The B2B industry has exploded as of late. With the advent of SaaS (software as a service) over the last decade, we’re noticing that a lot of the business world’s darlings are in fact B2B companies. For instance, Slack, Google (they make money by selling advertising to businesses), Palantir and Square are just a few of the companies that are grabbing headlines that are in the B2B industry.
With the growth the industry is seeing, there are also trials that entrepreneurs in B2B are facing. Fortunately, some statistics are available that allow you to study what most B2B businesses find challenging today. Some categories might surprise you. All of them fit together into creating a marketing plan that helps you look unique while bringing better brand awareness.
Standing Out and Innovating
MarketingProfs.com recently cited a study from B2B International showing what many B2B businesses consider their steepest challenges in their fields. At the top of the list was the act of innovating and finding ways to stand apart from competitors.
While this might surprise you being at #1, it shouldn’t based on how much competition is out there. It seems that no matter what type of business you have, it’s already being done either locally or somewhere nationally. When you’re all competing online, the world gets a little smaller.
With your focus on creating innovation in your products, you also want innovation in the service you provide. You can do this through unique branding on your website and on social media. You have to find what your business customers really want first, which you find through conversations on social media or studying existing data on your existing customers.
Once you know what they really want, you have opportunity to showcase what makes you stand alone from your competitors. Through marketing videos and infographics, you present the details of how you’re different. One of the best ways is being transparent in videos and showing behind-the-scenes footage of how you make your products and what your staff does.
Through the infographics above, you essentially provide a more entertaining white paper to your business customers telling exactly how you’ll benefit them when they buy your products.
Building Market Share
The second biggest challenge for B2B businesses from the above study is worries about how much market share they have. Once again, this comes down to uniqueness and proving why a business customer should choose you over dozens of others in the local area.
In this instance, local marketing is getting more attention lately as the most effective method in gaining more business. Even if you’re an online company, competing on a national scale is sometimes an impossible climb. Targeting business marketing for your local area helps you dominate the market share in the town or city where you’re located.
JohnTalk Online also points out the dominating factors for finding market share: Setting your price, service quality, and product comfort. You can market these on your website with more transparent information proving you provide the best deals and quality. Customer testimonials on video (or in text form) helps as well as the ultimate evidence in how your product helped them solve a life problem.
Keeping Up with Your Competition
Third on the list for B2B challenges is finding ways to beat the competition so you’re always ahead of the game. Part of this comes in dealing with competitor research where you consistently have awareness of what others are doing. By doing this on a regular basis, you get into the competitive mind of what others are doing so you set competitive prices and tap into innovative marketing methods no one else uses.
Research on your competitors is possible through their social media accounts so you see what their marketing tactics are. Also, talking to customers who’ve been to your competitors gives you plenty of clues on establishing the best marketing techniques for getting ahead. Even talking directly to a competitor sometimes works if you’re on a friendly basis. Most companies are willing to answer questions on the phone as long as you don’t make it clear you’re doing it for competitive research.
This is the fourth most important challenge facing B2B business today, despite the opportunities being so much greater now in digital marketing. Social media might seem like the best place for brand awareness, though mobile ads are where you should place new focus for this year.
Recent reports have mobile ad use shooting up 76% last year, which proves most companies understand how many consumers use mobile devices now to find information on brands and companies. Brand awareness is much more effective on a mobile device because most people want information in a hurry. Your business customers are no different, especially when they need products immediately in order to stay competitive in their field.
Providing targeted mobile ads for your demographic is your best bet so you again think locally. Also don’t forget about simpler imagery as a form of brand awareness. Logos are still important because they consolidate everything about your company into something instantly meaningful. By careful use of color scheme and even mottos, you’ll have business customers recognize you whenever they see the logo online.
Brand awareness additionally comes in value perception, which means showcasing elements of your products that make them different from any other. Your product descriptions should reflect this, plus giving links to those products on social media so you form an immediate sense of quality.