CMO Talk

Top five B2B marketing myths

By: Priyanka Sethi, Brand, PR & Digital Marketing Lead, NEC Corporation India Pvt. Ltd.

I hosted a virtual session as a guest faculty at one of India’s prestigious MBA colleges about a year back. The additional time pockets during the lockdown inspired me to mentor, interact and share my learnings with the budding marketers. During the session, I happened to check the attention span of the attendants and enquired about the difference between B2B and B2C marketing. To which one of the students confidently uttered —“The former is all about trade shows, cold calls, or junk messages on LinkedIn. The latter caters to influencer campaigns, exciting organic search, reputation management, etc.” His reply signaled something was really wrong when it came to the comprehension of B2B marketing.

Understanding the fundamental difference between B2B and B2C marketing can lead marketers to become growth engines of businesses. And by ‘Growth,’ I mean the more significant share of the pie — market share, revenue, profitability, etc.

Read on as I debunk the top B2B marketing myths.

  • Myth #1: Businesses are educated, so B2B marketers need to focus only on sales

Reality: In B2B, marketers sell to people on behalf of companies. Hence, marketers should encapsulate the FAB concept (features, advantages, and benefits analysis) in the overall storytelling. Since the B2B sales cycle is more prolonged, targeting key decision-makers involved and informing them about the end-user impact might help in the brand’s favor. Earlier brands used to leverage large events to attract customers, however, post the pandemic we have seen a paradigm shift in customer behavior who now use their research and rely on ‘word of mouth’ rather than large marketing gimmicks. Furthermore, customer advocacy through testimonials and employer branding initiatives go a long way in influencing prospects as well as new hires.

  • Myth #2: B2B marketers can compromise on content marketing

Reality: Marketers (in general) need to be extremely clear about their audience and products/solutions. An experienced and professional audience doesn’t mean that B2B marketers should dial down on their marketing message’s clarity. B2B audiences are just as busy as marketers; therefore, any help on product/solution USPs, use cases, or more information on the organization’s culture could work in marketers’ favor. In fact, B2B marketing should be done on information terms with the website seen as a magazine (content-rich) for buyers as well as the industry’s top talent. Telling exciting stories through blogs, creatives, videos, infographics is a mature investment approach.

  • Myth #3: You just have to be better than your competitors

Reality: In marketing, brands copy each other and want to be seen higher than their rivals. It leads brands to play a safer and eventually perpetual cycle of boring marketing tactics that get copied repeatedly. However, impactful marketing means focusing on not just competitors but multiple stakeholders including customers, prospects, analysts, industry bodies, employees, industry talent, amongst others. Rewiring the communication strategy to co-creating the brand’s story involving various stakeholders would build long-lasting meaningful relationships.

  • Myth #4: SEO can be done in isolation and is ineffective

Reality: Since the B2B sale cycle is more prolonged, targeting customers involves a lot of strategy and experimentation with niche keywords. A robust SEO approach must include keywords for other audiences as well apart from sales to ensure the right output of content marketing, public relations, employer branding, analyst relation, etc. For instance, at NEC India we utilize Google Analytics intensively apart from other new-age SEO tools to analyze keyword performance and increase the brand’s trust and credibility through organic search. Our teams regularly tweak and trim keywords for other audiences to meet stakeholder-specific goals.

  • Myth #5: Employer branding is only HR’s responsibility

Over the years a marketers’ roles and responsibilities have transformed. The beginning of this decade taught us that a marketer is more of a business partner who understands business challenges, actively builds momentum in the external world, and enables various functions to drive business growth. Hence, a marketer is a critical driving force in fulfilling an organization’s corporate and talent goals and rightly works at the intersection of branding, human resources, and emerging technology. Employer branding being at the core of NEC India’s strategy going forward, we plan to strengthen our employer of choice branding with unique and innovative campaigns driven around purpose branding in 2022.

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