You may be such a niche B2B that you’re thinking: what could I possibly learn from marketing advice based on tactics used by a big B2C like Apple? But even if your client list includes just a handful of businesses, if you have any competition whatsoever, then you should be marketing and advertising to your clients.
Advertising Isn’t Evil
It’s completely understandable that you may have an aversion to “branding” or “advertising” because of the way it’s sometimes used to sell less than beneficial products to consumers without much regard for the downside – cigarettes being marketed on billboards near schools is a prime example of that. But before you say “my product (or service) speaks for itself” and dismiss advertising as useless to only for large B2C’s to sell mass-produced gadgets or a ploy for infomercials to push useless good to couch potatoes, realize that the B2B clients you’re working with are also just people making decisions. So you need to appeal to people even though you’re not a B2C.
The Message in Your Advertisement
Your message should always center around the benefits for your client. Surprisingly, talking about how brilliant your product is won’t get you the same results as talking about how brilliant your customer is or can be. It’s like that person who flatters you versus that person who flatters themselves, you’d rather be around the person who focuses on you than themselves. Rather than lead by showing off how cool your equipment is or how experienced your team is, lead with what your team can do for the client. Simon Sinek is a thought leader who talks a lot about how Apple’s marketing got the company to the top. Sinek’s motto is “Start with why” – as in why does the person or business need your product. The example he uses to illustrate this is Apple since everyone is familiar with them and is an easy example to reference.
When Apple rolls out a new product, they always talk about how wonderful YOU, the consumer, are or can be. For example, right now the first image on the Apple.com site is the iPhone 5S and a huge tagline that reads: “You’re more powerful than you think.” This sort of customer-centric advertising might sound a bit dramatic for your business, but that’s precisely how you should position your business. You should think about how you’re empowering your customers’ businesses. Perhaps you’re making life easier, operations faster or more beautiful. Why do they need you? What will they do with your product once they get it? Work backwards from what they’re doing with your product all the way to your process. Start with the big message, then talk about your business’ tools as a device for your customer to get to the big picture.
The Best Method of Delivery
Once you’ve determined your message, you’ll need to figure out how you’ll deliver it. Depending on the business you’re trying to attract or keep, you’ll need to figure out how you can get and stay in front of the business’ decision makers. Think about whether or not it makes sense for you to go with Google Advertising, direct mail, or perhaps telemarketing. PR, IT and web design firms probably want to advertise online in order to reach their customers who may be searching for them. You may want to hire an ad firm to help you with this. On the other hand, if your business is very visual, let’s say you’re a wholesaler of food or apparel, then you may want to add free advertising components to your firm such as an Instagram feed or a blog on Tumblr that showcases your product visually.
If you only have a handful of customers that can utilize your product – perhaps you sell specialty equipment – then you may not need to launch a huge campaign, but rather write down all of the benefits of the product and use them as talking points to communicate this to your customers, whether it’s verbally, in email, on your site or all of the above.
However you communicate your message, make sure it’s one that focuses on the benefit to the customer, and talks about your brilliance only as a vehicle to serve your customer.
About the Author:
This article was written by Valerie Demicheva, Marketing Manager at BlueVine.com. It’s BlueVine’s mission to be the fastest and easiest way to get invoices paid, helping small business owners to free up cash for paying expenses and growing their company.