Peter Weinberg and Jon Lombardo, of the B2B Institute for LinkedIn, talk about how B2B is the next big thing in marketing. Similarly, others posit thatB2B will rev up to power the surge in demand for data and technology to drive sustainability, efficiency and other major changes to our economy.
With this acceleration comes competition. Artificial intelligence was forecast to see a compound annual growth rate of 21% year over year from 2020 through 2025. Sustainable tech is expected to grow at a similar pace.
2023 is a “pivotal year” for B2B as spending in the U.S. approaches $15 billion on digital advertising alone. B2B marketers have more competition than ever. In my opinion, 2023 is likely to mark the first breakout B2B marketing campaigns on connected TV (CTV), dramatic improvements in the use of data, and unique new approaches that marry online and offline into a new buyer journey.
B2B Is Coming To A Show Near You
I recently saw an ad for a new luxury winter coat. The ad had all of the expected elements for a luxury product: an interesting product name, glamorous models, cool music and an exotic location. The ad was also a high-definition commercial shown next to premium CTV streaming content. That’s what it takes to make a first impression in the crowded field of luxury retail.
While that coat clocks in at a hefty $1,500, that’s peanuts compared to a typical B2B purchase. It got me thinking about how B2B marketers are incorporating “first impressions” into their budgets for next year and where they’ll need to step up their game to get out in front.
One important element that B2B marketing needs to incorporate is memorability. B2C brands are major spenders on things like premium placement, unique-format creatives and pricey design. It’s worth B2B marketers’ time to invest in some creative expertise to understand which elements really make a bigger impression on their buyers—be it a splashy commercial on CTV, a more powerful website experience or something else.
Good thing that B2C marketers have done so much work for us already. We can look to industries with long purchase cycles to get some ideas for how to bring some “sexy” to B2B marketing and step up our game. In addition to luxury retail, travel, real estate, auto and financial services can all provide important lessons for the next phase of B2B marketing.
How B2B Marketers Can Adapt To B2C Tactics
B2B buyers are also human, and the buyer journey is as much about their personal experience through that process as it is about the product offering. Marketers should consider the experiential elements that make a great B2C buying experience and see if they can apply them to their own buyer journey.
Salesforce tapped actor Matthew McConaughey in their Super Bowl ad, which had a big-budget movie feel. (Full disclosure: Our company partners with Salesforce.) The ad appealed to people’s interest in sustainability and progress—emotions that work just as well for a B2B message as a B2C message. Not every B2B marketer has the budget for a Super Bowl ad, but the concept is similar: Appealing to people’s emotions grabs attention.
B2B marketers can also tap into the concept of conversational marketing to help give prospects information more quickly and speed up the buying cycle. For example, more B2C companies in insurance, healthcare and other high-consideration industries are starting to use chatbots and outbound calls with products such as Regal.io to reach people who are stuck in their online journey. For complex B2B sales, this makes even more sense. B2B companies can employ triggers based on online behavior or email responses to generate conversations and create a more personal connection.
Another pillar of B2B marketing—content—can benefit from a B2C makeover. Companies that bury important information deep in their website or gate every piece of content make it harder for people to get the information they want. Collecting lead information shouldn’t get in the way of a great experience.
The Power Of Data Grows Stronger
For anyone who is skeptical about B2C tactics having value for B2B marketers, note that the devil is in the details. A critical study of advertising concluded that a lot of what’s invested in TV commercials actually delivers negative ROI—if the brand is not careful about how it advertises. With data and insights, brands can absolutely achieve higher ROI for their investments.
One trend many B2C marketers are following is the use of creative analytics to make smarter design decisions. This fits in well with B2B marketers’ more scientific approach to marketing. Companies like VidMob and Memorable help ensure that extra money spent on creative actually drives higher outcomes.
What’s more, many B2C brands are leaning into their own first-party data to target audiences more accurately. B2B marketers can do the same—and should. Using identity-based ad targeting can help B2B brands reach their highest-value audiences with precision across channels.
Advancements in how data is matched can also help B2B marketers continue with an account-based marketing strategy using “account-level IDs.” A media plan can execute a series of targeted messages across a buying group to ensure everyone gets the right message at the right time for a highly orchestrated approach.
With uncertain economic times ahead, B2B marketers should be open to testing tactics that could have a material impact on sales, especially if they aren’t particularly difficult to implement. While implementing new data and technology do require a heavier lift, the good news is that our company’s recent research found that most marketers are already investing in those areas, so they just need to sharpen their focus on a few key tactics taken from the B2C world. With small wins, B2B marketers can lean into their success and advance their marketing strategy in a new, more profitable direction.
Seeking to build and grow your brand using the force of consumer insight, strategic foresight, creative disruption and technology prowess? Talk to us at +971 50 6254340 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.groupisd.com/story