Last updated on August 17th, 2016 at 11:32 am
Fast paced. Flexible. Collaborative. Technology focused. Work from home.
These were the words that stood out to me on the job description when applying to B2BNN. Naturally, as a millennial I was attracted to the fact this was not your typical 9-5, cubical based, stuck in the pre-Internet era job. There was one catch – B2B marketing. In my third year marketing course at university, there was one chapter in the textbook on B2B. That chapter was focused on the raw materials auto manufacturers buy. In my mind, B2B companies were like the Kardashians – I knew they existed, but I could not explain what they did.
After 14 weeks, I’ve learned many lessons about B2B marketing while that I would never have been able to learn in my marketing class. Here’s the good, bad and ugly (minus the bad and ugly) of working in B2B marketing as a millennial.
One of the biggest differences between B2B and B2C marketing is the personalization aspect of B2B. B2C focuses on market segmentation, a demographic of hundreds of thousands of people. However, when you’re selling to companies you usually only focus on a small group of people –the people working on the project. This article published on B2BNN explains the benefits of personalized content marketing in B2B. As you can see, it is important to build relationships with your clients, find out who they are, and not just who their company is. If the client sees you actually put time into relationship building, they will continue to use your product for their business.
There are a few elements for B2B content marketing that are key if you want your company to be successful. One of these elements is content analytics. For the team at B2BNN, content marketing measurement is as easy as “squeezing” a link to gain insights from it once you share that link. Being able to measure the most popular country for our content, the time people are looking at our content and which content assets from B2BNN are performing best takes the guess work out of planning. It blows my mind that B2B, or even B2C, companies may never know how their content is performing.
I’ve come to realize one of the most boring aspects of B2B marketing is whitepapers. Writing them is boring, reading them is boring. No wonder B2B marketing has a bad reputation when it comes to engagement. The content of B2C is exciting – think Super Bowl commercials. But why can’t B2B content be exciting too? Over my co-op term at B2BNN, I have worked on a series of graphic novels that B2B companies like SAP and SheEO are using as marketing tools. Graphic novels have the ability to deliver a company’s value proposition in a way that is engaging and memorable – two words that do not usually come to mind when discussing B2B marketing. The working world is becoming more fast-paced, and employees do not have time to watch hour-long videos, or even ten-minute videos, being used as content marketing tools. However, if you make the story less than four pages and include pictures, your target audience is much more likely to understand and be receptive to your product.
I’ve gained a lot of experience talking to executives of companies while working at B2BNN. At first, talking to someone with many more years on the job than me was extremely anxiety provoking. Maybe this has to do with the fact that as a millennial, society likes to paint our group with subpar interpersonal skills compared to my parents’ generation. Millennials live behind screens, using them to avoid face-to-face and phone conversations. I had to learn to quickly eliminate my anxiety when I realized I was writing articles for executive audiences. Furthermore, I had to be able to conduct phone and face-to-face interviews with C-suite executives. If you want your B2B company to be successful, you have to be comfortable with vulnerability. You may find yourself talking to someone who is an expert in the field, but you need to be confident in the knowledge you have and literally fake it until you make it.