It’s kind of ironic that to close sales today, marketers have to focus on the long term. That’s because disruptive marketing strategies don’t work anymore. Brands can no longer force potential buyers to listen to their messages because buyers can now find product and service information on their own via the Internet. When it comes to information transfer, buyers hold the power, and multi-million dollar ad campaigns can’t change that.
Today, a winning B2B marketing strategy must inspire and empower potential customers, open up conversations with your brand, and trust that sales will follow. That’s the Inbound Marketing strategy. It brings to mind the Aesop’s fable, The Wind and the Sun:
The Wind and the Sun were disputing which was the stronger. Suddenly they saw a traveller coming down the road, and the Sun said: “I see a way to decide our dispute. Whichever of us can cause that traveller to take off his cloak shall be regarded as the stronger. You begin.” So the Sun retired behind a cloud and the Wind began to blow as hard as it could upon the traveller. But the harder he blew the more closely did the traveller wrap his cloak round him, till at last the Wind had to give up in despair. Then the Sun came out and shone in all his glory upon the traveller, who soon found it too hot to walk with his cloak on.
Aesop’s moral was: “Kindness works better than severity,” but I hear a marketing lesson in there as well. Traditional B2B marketing strategies that “blow hard” with tactics like ads, direct mail, and telemarketing, disrupt buyers and often put them on the defensive. Buyers “close their cloaks” to the messages because they have not requested the information, and they have no trusting relationship with the brand that’s sending it.
Inbound Marketing Strategies Shine
Inbound marketing strategies are quite the opposite, using tactics that naturally draw people in. Marketers have to find creative ways to “shine with all their glory” so that they are noticed (attract) and empower people to connect (convert). Inbound marketing can be an incredible lead generation machine.
Brands “shine” by creating remarkable content, giving useful tips and sharing information that educates and helps potential customers do their job better. This information can take any format, but popular “pieces” are blog entries, educational videos and animatics, infographics, white papers, and useful apps. To put it simply, successful brands create marketing that people love.
A winning B2B marketing strategy motivates people to buy instead of asking for an immediate sale. Business people buy because they have done the research, have built a trusting relationship with the supplier, and are confident that they are making the right decision for their company. Your brand will be selected because you’ve helped them through that journey.
And once they become customers, the relationship continues with a marketing strategy that aims to delight. Happy customers become promoters of your brand, making your marketing job easier. That’s why we love helping our clients shine!
All marketing tactics should be thought of as part of a larger whole, rather than separate pieces. By strategically integrating all tactics, the programs become more effective and cost efficient. An Integrated marketing communication plan helps you meet real business objectives – generate leads, grow revenues, gain market share, and become the leading brand.
Chris Henneghan is one of Schubert’s longest-standing employees, starting with the agency in 1987. She now serves as Senior Vice President and Brand Strategist. Chris is a Notre Dame grad and enjoys tennis, golf, hiking and reading.