BM/U3 Topic 1 Role of Marketing Communications in B2B Markets
Various marketing communications tools are used by B2B companies is to retain existing customers, connect with new customers and focus on helping to turn prospective customers into sales.
Therefore understanding the buying behaviour of your market, targeting the right prospects and providing the right information/messages at the right time, through the right channels is of the upmost importance. And as your B2B buyers are more likely than B2C buyers to research and seek out information on the products they buy, it’s important that any communication your buyer receives is targeted, highly relevant and easily accessible.
There are many ways you can reach out to your target market, both off line and online. According to industry reports on where buyers go to gather information on products or services, it seems that websites still remain the most popular destination with nearly half of people saying they go straight to a company’s website if they are interested in finding out more (B2B Marketing and Base One: Buyersphere report 2013).
Although it’s also good to know that traditional methods remain important with many buyers still relying on material such as sales brochures or downloading pdfs for their information gathering. Additionally, tools such as Social media are a growing influencer and source of knowledge so should also be considered an important part of your marketing mix.b2b marketing communications tools Below, we’ve put together a check list of the b2b marketing communications tools you should be using to connect with your customers and enhance your sales
- Website – A B2B website helps buyers connect with manufacturers, wholesalers and exporters and vice versa. It acts as your online shop window and is the most likely go-to place for any prospective customer or end user wanting to investigate your services or products. B2B buyers aren’t shoppers they’re researchers and therefore you need to ensure that your website not only communicates the right level of information but also appeals to your customers as well as end users – two distinct audiences with two distinct demands. Your trade customers will require detailed, easily accessible information on products, whilst your end users tend to take a broader approach, being, attracted to you as a company, your professionalism and what you have to offer. Therefore building an easy to navigate, information rich, professional and clearly branded website to satisfy all channels is essential. Taking into account how they use the site and on what platform – mobile/tablet/laptop – also goes without saying.
- Branding – Branding is said to directly affect lead generation and ultimately sales. Get it wrong, by using the wrong messages and images and you’ll turn potential customers away. Create, develop and use it in the right way and your brand will attract the right people for the right reasons.
- Social media – As of 2012, 91% of B2B marketers now use social media but its how you use it that counts. For B2B companies, businesses should go deep, not broad. It’s better to become a master of one or two channels than struggle in many. Social platforms allow you to establish your expertise and credibility and also provide a method for feedback and discussion. Social networks are more like a real-world networking event. Think about Facebook, YouTube Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and possibly Pinterest. It’s beneficial to choose one platform and one network to focus on initially, and really n engage with your ideal customers there. As you master those channels, you can then start to expand into other realms.
- Technology – Treat technology and technological advances as your ally and you could seriously improve your marketing communications. From developing product Apps that your sales people can use as demonstration tools to mobile websites, dealership sites, improved direct mail logistics and 3d printing, new technologies allow you to easily and effectively target and connect with potential customers and improve your ‘pulling power’.
- Lead Generation – Building a database from your own leads, gives you a powerful marketing tool. Using a range of marketing techniques both online and offline to generate and nurture leads will help to increase your potential customer base, communicate to existing and potential customers and promote your company’s offering. Your website, social media channels, targeted email marketing, direct mail, exhibitions and telemarketing are all tools to aid data capture and build your customer relationship marketing (CRM).
- Email Marketing – Used as an important CRM tool, it will help you retain as well as gain customers. Well executed, targeted email campaigns to potential buyers in the market or regular e-newsletters are an effective way of engaging and staying in touch with existing and potential customers.
- The Right Sales Team Support – Statistics show that a high percentage of sales reps are typically not well enough prepared for initial sales meetings. Making sure that your sales team or dealers are equipped with the most relevant information is essential, so give them easy access to product details and tech info through dealership sites, product apps; mobile friendly websites and up-to-date, well branded sales literature and brochures. The right information, accessible at the right time can make the difference between a sale and a fail.
- Traditional Marketing Techniques: Print, direct mail, and telemarketing can still be a very effective way to target prospective customers in the B2B world. Correctly targeted and effectively produced direct mail can be more effective than email at converting potential customers, whilst trade shows and exhibitions offer face to face meetings, data collection possibilities, strong brand messages and the demonstration of new products and initiatives.