Traditional marketing approaches have always focused the creative, ‘human’ brand activities into the B2C markets. B2B marketing has always been seen as an area which can be approached in a rather more formulaic, less ‘person-driven’ way, that endlessly focuses on business solutions to problems, rather than attempting to engage with the individuals that work in businesses in a human, individualised way.
However, the landscape is changing as digital channels emerge, strategies evolve and marketers begin to realise that the same level of thought and innovation must be applied to people in all contexts; whether they are buying as individual customers or operating in a professional capacity.
The fact is, people are people, in whatever context they are working and in whatever environment. B2B marketing has traditionally taken different approaches because the sales cycle is usually longer. A B2C purchase will often run through a very quick process of information-gathering, decision making and an online ‘click’ to buy. However, business marketing tends to work through protracted relationship building, option gathering, due diligence and a partnership approach, leading to an informed decision to buy and a contract that formalises that arrangement over the longer-term.
However, relationships are still key to this entire process. And where brands need to build relationships with business people, they need to be humanised, personable, engaging and likeable. They need to understand and contextualise the problems that businesses face; they are, after all, collections of individuals with shared goals and individual challenges. Marketers and salespeople need to show that they can address these problems in a way that excites individuals and which persuades them that the brand is right for their business, on a human level.
This means applying the same degree of creativity in a B2B context as a marketer would for a B2C campaign.
For many businesses, this way of thinking represents a fundamental shift and the challenge can be significant. However, the rise of digital marketing channels and wider marketing evolution means that there are myriad examples in each industry where forward-thinking businesses are moving ahead with their ‘humanised’, creative and emotional connection strategies; bringing brands to businesses in fresh new ways that garner results.
Successful B2B brands are mining their rich data reserves to understand what the customers of today really want, and then presenting solutions in fun, lively, informative and memorable ways. Leading players are shaking up the landscape of B2B communication with exciting language, enjoyable videos, short-burst tweets, rich-media presentations, enticing events and more.
The challenge lies in showing B2B buyers that your brand really understands their complex needs and then leveraging every channel and current technique at your disposal to persuade them of your suitability. This means being ready to create, innovate and push your brand further, into an increasingly competitive world where risks must be taken – and brands humanised – to continue to be relevant to high-value clients.
With the business landscape experiencing tremendous flux against a backdrop of digital transformation, the opportunities are as boundless as the challenges. RC&A is here to help you meet your digital talent needs. We source digital specialists at all levels and across all disciplines for businesses determined to stay ahead of the game. Contact us to find out more.
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