How to Humanize Your B2B Strategy in 5 Steps

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By: Savannah Westbrock

Savannah is a results-driven marketer with 7 years of experience in digital media execution and planning, with expertise in reaching niche B2B audiences around the world.

Oh, the humanity! You’ve lost a potential lead because your only attempt to reach them ended up buried in their pile of unopened LinkedIn In-Mail. They might get around to clearing those out on a rainy day. But even if they did follow through, you’ve likely missed the window where your marketing efforts would be credited for the result. 

Thankfully, there is a better way to reach B2B audiences: stop limiting yourself to traditional “B2B” strategies.  83% of business buyers(https://www.salesforce.com/resources/articles/customer-expectations/?sfdc-redirect=369) say that you must treat them like a human, rather than just a sale, to win their business. Your audiences live full lives outside of the workplace. There’s ample opportunity to humanize B2B marketing strategies with cost-effective digital media. 

Use these five tips to improve your B2B marketing strategy: 1) Humanize your target audience  

You’ve researched your industry through and through. Now ask yourself: what else can we learn about the people behind the professionals?

If your target audience is primarily recent graduates in New York with less than $1K in savings, it does you no good to sponsor a booth at a conference on the other side of the country. If your audience is made up of parents with children under 5 years old, they couldn’t attend your 4:30 PM webinar even if they wanted to. 

Considering your audiences’ lives outside of the workplace will help you decide which tactics will reach and resonate with them.  2) Diversify your channels for multiple touchpoints

Sure, your target audience reads valuable industry pubs during weekday mornings, but what are they doing the rest of the time? If your only chance to capture their attention is while they’re sitting at their desks waiting for their coffee to kick in, you’re missing out on dozens of different touch points (including ones where they are more awake and engaged!). 

Expand your media mix to test new channels like a digital out of home ad at lunch spots and bus stops near their offices, or a Twitter campaign focused on relevant hashtags to catch them scrolling their feeds in between Zoom meetings. This year is a great opportunity to test channels that may be more in-use while people are working from home, like programmatic audio. 

The non-working hours are too often overlooked or purposefully excluded in B2B campaigns, but they’re crucial to consider when shaping a humanized strategy. Seek out your audience’s full media consumption habits to guide your channel choices. 3) Align your messaging with your touchpoints

Expanding your media channel strategy goes hand and hand with expanding your messaging strategy. Generating leads using gated content is not a one-size-fits all solution—you may even find yourself pushing your audience away or gathering non-valuable information from people who want to see the content but don’t yet trust your brand. 

Instead, approach your creative strategy with a full-funnel mindset so audiences become more familiar with your brand before they see the hard sell. Take advantage of platform path-to-conversion reports and native engagement metrics to gauge how many exposures are necessary to drive action. Then, define your messaging strategy in tandem with your measurement strategy. 4) Measure more than leads for better attribution of success

Qualified leads and sales will always be an important piece of the puzzle. But, to gain more of them, you must understand everything that happens before the audience pulls the trigger. 

Use test and learn measurement strategies to stay ahead of your competitors. Top marketing researchers have predicted(https://www.forrester.com/blogs/predictions-2022-b2b-marketing-will-leverage-disruption-to-structure-a-redefined-role/) lift-based solutions will play a strong role in 2022 strategies, as many industries’ workforces look very different than they did pre-pandemic. Expanding digital efforts to include several channels with a range of objectives and KPIs will allow you to tell a story with your data, unlocking deeper insight into how people engage with your ads. 

A holistic measurement strategy will outline how each channel should be evaluated before your campaign starts, helping you make savvy optimizations in real time. For example, strategically flighting a brand lift campaign before a bottom-funnel push will help you determine if your audience is truly ready to commit – resulting in more effective campaigns with fewer wasted dollars.

B2B marketers are often quick to shift dollars away from awareness tactics, trying to force quick leads. However, the people willing to give their contact details to a company they’ve never heard of after seeing a single banner ad aren’t likely to be the high-quality new relationship you’re truly looking for.  5) Give your campaigns time

My biggest piece of advice to B2B marketers is to be patient and give campaigns adequate time to drive results. Professional audiences are just people. But they’re people who are going to be more critical for your long-term brand success than they might be of a CPG product. But, the stakes are higher when their work emails are in the mix. 

According to Forrester research, (https://www.forrester.com/blogs/b2b-marketers-its-time-to-ditch-sourcing-metrics/) “B2B buyers engage in an average of 27 interactions over the course of a buying journey and 60% of B2B purchases now involve groups of four or more people.” In other words, they’re going to need some convincing, and convincing takes time. 

Understand your audience as people. Identify their media consumption habits. Diversify your channels to match. And finally, measure those channels holistically to lay a strong foundation for your B2B strategies. From there, it’s only a matter of time until you see success.

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