The B2B Secret Weapon You Didn’t Know You Had
Let’s face it, B2B marketing can be a little bit tricky. Most consumer brands have the advantage of an easy-to-understand product to leverage – after all, there’s not much you have to explain about a paper towel, a family restaurant, a line of clothing, etc. Plus, in many cases these brands don’t have to help their prospective customers understand why they need their product , because the need is well established or otherwise fundamentally “built in”.
The B2B world is different. Your product may be complex, and in many cases, your prospects many have no idea that such a product exists, or that they even have a need for it. So – marketing gets tricky. There are many strategies and tactics you can employ to overcome your B2B challenges. Weapons you can add to your arsenal, in other words, that help your business attract new customers and crush your competition. The one we’re going to discuss in this article is a secret weapon that many B2B fail to consider- which is a shame, because you already own it and invest money in it every day. And that secret weapon is:
People. This may sound a little hokey, but just hear us out:
Let’s say that your primary product is a software platform. Your marketing messages are all about the solutions your software provides for businesses with particular problems, needs, or challenges. And that’s smart. That means you’re thinking strategically about the motivations of your best customers, which is always the beginning of marketing strategy greatness.
But even though this kind of thinking is strategic, it may not be enough to propel you ahead of the competition as much as you’d like it to. Because a lot of other B2B brands are thinking that way, too. So the question becomes “What can we do, besides calling out how our product is superior, to differentiate ourselves from the competition?” That’s where people come in.
In a recent article, we discussed how it’s possible to borrow a page from the B2C marketing playbook and create a “cult of personality” around your B2B brand, even though B2B products don’t have the built-in emotional, psychological, or survival appeal that consumer brands enjoy. In other words, you can still have fun with your brand, and subsequently create more excitement and interest around your brand – even if your in-laws’ eyes glaze over when you talk about your software platform at Thanksgiving, or if your primary customers are law firms that are sometimes a little “buttoned-down” in their way of doing business.
Well, as you might have already guessed, it’s going to be hard to create a B2B cult of personality unless you really turn up the spotlight on your people. So now we’re back to the differentiation we mentioned a moment ago. Everyone talks about their software solutions. But how many companies also talk about the team behind that solution – and how many companies bother to get to know much about the people who need their solution?
Not many, and that’s an opportunity for you to stand out. Here are some examples of how this might execute:
1.) Product demonstration videos that are narrated by Jeff from the development team, not an actor.
2.) Blog posts that are penned by team members, not an anonymous brand voice.
3.) Customer testimonials that are presented in the form of a case study or conversation, not a one-dimensional quote on your website.
And so on. The possibilities are endless, really. So- the next time you’re at a networking event and someone asks you what you do, think about turning up your company’s personality (as well as your own) when you give your elevator speech. If you notice the conversation suddenly becomes a lot livelier, just think what might happen if you integrated this way of thinking into your entire marketing strategy.