Thursday, October 13, 2016

Business to Business Marketing

Business-to-business organizations are able to draw on a unique set of marketing tactics that are appropriate for business customers but not end consumers.
  • Create and actively interact with customer advisory boards. Invite the most influential opinion leaders to participate.
  • Create and actively interact with strategic partner boards.
  • Create external “expert councils” for all major new products. Invite the most knowledgeable and influential outside experts to participate, and involve them in the product design itself.
  • Hold conferences and seminars, inviting current satisfied customers, prospective customers, and internal and external industry experts. Present case studies, discuss the latest innovations, let the experts speak, and allow time for networking.
  • For software companies, beta test your software with major influential customers and those that would provide compelling case studies and testimonials.
  • Hold product launch parties for important customers.
  • Record testimonials from your most supportive customers and subtly interweave them with the background music that plays when people calling your company are put on hold. (Hopefully, incoming callers aren’t on hold for long, otherwise this technique could become annoying to some people who are waiting to speak to a customer service or technical support rep regarding a major problem.)
  • Develop and disseminate a portfolio of customer case studies to reinforce specific brand benefits to specific target customers.
  • Publish and widely disseminate white papers to position your organization and brand as experts in your field.
  • Develop a speakers bureau and actively orchestrate speaking engagements at key industry events such as conferences, trade shows, and industry association meetings. At our company, we started a local chapter of Toast masters and assigned the speakers bureau responsibility to a specific individual.
  • Actively seek industry association committee assignments and board positions.
  • Constantly keep the following people and organizations aware of your brand and its latest accomplishments:
    • Industry analysts
    • Financial analysts
    • Resellers and other strategic partners
    • Your organization’s professional partners (i.e., lawyers, accountants, management consultants, advertising agencies)
    • Trade magazine editors and writers
    • People who write about your industry for the general business press
    • People who write books about your industry
    • Other opinion leaders

© 2016 Brad VanAuken, excerpted from Brand Aid, available here.

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