The creative message and associated call to action in B2C advertising is pretty clear. Kellogg’s asks you to buy this box of cereal. Netflix requests you to sign up for a free 30-day trial. Capital One wants me to learn more about their credit card.
The path from point A to point B is 100% black and white. In B2B advertising, it is less clear. A CTA of “buy this and buy it now” is not going to work.
B2B companies have products and services usually requiring an investment of thousands of dollars, months of implementation time and a team of people to buy in and support it. Hitting them over the head from the get go is not necessarily the best course of action. To sell to prospects: you need to foster a relationship first, you need to be that prospect’s friend, you need to create and keep their trust and confidence. Then when the time comes they will be more likely to look to you as their only option to go to.
Here are some steps to help refine your communication strategies, in your marketing programs, with prospects in the “Pre-Nurture Nurture” stage. Thus, when your marketing program captures a prospect that prospect is already primed to take that next step in the journey with you.
- Step 1: Highlight how you can help them. What prospects want to know is how you are going to help them. How are you going to save their organization money? How are you going to solve a big problem they have or fill the hole in a need they have?
- Step 2: Stop patting yourself on the back. Take the time to focus on your prospect and limit the amount of time you talk about how wonderful your company is. Focus on providing them information that they need and, as I mentioned in step 1, how you can help them.
- Step 3: Segment message by job function. IT departments can be very splintered when you begin looking at day to day tasks by seniority and function. The IT manager who has 2 years experience needs is going to have very different needs from the CIO. It would be wise to create content for each group to ensure you are delivering the most appropriate and helpful content possible.
- Step 4: Don’t get too hung up on the tactic. Paid social, search, content syndication, webinars, display- all of these are tactics which can be used to get your message out to your audience. Some are going to work better than others. But the keys is making sure that you are getting the correct message out at the correct time.
B2B marketing is a marathon not a sprint. A prospect who is cold today could be hot tomorrow as an organization’s needs and priorities change. The trick is to be the first one a prospect thinks about when they become hot. To do this, you must take the steps I have listed out above and deliver to your prospects not what you think they want but what they need. Babette Ten Haken in Netline’s “9 Experts on Rethinking Demand Generation” Mighty Guide states that “It’s up to good marketers and sellers to discover the issues important to decision makers and address them early and often.” If you can do that you have won half the battle of nurturing prospects on their way to becoming your customer.
J A Y B A R D E N
Associate Media Director