Innovation Branding Series Ep5: Bringing a B2B Brand to Market in a Digital Era

Today we continue a new series done in collaboration with Youri Sawerschel, Branding Expert and Founder of Creative Supply. In our fifth episode on Brand Innovation, Youri will speak about “Bringing a B2B brand to Market in a Digital Era”.

Welcome back! My name is Youri and today we’re going to speak about bringing a B2B brand to market in a digital era.

Digitalization is changing the way we do business, be it lead acquisition or customer relationships. Yet many B2B businesses still rely on trade shows and sales people ONLY for marketing. Both are great but both are resource intensive and limited in reach.

So how can B2B businesses grow their brand in a digital era?

We will look at 3 aspects of B2B marketing: mindset, content and system

 

Mindset: from push to pull

In the past, R&D department would develop a product, give it to sales representatives and have their sales team go on roadshows, “pushing” their products to customers.

Thanks to the web, or because of the web, B2B customers now have much more information. They can even have it BEFORE the sales guy walks in their office. In 2017, Forrester, a market research firm, found that “68 % of B2B buyers would rather NOT communicate with sales reps as their primary information source (Forrester)”

This means that the “push” mindset is no longer working. B2B businesses must first get the interest of customers to their products, so they need to “pull” the customers towards them. But to get their attention, you cannot just speak about your products – that’s too obvious, too promotional. You need to provide them value first.

This leads us to our second point: Content.

 

Content: IP Creation: Create Value

Mc Kinsey found out that 94% of B2B buyers conduct some form of online search before they buy. This means that the more quality content you can provide, the better it is for your brand. B2B sales involves multiple decision-makers, can take time and is complex. Content can help build trust and show expertise. The key is to produce content that is not only about your product but about topics that interest your audience.

If you are an IT provider for example, speak about industry challenges and trends or publish a “how to guide” about criteria to select an IT provider. In other words, give value to your customers by helping them solve their problems – and it just happens that your product is part of the solution!

System

Online channels, be it social media or website are essential to distribute your content. A website is like a digital showroom of your brand, a place to engage, inform and (why not) entertain your customers. It allows you to have a direct contact with your customers (and not rely on distributor for example). But online also means “on 24/7”  so the marketing systems in place must be adapted.

This means that marketing must be treated like accounting, for example. When it comes to accounting, we think it is normal to do monthly report, track numbers and make decisions based on them. Too often, when it comes to marketing, B2B businesses see it as a campaign-driven activity that is limited in time. But managing a brand online is exactly like accounting – It is both an ongoing AND endless activity.

In summary, in order to get your brand out, you should:

  • Shift your mindset from pushing product to pulling customers
  • To do that, you need to create content that is valuable to your audience
  • And once it is done, you need to put a system in place to manage your marketing activities like you would for accounting activities.

 

Youri Sawerschel, Founder of Creative Supply