It is always best to be equipped with real-time data before designing and devising any marketing strategy, including marketing in digital space.
Here is a complete guide to creating a robust b2b digital marketing strategy
Statistics you may need to know
Before jumping into an ever-growing and constantly changing arena, it is best to be equipped with some factual information. And, here we’ve made your job easier.
Here, the market in the talk is digital. So, the digital market size is quantitatively measured for two things:
- The number of people making online purchases.
- The monetary value in terms of figures.
Going back to 2018, 1.8 billion people made purchases online worth $2.8 trillion. Analysis of the projecting statistics reveals that this size might increase to 2.14 billion users contributing to the worth of nearly $4.8 trillion by 2021.1
77% of the digital B2B buyers find their purchase journeys problematic. According to Carter’s study3, these journeys have been described to be painful and time-consuming.
- Some of the many successful B2B players in the market are:
- Flexfire LED
- General Electric
- Baby Tula
- Selini NY
- Berlin Packaging
- Best Access Doors
Guide to B2B Digital Marketing Strategies
The global market needs global marketing campaigns. And hence, the digital market needs digital marketing. With B2B as the chief connecting link, the need of the hour becomes B2B digital marketing. And there’s a huge competition.
To lead, you need to employ strategies, even in digital marketing. Here’s a guide into the same.
1. Targeting the reasons
Why does a person make an online purchase? The answer varies for varied users, some of which can be:
What can be better than having a needy product/service delivered at the doorstep? The online market has made anything at a distance of only a click. Anything can be bought anywhere and at anytime.
This saves time people spend in retail store markets. They may spend a whole day buying a single thing that they can order online in just a few minutes.
When talking about retail marketing, the buyer has to visit various stores in person. To avail multiple options even in the same store can be a tiring as well as time-consuming process.
Whereas scrolling down multiple options on the same website or checking out the availability across other sellers through an online channel is less time-invasive, less tiring, and gives access to several options.
Online sellers have a direct reach to the consumer. Cost-cutting is two-way:
At the seller’s end: No showroom is required; no store-keeping staff is required. The operational and maintenance cost of businesses on online platforms is much lower than the physical shops.
Another benefit is that wear and tear of items that have to be opened, displayed, repacked for many customers until it is finally bought makes the products more vulnerable to any physical damage. But, this remains entirely safe on online portals. Time is saved to a great extent. Time and money both are precious and safe.
At the buyer‘s end: There are many more cost-cutting edges of an online market. This reduces the final price of the product. And when a purchaser steps out to purchase one thing, he ends up purchasing more, most of the time for attraction, thereby spending more.
Whereas, buying a product online keeps the purchaser aloof from distractions and the purchase intention restricted to the product to be bought.
E-commerce has enabled to surpass the geographical barriers and limited region sales. What was exotic is now available globally.
What may not be available in one store can be purchased from another online store. The availability of products from any part of the world can be accessed and benefits availed.
The TIP: While building a strategy for your B2B market, keep an eye on the purchase intention and the purchase behavior of the buyer. Since these two things vary for each product, the strategy designed will be distinct according to the product.
2. Purchase journeys
The traditional purchase journeys have too many unnecessary time consuming, tiring, and sometimes boring steps.
The TIP: While building a strategy for your marketing campaign, try to make the purchase journeys interesting, user-friendly, less time consuming, and cheaper. Human beings are social beings. The space of marketing and the trends keep on changing.
But the social nature of humans cannot change. Interdependence is the backbone of all the living things, and how we are different from others is our social nature. Social networking platforms, collectively known as social media, have taken advantage of this social nature to capitalize.
Whatever and however, technology may advance, it will have to address the social needs of the society.
No matter what,
a. Use Social behavior to create demand for your products.
b. Use social media to engage consumers.
EXAMPLE: An example of B2B marketing that made the purchase journeys exciting is by employing social commerce.
Social commerce transformed social connections into profitable connections. Social media is employed to create social connections, indulge in interactions, and contribute to online buying and selling of products and services.
An example of social commerce B2B company is Groupify that sells social shopping technology as a service (SSTaaS).
3. Creating demand
Trends do not change on their own. They are changed. Demands are created by the teasers and the advantageous offers over the existing ones. The sole purpose of selling a product is to generate profits.
The TIP: Many products have calculated markets where expansion is not possible. But, where there exists any possibility, create demand. Use user-generated content to create demand. User-generated here means the ratings, feedback, and reviews.
Before making the final purchase, the new customer tends to be influenced by the feedback of previous customers. The reviews and ratings are checked for both the product quality as well as the experience with the service.
4. Target market
The marketer needs to outstretch to reach the target market. Online shoppers are happier and retained customers on platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Tiktok, or Snapchat.
The hike in their revenues tells the figures of their success stories. The demographic data they possess can be utilized to customize the needs and target the right audience by the right advertisements.
The TIP: Differentiate between the traffic that can end up purchasing from the useless traffic. The number of visitors on a site may account for its popularity.
But, if they visit only because they have been directed there, the visit is useless. The main thing is the conversion rate. You may not want traffic to come to your landing page for window shopping or to just drop off.
5. Selection of products:
You cannot sell non-vegetarian food to people on a vegan diet. So, the selection of products is very crucial for a B2B marketer.
The significant advantage is that at the B2B level, inventory is not needed to be kept. While the retailers base the rates for their products based on the shelf life of the stock, their inventory stock, and the cost of keeping the inventory.
The online portals base their rates depending upon the speed of delivery of the product to the consumer. So, you can make the product available at lesser prices, which will give a profit margin to the buyer of your products.
Because he too intends to sell further what he’ll buy from you. This will emanate a demand for your products and popularity amongst the buyers.
The TIP: Select the products to sell very carefully. Either select the products that you know your target market needs, and you can capitalize by supplying their needs. Or you can select the products for which you are sure that you can create the market.
6. The solutions
As mentioned above, the existing purchases at the B2B level do not have happy buyers. So, it’s time to look for the solution.
The TIP: Recognize the problems that exist and present a unique solution. Standing out of the crowd in the digital world needs the problems to be tackled tactfully.
For instance, nearly 82% of people buying products online use mobile phones to make a purchase.4 If there is any delay, buyers tend to drop off and move to the competitor. So, today the speed is the King.
You need to pick on the pace to match the buyer’s requirements. 52% of customers are put off due to bad mobile experience.5 Customer needs an instant action, or they move on. About 40% of people go to a competitor5 for the same reason, while 61% of people tend to recommend it when they have a good mobile experience.
“For every 100 milliseconds improvement in search page loading time, eBay saw a 0.5% increase in “Add to Cart” count.” 2 Whereas a good mobile experience improves the opinion of the brand as per claimed by 61% of the surveyed people.6
In July 2019, mobile-first indexing was announced to become the default for all websites.7 So, if you are lagging anywhere behind in a mobile site, you need to get started today. Moreover, do not make your desktop websites responsive to mobiles.
Instead, get your mobile sites created, which can be made adaptive for your desktops. Using this method, your speed will be unbeatable and create happy experiences at the buyer’s ends.
Learn from the experience of others because no one can teach better than the experience. Know the Dos and the Don’ts from others’ experiences.
Know not to walk on the same path but to be able to design your path better than what the existing service providers do. And this will also help you recognize the touchpoints of both your seller as well as the buyer.
Let us get equipped with learning from two successful B2B digital marketers. Here, they are:
Founded by Jack Ma in 1999, Alibaba grew up to be the most successful B2B e-commerce company. It has badged a rank amongst the top 10 most valuable public company. The global giant is also ranked 59th biggest public company in the world by the Global 2000 list.8 There is a lot to learn from Alibaba like:
Selection of products:
As discussed earlier, one of the vital things in the sustenance of any business is the selection of products to buy and sell. Alibaba took this on a serious note, and one of the reasons for its success can be attributed to its selection of different products for different markets. It has also successfully tailored the same products according to different markets. Hence, learn customization from Alibaba’s experience.
When Alibaba first evolved, it created B2B e-commerce. The concept that didn’t exist was created by Alibaba to expose the Chinese manufacturers to global purchasers. They later introduced B2C and C2C markets, which are also growing day-by-day. So, if you have an innovative method that practically doesn’t exist, you can have an edge.
Focus on the customer:
Alibaba has evolved with the focus on its customers. One most significant thing where it diversified from other players and a lesson to learn is that it did not compete with its customers. It focused on the philosophy of creating the best experiences for the customers and never deviated from the same.
Correct use of data:
Another thing Alibaba earned from large transactions happening on its portal is massive demographic as well as the data about the market. Who sells what and who buys what and who can be a potential customer for another innovation; these are just a few examples. So, the key point to learn is how to utilize the data. Alibaba did not earn from the transactions, but it earned from the displayed advertisements.
General Electric (GE):
Ranked as the thirteenth largest enterprise in the 2017’s Fortune 500 list in the United States, GE belongs to the international B2B sector. The important lesson to learn from its success is the design of a campaign. This tells that a creative approach to which the customers can relate is a very important factor in getting the target hit. Doing important, big, and hard things in smart ways is the rightful approach.