyword research, and targeted website forms to help you narrow your data. From there, you can get more personal by tracking social media engagement, surveying current clients or customers in focus groups, and even interviewing your ideal potential customers to learn more about what they’re looking for from your product or service.
Now you’re ready to compile the data into multiple buyer personas. For B2B companies, this might include a focus on the exact company leaders who have influence and purchasing power. B2C companies might want to hone in on their persona’s lifestyle, how spontaneous they are when considering a purchase, and the length of the buying cycle for their product or service. In either business model, buyer personas aren’t just self-serving. Understanding who your customers are and what they need is the best way to offer value and predict future behavior.
Focus On the Human Element
Now that you know who your prospective buyers are, you can focus on connecting with them. Even B2B brands need to connect with people as individuals if they ever want to make a sale. “We need to come to terms with the fact that consumers are people, who want to lead their own lives, the way they want it,” says Lauren Drell for the American Marketing Association (AMA). “They buy products and brands only because they help them, to meet their aspirations and desires.”
The human element is a classic marketing strategy that’s often forgotten in the race to implement the newest industry trends. Get back to basics by looking at prospective buyers as people first, consumers second. Engage with people on social media and make space to get to know your existing customers. The AMA recommends looking for clues to what’s important in their lives and what values they hold that may impact how or why they purchase from you.
Both B2B and B2C companies can improve their marketing efforts by remembering that people come first, always. People can tell when you’re looking at them as nothing more than a cash cow, and your brand will reflect diminishing value if you don’t keep your focus on the human element.
Promote the ROI of Your Product/Service
B2B and B2C companies may have different business models, but there’s one metric both businesses and consumers want to know before they make a purchase: return on investment. Both businesses and consumers want to be sure they’re going to see results if they choose to invest in what your brand is offering.
Most B2B companies are well aware of the need to prove their product’s worth to corporate buyers, who are more likely to make decisions based on logic and rational thought and who have a longer sales cycle, according to Hubspot. B2B marketers should focus on presenting successful case studies and reports that highlight positive results from the use of their product or service.
B2C consumers are less concerned about hard numbers and more interested in the benefits you can provide them. Psychology Today reports that “it is the perceived emotional end-benefits of owning and using specific products or services that moves consumers to a purchase decision and action.” Using strategies like inbound marketing to build your brand equity can influence consumers to give your product a try when they have a problem that needs solving.
Be Better Than Your Competitors
Every company needs a marketing strategy, but it will be less of an uphill battle if you’re truly the best in your industry. Making sure your offerings are directly targeting your buyer personas and better than what your competitors bring to the table is a simple formula for increased sales.
You’ve already laid the foundation to beat your competition by connecting with your customers and identifying your buyer personas. By offering exactly what your people need, you’ll automatically deliver more value than a competitor that’s focused only on their own business.
Both B2C and B2B companies can combine this foundation with smart brand positioning to stand out from the crowd and make the competition all but irrelevant. Kissmetrics offers suggestions like positioning your company as the best at just one or two things and becoming more user friendly than competitor options. These are the type of value-driven tactics that will turn potential customers into loyal brand advocates.
Marketing Tactics That Stand the Test of Time
The next time your team is arguing over B2B versus B2C marketing trends, remind them of these foundational marketing tactics that should be the basis of any business model’s marketing strategy. By focusing on connection and quality first, you’ll provide the high-value offerings your customers are seeking.
Now that you’ve got a solid foundation, learn how to pair your marketing strategy with a strong brand identity to bolster your bottom line.