By: Mary Fearon
Try something for me? It will only take a second. Google “boring B2B marketing.” Let me guess – over 300,000 results turned up? That’s what I found when searching from our agency where we’ve specialized in B2B marketing for more than 100 years. That’s right, a century of B2B. In fact, some of our current client relationships date back almost that far. Financial services, transportation, manufacturing, construction, mining – we’ve done it all. And, no, we haven’t always gotten it right. But we have learned.
So why does B2B marketing seem to have so many people falling asleep at their laptops? It’s a problem that goes back to the dawn of businesses selling to other businesses. A challenge of finding ways to share complex, technical and often dry aspects of their business in order for customers to understand their true points of difference – a real reason to make the switch.
There seem to be a million reasons why we suck the life out of all things B2B. It’s technical. Our customers are already experts. It’s all about the product. Our industry is highly regulated. Our legal team said so. And so on, and so on. Sure, all of these things may be true, but we can still avoid the common pitfalls of boring B2B. Because if we don’t, our customers avoid us, too. And, let’s be honest, they already do.
Today, if you live in a developed country, you’re literally just a click away from virtually anything you want to know. Your expectations have changed. If you’re going to listen to anyone about anything, they’d better understand you, what you need and engage you on your terms. Otherwise, someone else will.
And B2B customers are no different. After all, they’re people, too.
Most B2B marketing fails to respond to this new environment, but it’s not for a lack of trying. B2B marketers know what they’re up against, but continue to fall into the same common traps. Here are just a few:
These pitfalls exist in every B2B segment we’ve worked in and almost become a part of the company culture. If you’re a B2B marketer, you’re certainly not alone. When our clients come up against these common traps, we bring it back to three guiding principles:
1. B2B is about people helping people.
2. Focus on what your customer cares about.
3. Own your differences to make your business unique and your voice heard.
So, you see. You can engage your B2B customers without trading the humanity, the intrigue or the personality to make your point. You can do it all. You just need the courage to be different and the trust that your true customers will get it. And, you may find it feels good to stand out from the pack.