B2B (Business-to-Business) marketers are looking to grow their audience in 2018, and B2B buyers or customers want partners (not vendors). What are the most effective ways to connect these two needs? Two blog posts touched upon this in late October: a LinkedIn Pulse post about the success of content marketing and a Marketing Charts article focused on B2B relationship-building.
What B2B Marketers Want: to Grow Audiences with Targeted Content
According to Paul O’Malley at B2B marketing agency Kingpin Communications, the answer to cultivating and growing a B2B audience is content marketing. In his overview of a recent report by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, O’Malley cites a notable figure: ninety-one percent of B2B respondents use content marketing as part of their overall strategies. Most feel their efforts are becoming more effective over time, in part due to better targeting.
“The desire for competitive differentiation extends into purchase prices: buyers were most likely to say they had paid a premium for a product or solution when they believed that it would generate a competitive advantage for them.” — The Editors, MarketingCharts.com
In 2018, marketers and researchers can expect this trend to continue. O’Malley says eighty percent of the respondents look to use content creation to grow their subscribed audiences next year. Sixty-seven percent intend to focus their content on the audience rather than the brand.
In other words, a majority of respondents recognize that effective content marketing has to find the right audience and deliver it the right message.
What B2B Buyers Want: Marketers Who Know Their Companies
A second article at MarketingCharts.com gives an overview of new research from the Aberdeen Group. The study, based on a survey of over 250 B2B technology buyers, shows that buyers find certain aspects of the sales experience to be a turnoff. Their biggest frustration is “vendors talking too much about themselves and not getting to know their company.”
Respondents stated that they dislike vendors who are too transactional and instead, prefer closer relationships with companies who function more like business partners. The article states, “When choosing a vendor, most B2B buyers take into consideration whether or not the brand will support their company’s goals (seventy-seven percent), and if the vendor can help sharpen their competitive differentiation (sixty-eight percent).” A majority of buyers are looking for a relationship that can benefit them strategically, such as helping them to identify new business opportunities and revenue streams.
In 2018, the key to B2B marketing and sales success is understanding buyers–what they need, and how you can deliver it to them in a way that creates new opportunities for their companies.