To compete in today’s digital marketplace, B2B manufacturers and distributors must offer customers an experience similar to those offered by top-tier B2C brands. Think: quick and transparent communication, personalized shopping experiences, and multiple channels in which to order.
But unlike most digital-first B2C companies, many B2B manufacturers are behind when it comes to marketing.
B2B manufacturers must recognize that traditional marketing techniques are no longer enough to attract customers. It’s time to develop a comprehensive, targeted digital marketing strategy to capture your audience’s attention and differentiate your products and services from competitors’. Continue reading to learn more about the key elements of a successful B2B marketing strategy.
1. Target Audiences
In the B2B marketplace, it’s common for marketers to target key decision makers within an organization, rather than the end user. To clearly identify your target audiences, pull qualitative and quantitative data to form buyer personas, or fictional representations of your ideal customers.
Buyer personas allow you to better understand audience goals, needs, and capabilities, while also answering the following key questions:
- How does your audience look for information?
- How does your audience process information and make decisions?
- What are your audience’s major pain points?
It’s critical to keep your target audiences in mind when creating messages, but it’s also important to recognize that customers aren’t the only key players in a B2B marketing strategy.
2. Strategic Partners
As you develop a B2B marketing strategy, it’s important to identify all of the partners involved in the manufacturing supply chain and their role in your marketing initiatives. The supply chain may consist of producers, vendors, warehouses, transportation companies, distribution centers, and retailers—just to name a few.
Consider ways in which you can leverage these relationships to attract and retain customers along their shopping journey. For example, manufacturers could provide their distributors with well-designed ecommerce tools that make the buying process easier for customers. It’s also important that all partners are armed with ample information to answer buyers’ questions quickly and easily.
3. Optimized Content Strategy
B2B buyers are looking for clear information that quickly answers their questions and solves their problems—not emotional propaganda, laden with confusing jargon.
To ensure that your marketing messages speak to your audience, develop an optimized content strategy. Impactful B2B content should be:
- Personalized to your target audience’s interests and needs.
- Easy to find, access, and understand.
- Timely to your customer’s stage of their buyer’s journey and to the most relevant events happening in your industry.
Content is an essential piece of any marketing strategy, but it is especially important for B2B marketers that tend to offer complex products and services in need of explanation.
4. Ample Lead Nurturing Opportunities
In B2B manufacturing and distribution, the sales cycle can last anywhere from six to nine months, depending on the size of the order, number of regulations, and number of decision makers involved in the process.
Because of this long sales cycle, it is critical that B2B marketers have a solid lead nurturing process in place to move prospects through the sales funnel. The most effective way to continuously nurture leads is by sending relevant informational content with automation, such as a marketing automation platform or a CRM. This not only ensures that you stay top of mind throughout the buying process, but also positions your company as an industry thought leader—with limited intervention required from your team.
5. AI Implementation Strategy
Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies present a wide range of opportunities for B2B marketers to enhance their strategy and processes, and it’s only a matter of time before many manufacturers and distributors leverage smarter technology.
Within your B2B organization, ensure first that you have an organized information architecture in place. Then, consider piloting AI marketing technologies, like automated emails, virtual assistants, and chatbots to amplify your marketing efforts.
6. Data Analytics
As you leverage new technologies, take the time to analyze and act upon the data they collect. Even simple marketing analytics, like the level of engagement on social media, can impact your future marketing strategy.
Kickstart Your B2B Marketing Strategy
At Earley Information Science, our team of experts regularly helps B2B manufacturers and distributors build the taxonomies they need, clean and normalize decades of data, and develop strategies to attract, engage, and retain customers.