If someone were to tell me more than a decade ago that I would be doing B2B marketing, I wouldn’t have believed you. In fact, if you had asked me what B2B marketing entailed, I would’ve just shrugged my shoulders. It’s now been a year since I joined the marketing department at ALLWAY® and I have a more clearer picture of what that entails. Although we do not sell directly to consumers, I have come to notice in my personal experience that a growing number of everyday people, whether professionals or DIYers, are contacting us with questions regarding our products instead of say the hardware store or home improvement center. What gives Home Depot? We’re now doing YOUR work? How about we start earning a paycheck from you guys.
In case you’re not on the know, here’s a quick refresher. B2B businesses like the one I work for target wholesalers, distributors, and sometimes other manufacturers. B2C sells directly to customers so there is a particular focus on learning about behavior and buying habits.
Karen Walker, the CMO at Intel, once stated that in the past five years, there has been a drastic change in B2B buyer behavior. The differences between a consumer and business buyer’s path to purchase used to be much larger but now that things are rapidly transitioning into a digital space, there is a significant amount of crossover. A recent study by Gartner found only 17% of a business buyer’s time is now spent meeting with suppliers. While over a quarter of their time (27%) is allocated to independent online research.
For those transitioning from school to the workplace, now is an interesting to make an impact this early in your career; marketing will play a more significant role now than ever before. Of course, it is the obligation of companies who are B2B and have a genuine desire to adapt to this changing world to sell themselves to quality talent. It’ll be difficult for them since most graduates want to work for high-profile B2C companies such as Amazon, Apple, Pepsi or perhaps some up and coming streetwear brand. It doesn’t help that for many B2B companies, they are still operating as if it’s the last century. That won’t cut it.
Let’s shift back to the topic of tools. I’m Joe Schmoe the Painter. Like an increasing number of people, I don’t start my weekend watching television or listening to the radio. I’m sneaking a few minutes during break watching whatever is trending on TikTok, YouTube, Instagram or Facebook. That means something. If I dislike the tools that I’m using, am looking for alternatives and find some interesting videos that compel me to switch.
B2B or B2C? Doesn’t matter. It is the obligation of companies to use whatever methods are available to reach buyers online and guide them through the purchasing journey until they are finally sold and start talking to a human. Marketing in the modern day is brand advocacy mixed with storytelling. You have to explain why your product should be preferred or what sort of principles your brand abide by. Be proud. Show your passion especially when the product you are showing is something that can change the world.
Embrace data as a tool to derive a detailed analysis as to why your strategy should be the one moving forward. It also holds you accountable. You can become a much better customer advocate than a regular sales representative. Because you can take the numbers showing what consumers value and don’t and tailor the experience so they are not only satisfied but think of your brand as the go-to.
Mind you, it is and can get challenging at times but if you welcome a challenge, perhaps your marketing career should begin in a B2B company.