Marketing B2B and Reaching Corporate Buyers

Q) What services do you offer, how long have you been in business and why did you choose marketing?)

A) I started Tell Your Tale marketing and design in 2005 intending to help other business owners get word out about their products and services. I had held various marketing positions with global organizations such as Arthur Andersen and with smaller companies.

With a family of entrepreneurs, I wanted to own my business and felt that my success would be limited only by my tenacity. I started the company out of my home and, more than a decade later, we’ve grown to represent medium and large organizations nationwide.

Tell Your Tale helps business-to-business (B2B) organizations and retailers promote their businesses with graphic design, web development, public relations and professional writing. I can’t imagine working in any other industry or job, and I’m proud to be surrounded by a team of hardworking and positive marketing experts.

What are three quick tactics to keep in mind when creating a B2B marketing campaign?

Before starting, I always ask, “What’s your goal, and how will we measure success?” It’s critical to establish this because it sets the goal line and critical measures. As the adage goes, “What gets measured gets managed.”

Once you have your goal and metrics, look at strategy and tactics needed to achieve your goal. Here are some tactics to remember:

  1. Is your website updated with the latest on your business and how you’re helping clients? A blog is a great way to communicate regularly with prospects and customers while keeping your website fresh. Though some people think a blog post should be quite lengthy, we recommend aiming for 350 to 500 words each.

  2. Because a majority of people view online content on mobile devices, it’s also important that your website be “responsive,” meaning how its displays automatically adjust to the screen on which it’s viewed. The format will look a little different on a phone than on a tablet, laptop or desktop computer. Make it easy for prospects and customers to learn about your products or services with a responsive website.

  3. Beyond the web, your buyers can be found at research events and through publications they read. Use that information to reach your target audience through event sponsorship and media outreach.

How have you incorporated digital into your overall marketing efforts?

Digital marketing is a key element. Prospects and customers expect us to communicate well on a variety of platforms from our website and social media to online reputation management. However, having key messages carefully crafted for my business provides the foundation for all aspects of our marketing.

Knowing how to explain consistently what you do and how it helps another company spans all marketing channels. It’s also important for consistency and memorability to integrate into your digital marketing the key messages in your traditional or overall marketing efforts.

Which social media site do you think is best for reaching businesses?

Finding the right one to connect with buyers and prospects depends on your business. For the B2B space, I recommend connecting with other professionals on LinkedIn, which is much more than a place to post your online resume.

LinkedIn’s blogging tool helps business owners share knowledge and position themselves as thought leaders. Research this year from HubSpot shows that LinkedIn has 106 million monthly users who typically are slightly less likely to use other social networks. For my marketing agency, this is a great tool for connecting with other like-minded business leaders.

Click here to see full infographic.

I’m asked often about Twitter, but HubSpot’s research also showed that to be the most oversaturated social media platform. Fifty-three percent of Twitter users never post updates, so true engagement with prospects that way may be challenging.

For restaurants and retailers, Instagram is very popular and the fastest growing social media platform. People love photos, so if your business is visual, Instagram is a great tool. If you look at photos of delicious Mexican food thoughtfully plated next to a fresh margarita, it’s quite likely that you’ll head soon to my favorite Mexican restaurant.

That’s the power of Instagram in a nutshell. Research shows that 90 percent of Instagram users are under 35, so it’s a good way to engage with millennials and Generation Z.

It all boils down to who your target buyer is and which social media platform it uses most.

How important is building relationships when marketing B2B?

It’s all about the relationships. While marketing for B2B is quite different from targeting an individual, people still make the decisions in the B2B realm. In marketing for B2B, we look at where target professionals spend time so we can meet them there.

Then you can start building relationships with the decision makers by providing them value. That’s not always accomplished by pushing your product repeatedly. Many times, you must show others that you’re a thought leader and willing to help them before and after the sale. That’s how relationships are cultivated. It’s quite important in the B2B space.

Corporate buyers often look at price and profit and aren’t as emotionally driven as consumers when making a purchasing decision. How can companies communicate their value to a corporate buyer?

Beyond price and profit, corporate buyers want to know that your business has the capacity to do business with a large organization. Not every business is equipped for that. If yours has that experience and bandwidth, so to speak, I recommend having a capability statement written specifically to address pain points that your business addresses for corporates.

What cost savings can you offer? Which partners can you bring to the table that help corporates diversify and strengthen their supply chain? Beyond being able to  communicate these things effectively, you must attend events where your target corporates are so they see and get to know you.

Again, it’s about cultivating relationships because selling to large corporations can take years of relationship building and waiting for the time your product or service is really needed. That can feel like a long time, but relationships are key.

What are mistakes you’ve seen by brands when marketing B2B?

A common pitfall in marketing is not having key messages. Sometimes, there’s pressure to hurry marketing efforts because business leaders want to see sales quickly. From a business standpoint, I understand that desire.

However, your business must have key messages so everyone from the receptionist to the salesperson to the official company spokesperson explains what you do and why it matters — and does so the same way every time. Such consistency builds your brand and unifies your business in a single, strategic direction.

Our key messaging session helps businesses craft three to five key messages to use across marketing channels to communicate your offerings and differentiators clearly and crisply. It’s worth getting right upfront.