Running B2B Tech Marketing? Must-Do Activities in Your Mix

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If you’re running B2B tech marketing for (or with) a B2B company, you need to make sure that your marketing activity mix covers most of the newest best practices that have recently gained popularity.

In the digital era, B2B marketing has recently lent a lot of B2C’s treats and tricks. Social media has made everything personal and emotional, even in the world of business, compelling B2B companies to re-introduce themselves as more accessible and reveal human team members through personal branding. The mobile era has made micro-targeting a handy tool, and data that wasn’t accessible before is now easy to measure. New marketing analytics tools have emerged, and marketing has shifted towards becoming a lot more accurate.

Things have changed. B2B marketing is much similar to B2C marketing now days and performance marketing plays a key role in it. B2B marketers are forced to quickly adjust.

My tech customers know that they can enjoy brand marketing and KPI-oriented (data driven) marketing, altogether. I am expected to reach conclusions and optimize our activities based on data. I can’t experiment everything, of course, but still, I am expected to use advanced technological solutions, so I can quantitatively test most of my activities.

via GIPHY

That’s why I’ve decided to run a quick overview of the elements which, I believe, B2B tech marketing, or should I say marketers, must include (at least consider) in their marketing mix, so that you can check that you’re keeping up with the pack.

Not everything mentioned here is directly related to data -driven marketing, but all the points below can be managed employing a data-driven approach.

  1. Shift your marketing focus from product-centric to customer-centric. P2P (person to person) trust and a sense of relationship are both what drives sales in every industry sector, whether B2B or B2C. People still visit physical shops because of the human touch.

Social media grew so much because people are looking to connect with other people. In order to develop a trust relationship, B2B tech marketers need to create an accessible human figure to which their customers can relate. So many marketers, especially B2B marketers still fail to do so, hiding behind their business identity. What does ‘customer-centric’ approach mean, essentially? It means that instead of focusing on your product or your astonishing B2B tech marketing solution, you should focus on your potential customers. They are what you should have in mind when you work on your communications. What are he or she looking for? What experience did they probably have before they heard of you? What makes them smile? What motivates them? Don’t think “I am a dignified B2B company, I shouldn’t use humor or a light tone of voice”. Instead, I encourage you to use this approach: “My customers may be C level executives, but at the end of the day they are humans, just like everyone else. They probably love fun and light copy; they probably aren’t socializing only on LinkedIn, and they do scan their Facebook or Instagram feed searching for gems; they appreciate visuals and eye-catching colors; and they even enjoy a good laugh every now and then”.

Market your B2B product while thinking about the humanity of your customers. Help them get connected.’

Yes, you could and should use light and informal tone in your communications: Website, blog or alike. Yes, run lead-gen campaigns using “B2C platforms’ but measure the impact. I use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or alike in my B2B performance marketing. As long as the targeting is relevant, I am not afraid to leverage “leisure media channels”.

  1. You should need to focus on social media in your marketing campaigns. This is clear of course, but I’m talking about a real effort and an immense focus on multiple social media channels. Not just LinkedIn.

Smartphones have made us all work-attentive 24/7, so your potential B2B customers are accustomed to making their sales decisions through Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat or alike. Bear in mind that they are engaged with at least one of these channels most of the day. If you’re not there, offering fun, light and sexy content, catching their attention, well, it’s a pity, as I’m guessing your competitors are.

  1. Mobile first- Optimize your entire marketing for mobile: Heads up. In late 2016, mobile internet use passed desktop for the first time! As a result, Google announced a ‘mobile first indexing’ update in its search algorithm. The world has turned mobile. Your potential B2B customers make most of their online searches and social interaction directly from their smartphones. They read e-mails via mobile devices, they browse the internet (B2B too) via their mobile devices and they view ads on mobile devices. To be honest, I even manage many of my marketing activities, including campaign optimization, via my mobile device.

Many B2B marketers think that being a ‘Mobile-first’ business simply means having a responsive website, but in fact it goes so much deeper than that.

Practicing mobile B2B tech marketing means:

  • Understanding your users will probably read your e-mails on their mobile phones, and therefore optimizing not only the e-mails look-and- feel but the content as well.
  • Considering traffic sources when determining media channels.
  • Analyzing the data and understanding the difference between your mobile website visitors and desktop visitors, and adapting your online funnel accordingly (I’ve recently found out that while the mobile browsing website visitors in one of the tech companies I run, were actually very much engaged with the content, spent a lot of time consuming our blog posts and reviewing our offering, but weren’t converting to leads. We, therefore, decided to continue our paid campaigns that target mobile devices too – top of the funnel- but to focus on remarketing campaigns that are there to capture leads on desktop browsing).
  • Leveraging micro-targeting options that are available when running campaigns on mobile devices.

To conclude, if your tech marketing isn’t mobile -optimized, it may ruin your entire tech reputation.

 

  1. Make’m laugh, make them cry: In today’s world, B2B tech marketing emulates B2C marketing by adding personality to messaging and marcom materials. People aren’t necessarily rational and are a motivated by emotions. Insurance companies made a fortune because people aren’t rational, realizing that people hate risks more that they love rewards.

In fact,2 Israeli researches, Kahneman and Tversky won a  Nobel Prize related to this exact psychological phenomena, that has a dramatic implications on consumer decision making.

B2B tech marketing

B2B marketers, tech or not, or marketers in  general, must understand this human pattern and leverage it for their success.

Use communications which plays to your customers’ emotions and brings a human touch to your company’s image. Don’t hesitate using emotional messages in all your marketing assets.

 

  1. Focus on performance but don’t neglect your branding: B2B companies used to look down on personalization and branding as something that “B2Cs do.”
    Not anymore. Your B2B customers are more likely to trust, and buy from, a company with a clear persona and memorable values. Marketers know today that B2B sales cycles can be long and tedious. Trust gaining is a key success component. When there’s no brand, nor a clear differentiation and positioning, your sales team’s work is harder.

 

  1. Do inbound marketing differently-  This involves blogging, SEO optimization, and other features of content marketing to generate leads for new sales. Many B2B marketer don’t understand the real concept of content marketing.

Having a few PR announcements and product news in your blog doesn’t mean you are leveraging content marketing properly.

Check out this blog article by Dapulse, talking about how they grew their blog conversions by 750%. It showcases well the real effort around establishing an advance data driven content strategy.

Anyway, my 2 cents about content marketing:

  • Don’t start without first completing a content marketing keyword research and knowing your SEO goals.
  • Don’t list your topics before running a proper competitive analysis and understanding what’s been covered and what has not, what’s the content standards in your industry and so forth.
  • I’m a quality fan. Avoid mediocrity as the internet is flooded with worthless blog articles. Quality content makes the difference for SEO, traffic, conversions and of course branding. Longer content tends to rank higher in Google’s search results. The average Google first page result contains 1,890 words. It doesn’t mean that you should enrich your content with nonsense. It means that value added content is usually longer. Consider that.
  • Make your content readable, as people first scan content before deciding if it’s read- Here’s how.
  • Diversify your content marketing with interactive content and enriched storytelling through video and podcasts. Today, B2B tech marketing needs to entertain as well as inform your potential customers.
  • Proactively promote your content via professional communities, groups and content sharing platforms. Adding content to your blog is just the start. Nothing will happen without proper and even bullish promotion efforts.
  • Pay for exposure – B2B companies increasingly recognize the value of paid performance campaigns that use advanced technologies to target the right prospects. Paid amplification of your marketing messages using native advertising is an effective marketing tool for B2Bs.  Traditional B2C media channels such as Taboola or outbrain are entering the B2B game by offering retargeting capabilities. Facebook and LinkedIn Lead-Gen ads demonstrate their continuous focus on B2B advertising. The boundaries between the B2C and the B2B world are narrowing here as well.
  • Utilize Influencer marketing techniques – This incorporates many new tricks adapted from B2C marketing combined with traditional PR. Identify thought leaders in your field, individuals or businesses. Send them well-crafted product communication materials, offer freebies, ask them to join a demo and see if they can support you somehow. One important thing: Do not automate this activity. Thought leaders will immediately know when they have been targeted by marketing automation and they will, rightfully, turn their backs. Approach them one by one, give them the respect they have earned and move slowly. Don’t forget to measure their contribution to your KPIs (using UTMs or any other attribution tool) and keep rewarding them for their support (branded merchandise is made for this purpose :))

Overall, it’s time for B2B companies to be more adventurous in their marketing efforts. Product giveaways, customer appreciation, influencer marketing – many approaches that drive sales for B2C products will work for B2B tech marketing as well.

What B2C tech marketing tricks have you successfully adopted for the sake of your B2B tech marketing?

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Einav Laviv is a tech and startup marketing exec. with 20 years of experience, and a Co-Founder at G2Mteam, which supports Israeli startups with full-stack global marketing services since 2014. She lives, breathes, and loves deep tech & data driven marketing