Don't fall into these marketing traps!
Despite the fact that businesses have been selling to other businesses for as long as marketing in general has existed, there are still a number of very clear traps that people have a way of falling into again and again. Making an effort to learn as much about these potential pitfalls as possible will go a long way towards making sure you avoid them altogether.
Business Marketing Is All About Specificity
Perhaps the number one mistake that far too many people are still making when it comes to business marketing involves this idea that your content has to appeal to as many people as it can, no exceptions.
In truth, this is probably the major thing that separates B2C from B2B collateral. When you're marketing directly to consumers, you are trying to capture the attention of the widest possible audience. When it comes to a professional audience, however, you need to go deeper than that or you risk losing (read: boring) a large number of people.
Think about the type of high level content you typically reserve for a marketing format like a presentation. It's naturally a great way to really go beneath the surface of a topic, uncovering details and heading off in directions that you just don't have room for in something like an Infographic.
Now, think about a presentation that tries to appeal to as many people as humanly possible. It's probably way longer than it should be, lacks any type of clear focus and is an absolute slog to get through.
You might get lucky (occasionally) and really strike a chord with someone, but more often than not you're just wasting a lot of time and money to nobody's benefit. You really do need to break your audience down into smaller and much more manageable chunks before you start creating collateral, then craft the types of materials that these niche groups of people want to see.
Will you likely have to make more content than you would in a B2C situation? Sure - but you're also going to end up with much more effective content at the exact same time.
Business Marketing Is About More Than Just White Papers
Another one of the common mistakes that people fall into when it comes to business marketing involves the continued assumption that you're only talking about high level materials like white papers.
Yes, it's true that business audiences tend to be more savvy than B2C ones. They're looking for something with a little more meat on its bones, so to speak. But that doesn't mean that a piece of collateral that is less than 15,000 words can't be effective. In truth, there's nothing stopping you from taking a lot of the tactics that work well in B2C and applying them to meet the needs of this audience.
Take videos, for example - nobody is going to ignore a visually attractive, thoughtfully constructive and ultimately informative video just because they're go their own business card and stationary. This is still an incredibly effective format when it comes to making a point, establishing yourself as an authority and building brand trust.
You can even continue to take those videos and monetize them using channels like Uscreen. It's just that the actual construction of the videos themselves will vary based on the audience you're trying to reach. No, you can't just take a video that you originally created for a consumer audience, slap a "new coat of paint" on it and send it out into the business marketing world.
The same is true for something like an Infographic can be created with tool like Visme (which I founded). Yes, Infographics have historically been seen as B2C collateral because they're more visual and a bit flashier than a professional audience is used to. But the format itself isn't what is in question - the content (and the detail that you dive into) is what must change.
No, an Infographic that was originally created for a B2C audience probably won't "wow" your business audience to the extent that you need. An Infographic created from the ground up with that professional audience in mind, however, will.
Provided that you've carefully considered your professional audience from the very start, there's absolutely nothing stopping you from using the video format to continue to meet their needs, answer their questions and provide them with the type of knowledge they're looking for.
The Continued Evolution of Business Marketing
In truth, the world of marketing has been changing before our eyes for the last several years - and it will continue to do so as technology does the same. The lines between "business marketing" and "traditional, consumer marketing" are constantly blurring - nothing is as strictly black and white as it once was.
But while the audience themselves still have very different goals and expectations, the techniques that you can use to address these factors can and likely should apply to both groups.
At the end of the day, you have your audience's attention because they have very specific problems they're looking to solve or needs that they're looking to fill. So long as you're able to do that, it doesn't actually matter how or what shape your collateral takes. The results are all that matters, which is why you need to keep these goals firmly in mind from the very start.
About the Author:
Payman Taei is the founder of Visme, an easy-to-use online tool to create engaging presentations, infographics, and other forms of visual content. He is also the founder of HindSite Interactive, an award-winning Maryland digital agency specializing in website design, user experience and web app development.