Effective B2B Marketing: Getting It Right the First Time
As a company that works behind the scenes with several clients who operate forward-facing B2B and B2C brands, I’m well aware of the notion that traffic is king and that consumer driven business models rely heavily on maximizing the number of potential customers who reach their offers each day.
However, since my own company, KSquaredDynamics is entirely B2B focused, it’s worth examining more closely how much our clients’ marketing tones matter and how much more carefully it must be calibrated.
Site owners I have spoken with are fond of the “try it, test it, track it approach” to marketing. Media buyers often buy ads for a variety of creatives with incremental differences from one to the next and track every iteration to determine a ‘winner’ before assembling a second set of test items to rinse and repeat the process. The eventual outcome is an ad that works because it has been objectively tested across many traffic sources with proven objective results in terms of a high CTR, strong ROI and solid brand affiliations.
Quality B2B marketing cannot take that approach. Imagine if a processor, hosting company or other service provider tried running ads that way. The potential harm to your B2B product line and services would far outweigh any benefits from the tracking process. Instead, B2B marketing requires a “get it right the first time” approach. A lot of thought goes into any new campaign, plenty of test marketing is done behind the scenes by asking insiders for input on upcoming events or creatives — and at the end of the day you are counting on your team to nail it without a safety net to fall back.
That’s why I always advise my colleagues to avoid sensitive topics, outlandish styles or an over the top approach. With B2C campaigns the competition is incredibly stiff and it takes a really savvy marketer to find ways to stand out from the crowd.
On the other hand, I have never heard of anyone hiring a payment processor, traffic company, or other support service because they were enamored with one of their banner ads. For professional B2B companies, name recognition and the opportunity to discuss details is essential to gaining new customers — but at the end of the day it’s all about getting a meeting and then being able to back up your brand with a strong product worthy of a potential client’s attention.
KSquaredDynamics is consistently asked about getting our clients to sponsor events, buy ads on websites, or asked about acquiring ad space on many different platforms. The first thing we always look at is the brand of the publisher we would be working with, because having the best ad on the worst platform is no way to get ahead. The strength of the event, publication or promoter is crucial to gaining any leverage from whatever ads you buy through them.
As an example, in March, we dreamed up, built and hosted The OrbitalPay Zen Lounge at The Phoenix Forum. We view TPF as one of the most important shows of the year, and The Phoenix Forum has worked tirelessly to establish itself as a pristine brand beyond reproach. So having our processing client’s brand listed prominently at the event was an easy decision for us to make. Next we needed to find the right way to demonstrate our message.
It’s important that your message, tone and brand present a coherent picture of exactly who you are and what you represent.
Anyone who has been to TPF is aware that everything from the keycards to the snack shacks, toilet paper, elevator signage and networking events is available for sponsorship.
When we discussed our plan with Steve Bryson and his team at OrbitalPay, we started by deciding the tone we wanted to present was a sense of calm, tranquility, peace of mind, because at the end of the day that is what we feel a processor needs to provide more than anything else. The ability to handle transactions in a secure, confident, competent and easy to manage way that allows our clients to focus on their own core capabilities without having any distractions or confusion coming from their payment processes.
The OrbitalPay Zen Lounge proved to be a perfect fit for their brand and message. Yes, I agree it’s easy to say free massages and a place to chill are always welcome — but when people hear or see the name OrbitalPay we want them to recall those feelings of serenity because their entire company works diligently every day to generate that feeling from a billing perspective for all of their clients.
Elevator ads are a brilliant idea if your company is all about opening doors for customers. Keycard sponsorship makes perfect sense to me for anyone in the web security business. On the B2B side of marketing, where AB testing your ads isn’t really possible, matching your service to the event, type of promotion and tone makes all the difference.
At TPF, and now for months afterward, I’ve been told by a number of peers and associates that the Zen Lounge was a big success. That means our marketing team did its job: identified the right opportunity and got our client’s message across to the people who matter most: decision-makers who are looking for quality payment processing and true peace of mind.
Whether a company has a large or small budget, strategic and efficient B2B marketing should always be on your radar.
Kristen Kaye is founder and CEO of KSquaredDynamics Inc., a full-service business strategies and solutions firm emphasizing on public relations, marketing, business development and brand management. For more information on how KSquaredDynamics can help your business, go to K2Dynamics.com.