With the UK booming, demand for B2B products and services is at record levels and the effectiveness of your marketing right now will determine how big a slice of this stuffed-to-the-crust pie your company is able to win. Bearing in mind the [metaphorical] sell by date of the pie, ceding ground to your competitors at this stage will see the biggest wins taken by them – wins it will be much harder to replicate in future.
Of course, you know all this already and the reason you are reading this article is not to find out whether or not you need to improve your marketing to seize the opportunities on offer – that’s a given – you want to know HOW TO DO SO.
Without further ado, here are our three top tips for B2B marketers looking to formulate a strategy for 2018:
While it is tempting to tell your customers what you are doing to be a better supplier, focus instead on how your improvements actually benefit them.
Whether you call it 4IR, The Fourth Industrial Revolution, Industry 4.0 or some other term, there is no doubt that technology is moving forward at a pace; workflows and supply chains are being revolutionised and improvements in technology, increased R&D and a more skilled workforce are three of the reasons for manufacturing growth cited by The ONS. But what does that mean for your end customers?
If you have invested heavily in a more integrated infrastructure - with your production facilities, customer services and accounting functions all working together in harmony – you need to explain to your customers how this benefits them. Have lead times been reduced? Have unit costs come down and/or the quality of your products and services risen? Tell them why your company is the right supplier for them and how the improvements you have made will give them a competitive advantage over their rivals.
There is a groundswell of public support for UK industry right now and capitalising upon it will give your business the best chance of increased success in 2018.
While The UK is currently ranked 8th in the world for manufacturing output, 70% of UK adults say Britain should aim to be a top five manufacturing nation4.
So, how should you make the most of this current mood of optimism? This is where traditional PR techniques, fused with the latest digital channels for communication, deliver the best results. Write up case studies that show how your company works and the results it delivers; publicise testimonials from customers and brand ambassadors; proudly display your industry affiliations and quality accreditations to convey the prestige and reliability of your business.
It used to be easy to identify where your B2B target market could be reached – trade press and industry events provided the best opportunities for approaching those who would most likely want to buy your products.
Now, audiences have evolved and the many ways in which information is acquired have changed beyond recognition. While there will always be those who start a buying journey in the way they always have – looking for a product or service when a need for it arises - many now begin their journey as a result of information being shared with them through social media, or through search engines and websites acting intuitively to show them exciting and relevant innovations.
In the digital world, your audience could be anywhere at any time. A Finance Director looking to reduce operating expenses might be surfing YouTube over lunch; an engineer wishing to speed up a particular process may be searching Google for ideas… it can even be the case that someone has a problem that they do not fully recognise until that is they stumble across a solution you provide.
So, how do you make sure your company is positioned to best capitalise on this 24/7 marketplace? The answer is a multimedia communication strategy that uses channel-appropriate tactics to maximise positive public perception of your products, services and people.
Just as 4IR is a development made possible by the digital environment, and public sentiment is shaped by online interactions, so an effective marketing strategy to maximise current opportunities hinges on excellent online communications.
We are the online communications and marketing specialists and we have helped businesses achieve their marketing goals online for over 20 years.
If you want a bigger slice of the pie, contact us now.
1 & 4 – EEF – UK Manufacturing 2017/18, The Facts
2 – Department for Communities and Local Government
3 – ONS: UK Labour Market