When it comes to marketing your B2B, it can be easy to forget that your buyer is still a consumer, and the question you need to be asking is “What attracts a consumer?” Well, that is likely to include a mixture of price, quality, availability, safety, length of warranty, product benefits, etc. It is your job to then package the things that would make someone choose to buy from you into a single entity. This is called B2B branding, and it is how your target market is going to identify you. Are you the low-cost option, or do you supply the highest quality? Are you reliable or require less maintenance? Do you outlast the competition and back that up with the best warranty in the industry? Whatever it is, your job is to focus on B2B brand building, and utilizing that to increase revenue.
So, how do you establish and maintain a strong brand that resonates with customers and supports growth?
Determine your brand identity
First, we start with the most obvious and important step, determining how you want your target audience to perceive you as a B2B. Before you can market to prospective buyers, you must determine your brand identity. This often requires you to dig into a SWOT analysis. What are your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats? Within that, you can begin to see what your biggest differentiators are and how to best position yourself within your industry.
Within this, you can also begin to take stock of what your target market actually needs help with. Then you can begin to align yourself with those things. For example, is customer service really going to move the needle or do your customers actually want cutting-edge technology that cuts their costs? Focusing on how you solve your customer’s problems is the key to attracting more buyers.
Establish a value proposition
After you have a good understanding of your identity and the needs of your target market, then you can begin to build out your value proposition. This is a simple statement, often just a sentence or two, that directly addresses the reasons why your customers choose you.
Let’s use SurveyMonkey as an example. Its value proposition is accessibility and customization. Easy to use, SurveyMonkey enables companies to swiftly design surveys that reach thousands of people, supply helpful insights and gain results in real-time. It’s quick, simple, and effective.
HubSpot, a developer of software products for inbound marketing and sales, condenses its value proposition into an impactful and memorable tagline: “Software that’s powerful, not overpowering.” HubSpot provides solutions to its target audience’s pain points (clunky, counterintuitive CRM systems) and has created a way for businesses to seamlessly connect data, professional teams, and customers on a single platform.
These companies did the research to figure out how they could make their clients’ lives easier and rose to the occasion — you can, too!
Establish your brand story
Now that you have established both your identity and value proposition, you can begin to focus on your brand story. How do you go about solving problems for your target markets? We want the details, but obviously leaving out anything that is proprietary. What sets you apart? How do you succeed where others may fail? What trends are you addressing now that are going to greatly impact your customers? What metrics or KPIs can you use to show results?
Your differentiators and value proposition outlined above are essential elements in your overarching brand narrative. Allowing you to engage emotionally with customers through storytelling, an authentic B2B brand-building narrative gives you the opportunity to showcase the human side of your business.
For example, Reid Hoffman sought solutions after a failed networking venture and co-founded LinkedIn. He knew professional networking, both for businesses and individuals, is always a challenge and helped create a platform that makes the process of hiring and job searching easier.
Sharing your brand story, and letting it inform your marketing strategy, is a powerful reminder that your company is composed of real people solving real problems.
Let your customers do the talking for you
You can actually go one step further by letting your customers tell their own stories of the problems they were having, and how you were able to solve those. For example, Rankin PR had a client that was helping Lockheed Martin build a drone and robotic-operated metrology system for their F-35 jets used by the military. We had Lockheed Martin describe the issues they were having when inspecting the stealth fighters, essentially by hand.
We took that information and created a story that detailed both the safety and costs involved with manually measuring a giant aircraft to ensure it meets the original specs. The engineer from Lockheed went into all the details of what they had tried that just did not work. Then he began speaking about how our client was able to solve the issue. How costs would decrease, safety would greatly increase, and how that would affect the revenue for the $65 billion dollar a year company. It was not overly promotional but instead gave a real-world accounting of what they had experienced.
We then took that story to the publications we have established relationships with and were able to get the Lockheed story published in over 30 different trade publications (print and digital).
If you have happy customers, we can put together 3rd-party validated stories like this for you. It can make a huge impact on your B2B brand-building journey.
Share your brand internally
Don’t stop at just telling your story externally. Let your employees in on the fun. This is perhaps the most overlooked aspect of B2B brand building, but it’s important to remember: Every one of your employees is a brand ambassador. Be sure to share information on your brand and marketing strategy to encourage excitement and buzz. This shows your employees that they have a hand in your company’s success in more ways than one.
If you are looking for someone to take the guesswork out of B2B marketing, contact RankinPR to learn more!
Or if you want to go it alone, check out these content marketing tips and tricks: Inbound Marketing vs Outbound for B2B Growth