Over the past few weeks, I have been researching on to the B2B space, which happens to be complex and marketing is slowly taking prominence over the traditional approach. Prospects in these spaces predominantly are becoming more & more informed and are more risk averse then before. Digital Media has shown its impact on to it and the marketers have started capitalizing on to Modern Marketing strategies to mature the leads from awareness followed with engagement, to be in the prospect’s minds and to evade the risk of not being in the short listing process.
There are three main categories which underline strategy in the B2B space; Influence-rs, Perceptions & Value Proposition, which help marketers to take their product into the target market. Each of the components is symbiotic to the other; hence the strength of the strategy is defined on an optimized rational equation, rather than just based on observation. All this derived from the impact of technology advancements happening, which are not sequential rather all round, turning more& more user models into user centric, predictive, smarter & mobility based values changing the consumer decision-making behavior. To top it predictive analysis have strengthened companies today to build their decisions based on rational thought process to counter economic scenarios.
Influence-rs – These are the stakeholders or gatekeepers, involved while deciding on B2B products. In certain cases they even show greater prominence while decision has been taken, hence your strategy would be incomplete without them. They could be anybody from Analyst, Trade bodies, Go-To-Market components, ISVs, system Integrators, Consultants, Advisers, internal employees and so on. Identifying the right one is a challenge, and the tip is that every product category shows a particular type of behavior and following it would help to recognize them. Hence, Messaging, Segmentation, Targeting & identifying the right kind of strategy is the key here. The best what works in terms of influence-rs is engagement tactic through building communities of like-minded people and identifying what Go-To-Market suits to the recognized community.
Perceptions – These are those notional value sets which go to define the brand equity of the B2B marketer in the minds of the customer. Usually, this is the one which is most ignored and classified as the cost items. They are tricky though when you are venturing into vast product portfolios catering various segments of verticals & horizontals. In some case, where you have already foray into the defined segment like services and you are venturing into products portfolio, they become even more challenging as you have a preset conceived values in the minds of the customers. In these cases, it’s very critical for any B2B brand to optimally play using digital media and various thought leadership forum to demonstrate the innovation capabilities and domain expertise in area being ventured. Identifying the key product experts in the company as the face of your product works well (apart from the Company leadership team), building attractive artifacts, being present in the industry leadership forums which is looked upon, makes a promising appeal to gather perceptions about your products. In today’s world, Zero Moment Of Truth by Google holds weight and edge in the digital era, complemented with tradition methodology.
Value Proposition – These are beneficial values which a B2B consumer is going to get. The smarter strategy would be to be consumer centric, understand the industry requirement, visionary features and values what your consumers are talking about and address those pain area. If you are able to bridge in the gap between the requirements and being developed, the value proposition has been well said. Nevertheless, it is not the case always; hence the marketers would have to work through their guts to bring out the Product Positioning through various competitive intelligence, Market analysis in terms of revenue band that the segment holds for the players, and characteristics of the band to devise unique selling proposition to position for their product against the need of target audience. Value Proposition plays a critical role while devising the B2B strategy.
Once the components are defined, it would make more sense if the products could be encompassed as a business theory, in terms of answering a business problem. Business theories or Modern Marketing strategies hold loads of power in defining your products & solutions being developed, as they become synonymous or law of the land to the business problem, hence the prospects would be able to relate it with their scenarios and buy in for your product. The advantage of these business theories are that, they have the strength to lead the product life cycle road maps as they are outcomes from what industry wants and addresses pain areas. The Good leading example is the Modern Marketing strategy defined by Google for its searches, Zero Moment Of Truth. The rationale behind the theory enables marketer to perceive their business problem, which inherently brings in the Buy–In for all the Google Search related products.
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