All Posts

6 Key Elements of a Successful B2B Manufacturer’s Marketing Strategy

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. 

For everything you need to know about B2B manufacturing and distribution, click here.

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. 

Offering a competitive B2B customer experience starts with a digital transformation roadmap. Download our free whitepaper and take a step towards an effective and profitable marketing strategy. 

Download Now

Earley Information Science Team
Earley Information Science Team
We're passionate about enterprise data and love discussing industry knowledge, best practices, and insights. We look forward to hearing from you! Comment below to join the conversation.

Recent Posts

[Earley AI Podcast] Episode 26: Daniel Faggella

Human Cognitive Science Guest: Daniel Faggella

[RECORDED] Master Data Management & Personalization: Building the Data Infrastructure to Support Orchestration

The Increasing Criticality of MDM for Personalization for Customers and Employees Master data management seems to be one of those perennial, evergreen programs that organizations continue to struggle with. Every couple of years people say, “we're going to get a handle on our master data” and then spend hundreds of thousands to millions and tens of millions of dollars working toward a solution. The challenge is that many of these solutions are not really getting to the root cause of the problem.  They start with technology and begin by looking at specific data elements rather than looking at the business concepts that are important to the organization. MDM programs are also difficult to anchor on a specific business value proposition such as improving the top line. Many initiatives are so deep in the weeds and so far upstream that executives lose interest and they lose faith in the business value that the project promises. Meanwhile frustrated data analysts, data architects and technology organizations feel cut off at the knees because they can't get the funding, support and attention that they need to be successful. We've seen this time after time and until senior executives recognize the value and envision where the organization can go with control over its data across domains, this will continue to happen over and over again. Executives all nod their heads and say “Yes! Data is important, really important!” But when they see the price tag they say, “Whoa hold on there, it's not that important”. Well, actually, it is that important. We can't forget that under all of the systems, processes and shiny new technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning lies data. And that data is more important than the algorithm. If you have bad data your AI is not going to be able to fix it. Yes there are data remediation applications and there are mechanisms to harmonize or normalize certain data elements. But looking at this holistically requires human judgment: understanding business processes, understanding data flows, understanding dependencies and understanding of the entire customer experience ecosystem and the role of upstream tools, technologies and processes that enable that customer experience. Until we take that holistic approach and connect it to business value these things are not going to get the time, attention and resources that they need. In our next webinar on March 15th, we're going to take another look at helping organizations connect master data to the Holy Grail of personalized experience. This is an opportunity to bring your executives to a webinar that will show them how these dots are connected and how to achieve significant and measurable business value. We will show the connection between the data, the process that the data supports, business outcomes and the and the organizational strategy. We will show how each of the domains that need to be managed and organized to enable large scale orchestration of the customer and the employee experience. Please join us on March 15th and share with your colleagues - especially with your leadership. This is critically important to the future of the organization and getting on the right track has to begin today.

[Earley AI Podcast] Episode 25: Michelle Zhou

Data Tells the Story Guest: Michelle Zhou