If marketing your business to business software does not sound like an exciting proposition, you might be looking at it the wrong way. B2B marketing is a combination of modern digital analytics and old school marketing wisdom, and this is certainly true for software. Those who truly understand the intersection of who their user is and what their product provides will find their target market and present their offering in the most compelling manner possible, unlocking their market potential in the process. To misquote Forrest Gump, ‘Exciting is as exciting does’ and, if your software has value, it should be rousing to the right person.
“Just because it’s a B2B product doesn’t mean you’re not selling to another person. That person on the other end is regularly engaged by products for their hobbies, their clothes and their car. Why can’t you have fun and use the same tactics as lifestyle brands do?” Colin Rose, Rose Agency
Identifying and Reaching Your Target Market
Identifying your target market is one part data-based and one part common sense. If you’ve gone through the trouble of developing a piece of business to business software, then you’ve already contemplated the core value proposition questions: What problem does this software solve? For whom?
Far from an impulse purchase, your product will likely be subject to internal research and discussion by potential clients. If your product services a particular industry, then understanding that industry is imperative. The gatekeepers within various companies or sectors will differ, so research here is warranted. Will the person doing the initial research be a Millennial? A senior executive? How many levels of approval will be required before a purchase is made?
Fortunately, careful analysis of SEO, hashtags and engagement can provide your campaign with a level of microtargeting that would have been unimaginable in the past. Harnessing the power of the available tools will put your value proposition in front of the right eyeballs at the right time.
Engaging Your Target Market with Compelling Content
When recalling history’s most gripping marketing campaigns, B2B software may not come to mind. No Santa Claus reminding us about what’s right with the world, nor Michael Jordan telling us that we can fly. That doesn’t mean that your branding efforts need to be a snooze-fest.
What is at the core of your clients’ mission? What can you help them achieve? Be lofty. Remind them why they exist and position yourself in that equation. Famous sales wisdom reminds us that selling benefits is more effective than selling features. You’re not just allowing your client to perform a task 10% quicker, you’re freeing them to do more, live more. You’re not just processing data, you’re informing monumental decisions.
Of course B2B purchases are complex ones, so you need to back up the sizzle with steak. Gain attention through captivating content and capitalize with detailed information. Specifications may win the day, but when fighting for initial attention remember the KISS rule and Keep It Simple, Stupid.
“Your core mission and vision for the future should inform everything from your strategic decision-making to your brand messaging,” writes Christine Alemany for business.com. “A concise and compelling articulation of your company's purpose will help focus your team and reinforce brand resonance among critical audiences.”¹
B2B Marketing Channels and Mediums
Rose Agency was recently hired by Newton to increase the market share and adoption rates for Velocity, their CRM software program designed to act as an intermediary between mortgage brokers and lenders. We did just that, advertising through Facebook, Instagram, Google and YouTube. Graphical elements, an extensive series of testimonial videos, a sonic logo and even booger glue were tools utilized in the campaign, which can be read about in this case study.
Any such attempt at digitally increasing market share should begin with careful contemplation of goals and the metrics used to track them. All tools in the toolbox should be considered, including social media, blogs, videos, white papers, infographics, e-books, webinars and PPC.
Shama Hyder, CEO of Zen Media, extolls the virtues of video marketing as lead generator. “This is the one time we can answer what came first, the chicken or the egg,” writes the bestselling author for Forbes. “If video creation is the chicken, it’s 100% what needs to come first and then the visits, sales and engagement (or the egg) come next. Videos get people to your site, keep them there longer and result in more sales. It’s not rocket science, but the sheer task of creating the videos can appear like it.”²
It’s important to remember that not all content has to directly pertain to the product at hand. Information or news relevant to your target market can be a useful tool in gaining social media engagement or blog traffic, particularly at the top end of the sales funnel where lead generation is the name of the game.
Whether branding flashy consumer goods or business to business software, it’s best to take a customer-centric approach, speaking to their wants, needs, values and desires in an engaging tone. Generally speaking, personality, a conversational tact and the use of humour, stories and solutions will maximize impact.
1 “How B2B Marketers Can Master Branding on Social Media.” business.com. Accessed November 26, 2020. https://www.business.com/articles/b2b-marketers-branding-on-social-media/
2 Hyder, Shama. “Why Video Is More Important Than Websites For B2B Marketers.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, November 19, 2020. https://www.forbes.com/sites/shamahyder/2020/11/19/why-video-is-more-important-than-websites-for-b2b-marketers/?sh=18e6e0ec1809