Conventional wisdom about B2B marketing presumed it was a separate category from B2C efforts. We are seeing more and more that just isn't the case. Earlier this year I worked as a content strategist for a test and measurement equipment procurement company. I was tasked with positioning this B2B company as a leader in its respective industry. In marketing, terms like "thought leader" and "innovator" get tossed around a lot, but one of my goals was to leverage these brand personality traits to change our prospects’ perception regarding our current, stodgy image.
It’s Never Too Late to Learn
How stodgy? In my first two weeks on the job, I ran seminars for our team that showed off social media platforms and video content, which the team perceived to be still new and emerging marketing channels. I share this anecdote to illustrate that it’s never too late to learn new ways to share your message. While in the middle of running one of these seminars, a senior executive raised his hand: "Facebook and videos look cool," he said. "But people don't care about that. Our clients are B2B and what you're talking about is more B2C."
The Vanishing Point Between B2C and B2B Marketing
This old school perspective didn't come from out of nowhere. B2B was different than B2C at some point. The thing is, in this rapidly changing world, the wall between B2B and B2C is now vanishing. Whether it’s more consumer brands embracing buyer personas or the rise of small businesses owners joining the gig economy, B2B and B2C marketing tactics are essentially merging into a single practice that we simply just recognize as marketing. As Bryan Kramer says, “There is no more B2B or B2C. It's Human to Human.”
3 Key Points on Becoming B2B / B2C Agnostic
How do we actually apply this sort of thinking ?
- Recognizing and harnessing the power of social media isn't optional, but necessary. Social channels are your opportunity to evaluate your buyer’s first impressions, based on engagement, NOT your website. A social media strategy allows you to test your branding strategy, style guide, as well as to gauge client perception of your product or service.
- Within your industry, find a niche. Become an authority on that niche. At the test and measurement procurement company I worked for, we took an approach similar to educating our prospects through financial literacy. Even though we rented, leased, and sold test and measurement equipment, it was through helping clients understand the advantages to each method financing that equipment that set us apart from the competition.
- Once we had a niche established and a social media strategy, we had the foundation for a sound content strategy. Ultimately, your content should serve the two pillars mentioned above. In other words, it should visually be in line with your branding, style, and social media strategy, while reinforcing your expertise in your corner of the industry.
Finding Success Beyond B2B and B2C
The successes we saw with this approach simply could not be overstated. Since launching our strategy, we saw increases in both our interactions on social media, as well as visits to our website. And the beauty of this process is that it's completely scalable. Try it with your business and see where it takes you.