Most B2B companies typically don't want to hire B2C marketers. They're caught up in focusing on bottom-of-the-funnel leads and revenue. We'll talk about why that's incredibly shortsighted. Whether you're marketing a product or service to consumers or businesses, the thing to remember is that businesses actually employ consumers. So telling yourself B2B marketing is much different than B2C can be a tad bit dangerous (actually quite dangerous). Let's look at why this is.
How to spot B2B Marketing Villains
We've all seen them... what we like to call B2B Marketing Villains. Companies with great B2B SaaS offerings spend loads of time building amazing products and hiring the best devs and engineers -- but put zero, nada, zilch thought into what their brand is or stands for. This makes our hearts hurt and sometimes results in a lengthy maze of convoluted web pages, blogs, social media channels and product documentation that is either way too verbose, lacks a clear tone and POV and/or contains way too many buzzwords. Or even worse, doesn't separate them from their competitors.
Looking different across all mediums makes matters worse. Essentially, it becomes harder for businesses (ahem, consumers) to remember you vs. the competition and it makes the job of your sales and customer success teams that much harder. And then the dreadful occurs -- the value proposition gets lost. Gasp.
Add into the mix that if you have stiff competition— sometimes the one thing that will make you stand out IS your brand.
Conventional B2B marketing wisdom says you should follow the usual recipe of determining who a user of a product is, developing a persona, mapping the stage of the buyer journey and then building digital campaigns to serve the content you think they'll want. Sounds good, right? Well, if you ask us, only partially.
What about the concept of brand?
Before we go there, let's define what we mean by brand. "Brand" isn't just a logo— it's the sum of all parts and consumer touch points (logo, colors, voice, tone, content and how/where you show up, and what causes/partners you associate with) and ultimately impacts how people perceive and feel about your company. We like to think of brands as people -- and yours should have a distinct look and personality.
Remember, B2B buyers are people, just like you and me. Most of us have favorite brands that we love and/or are loyal to due to a multitude of factors -- we like what they stand for, they make us feel happy, improve our lives in some way, deliver impeccable customer support—or are just plain beautiful. Somehow, this can get lost in the world of B2B—but it's often more crystalized when you look at B2C brands. Some of the most powerful brands have strong identities and voices that are instantly identifiable.
Naturally, some folks are exceptions to this and doing it quite well. But let me tell you that there aren’t many. But it's not just me who thinks this way. A few months ago, Forrester released a report: Winning the new B2B buyer. It's a worthwhile read but two sentences really hit home:
"Too many B2B marketers underestimate the importance of branding to their success, focusing instead on a product-based appeal to buyers. Even among B2B marketers who say their companies have a brand promise, more than 40% say its perspective is inside-out — meaning the brand focuses on what the company brings to market, not on what the buyer needs, wants, or expects."
Stats don't lie.
Some roll their eyes when we broach the subject of brand, but it's a real thing. Trust me.
Our advice: Don't fall asleep at the wheel of your brand.
The more B2B marketers examine their brands through a B2C lens, the better off and likely more successful they'll be as marketers and businesses. It's not just about churning out content and assets— it's about finding your voice, speaking human, and uncovering the reasons WHY your audience would want to build trust and fall in love with your brand.
As giraffes like to say, you don't get any leaves unless you stick your neck out. It's never too late to start. If you need help with brand strategy, have a look here.
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