Guest post from our U.S. partner Text100 and its Hypertext blog. Insights for this post were taken from the Text100 Influence Index: Paving the Path to Advocacy. Authored by Rowan Benecke.
A major goal for B2B companies is reaching decision-makers to keep their product top-of-mind and ultimately result in sales. However, given the proliferation of content and general noise in the B2B industry, it’s hard to keep track of who is actually influencing buying decisions. Based on surveying more than 1,900 decision-makers, our Influence Index revealed the major influencers impacting business decision-makers and what they purchase.
In order to make the right choices regarding who to target to ensure your brand is part of the product buying conversation, decision makers (unsurprisingly) turn to sources they trust, who are highly influential in the decision-making process. Typically, these influencers fall into three main buckets:
If we go back 60 years, salesmen were responsible for the majority of a company’s sales (save those generated from advertising). Literally men travelled door to door selling products, speaking directly with consumers.
Not anymore. The reality is that today, nearly 60 per cent of B2B purchasing decisions are already made before customers contact your company, as recently revealed by the Corporate Executive Board (CEB).
The tide has turned, and the way customers move through the buying cycle has evolved to a ‘self-service’ model to research and decide for themselves whether they want to purchase before speaking with anyone. Read More
It’s true. Listening is the most important part of your social strategy. Social media listening is even more important than the content creation. So far, we’ve talked about the quality of followers being more important than the number of followers and provided a step-by-step process for identifying the right social media platforms for your brand. If you’re a B2B communications pro, you have your social media objectives laid out, have planned your launch and have your team in place.
But now what?
Now it’s time to listen. Simply put, listening should drive your B2B social media strategy. Here are few reasons; listening will tell you when your customers and partners are upset; listening will tell you when your audience has unanswered questions about your product; listening will let you know how customers feel about your brand; and listening will even tell you when there’s a sales opportunity. If you aren’t listening to your audiences, how do you know what they want? Read More
It’s a crowded world out there with marketers competing fiercely for the dwindling attention spans of customers who are much more savvy, informed and cynical about marketing. There’s too much advertising, too many messages and too little time for customers to sort through it all.
Ironically, these modern-day marketing challenges also present a solution.
If your customers are deluged with too much information, help them find what they’re looking for. If they have too little time, help them save time. It’s called branded utility and it’s about providing your customers with something that is useful to them. Read More
Oftentimes a trendy marketing term is just a fancy new name for something that has been around for long time (we are marketers, after all), so I couldn’t resist looking for a definition online. As you might expect, there are myriad definitions, and I was delighted to find that Heidi Cohen had done the research for me in her informative blog post that collates 21 different definitions of content marketing.
If you take the time to read even a few definitions, many of you may be thinking to yourself that content marketing is not new. Look at Kraft for example: It has been producing cookbooks related to the use of its products for decades, and it’s still blazing a trail in the digital age with sites like Kraft Recipes, which offers recipes, tips and a community portal that allows fans to share ideas.
We believe what’s driving this new content marketing trend is, in a word, digital. Read More
In my first blog I discussed the fallacy of followers – the focus on the volume of followers, fans and friends a brand has across social platforms rather than on who those followers are – and outlined a strategy every B2B brand can follow to cultivate quality followers.
But let’s take a step back. What if your brand isn’t on any social platforms yet? B2B brands are moving – in droves – to social platforms, but how do you know which of the (seemingly) endless networks, forums and communities are right for your brand?
In short, you don’t. Many brands have leapt into the social sphere believing it another mass-communication vehicle for one-way messages. It’s not, and in order to cultivate the right followers – and by extension, grow your brand – every B2B needs to take a strategic look at which platforms are right for them. And it starts with determining your social media objectives.
Ask any communications professional with experience in B2B social media and he or she will tell you the same thing: it’s challenging. That’s because B2B just isn’t the same as business-to-consumer (B2C). While B2C practitioners work on Facebook campaigns for new cars, B2B practitioners are thinking about how to generate the most creative and exciting campaign for a construction-grade tire. There’s just no comparison.
That’s not to say that with a little imagination and talent you can’t make a good B2B social media campaign stick, it’s just more difficult because a B2B campaign is typically targeted to a more niche audience. This means we face the dual challenge of making a social media campaign memorable to an audience with more specific needs and interests. Read More