People love talking about what you need to do in marketing. “You should be using TikTok as part of your social mix in 2023!” or “You should have a streamlined UX that gets people to where they need to be.” Etc. The problem with that is, they never actually say how to do it. Personal experiences are something that many overlook in marketing, so I’ll tell you in this paragraph that it’s what you need to do, and you can read the rest of the blog for the why and how.
Why do you need to create personal experiences in B2B marketing?
There aren’t too many differences between B2C and B2B marketing, despite popular belief. However, one thing I do however believe is a huge dissimilarity, is advocacy.
Advocacy is common in B2C marketing, but it sits right at the end of the customer lifecycle. The same applies to B2B. One thing that I think many B2B marketers actually forget, though, is that a prospect looking for a service or solution must become an advocate for your business before they’ve even clicked ‘Get a quote’.
Let me explain with a quick thought experiment.
A prospective customer of Apple would first need to hear about Apple. They would then evaluate the different phone vendors prior to choosing one, to make sure they are getting the best deal. If they do get to Apple’s site, or an Apple Store, they then decide whether they want to spend their money on it.
With B2B marketing, there is an additional step that often gets overlooked.
A prospective customer of an AI software vendor (I’ll stay in the tech sector for continuity) would first need to hear about their brand. They would then evaluate different AI software vendors prior to choosing one, to make sure they are getting the best deal. Each time they get to an AI solution provider’s website, they must decide if they think it will work well for their employer, and whether they’re happy to stake their workplace reputation on it. Yes, you heard me right. This prospective customer hasn’t even asked for a quote yet, but they need to determine whether purchasing this particular solution, on behalf of their business, will land them in trouble if it fails.
Here’s what a prospective buyer thinks:
“How does this differ from other products on the market?” (same as B2C)
“Is this likely to break/mess up and land me in hot water at work?” (B2B-specific)
Then, and only then, if they have positive answers to those questions, do they move on to this stage:
*Showing the solution to their boss, colleague, or the buying committee, and making it seem like the best solution.*
Why do B2B marketers forget this vital stage? Your prospective customer becomes your salesperson momentarily. They have to sell your product to their team, manager, or procurement department, after you’ve tried to sell it to them.
The reason I’ve just outlined the general user journey is that by combining the power of strong UX, behavioural science, and understanding of customer data and product clarity, you can unlock the ultimate personal experience.
How do you turn business research into a personal experience?
As mentioned before, a combination of strong UX and an understanding of customer behaviour is what you need.
Take your prospect on the journey that you want them to go on, but they take their own route.
They are in England and need to get to France. You need to lay out the ferry, the plane, the Eurotunnel train, and let them decide which route makes the most sense for them to get there. Same beginning, same ideal destination – different journey.
Marketers need to remember that each prospect that ends up on your site has a different level of general knowledge, sector knowledge, product knowledge, and brand knowledge. These different levels will dictate how, where, and when, they move from page to page.
The golden rule of UX is that a prospect should be able to get from their landing page to the ‘Buy now’ page within three clicks, but allowing them to have a variable journey is key in letting them both understand your brand and be ready to purchase.
Cast your mind back to the first section of this blog when we spoke about the decision-making process. Throughout any prospect’s journey, you need to ensure that you’ve thrown the right callout stats at them. They’ll need a tangible benefit – for example, ‘Speeds up admin time by 35%’ or ‘Processes data 7x faster than a standard computer’. This is something that they can easily use to sell the solution internally, or to procurement.
The prospect needs some kind of validation – a case study from a known brand or a stamp of approval from a governing/compliance body. Again, this is easy to remember and can be regurgitated back to their manager and team when advocating for your solution.
Additionally, a price is key. Not to be competitive, but so that the prospect can do a quick Cost Vs. Value calculation to determine whether the solution will be right for the business.
If they are looking for significant gains, they will consider even the most expensive option. Don’t think that displaying your high price will put people off. If your product is good enough, and you’ve educated them about the potential and value of it, money is no object.
Essentially, don’t give them the pieces they need to build the puzzle – give them the crayons so that they can draw the picture that positively positions your brand to their colleagues. Allow your prospects to make their own journey.
If you wanted help creating personal experiences for your outbound marketing, get in touch with us! The team at Cremarc would be very happy to help.