B2B marketing is a different way to say ‘B2B educating'
Charles Morgan once said, “As knowledge increases, wonder deepens.’
If your business-to-business (B2B) company has solutions for customer problems, they want to hear about it.
Help take the wonder out of finding a solution by sharing your knowledge and offering insights, all with the intent to educate.
Potential buyers are often looking at companies and products well ahead of their actual need for an item. This early stage is a great time to help future potential customers understand not only what your product is or does, but also why they may need it in the future.
Here’s an example. Our client went through a year-long process to transform their marketing from a basic website, product brochures and tradeshow attendance to a fully digital solution. They learned new-to-them marketing techniques and lessons that B2B companies of all sizes can adapt to their own needs.
Today, they reach thousands of potential customers worldwide and produce hundreds of leads each month by sharing valuable information that has established their authority and expertise in their field.
All the lessons they learned were captured in a guide that any type of business can use. This is the seventh lesson in a series of nine. The rest of the lessons are listed at the bottom of this post.
This lesson focuses on how they changed their narrative from being about their products to educating their audience ahead of offering solutions.
Marketing must educate
Customers need to understand your product. More importantly, they need to understand why they need your product.
Modern marketing is much more than product descriptions and specs. Yes, there is a time and place for product content like brochures and PowerPoint sales decks, video tours and product pages on a website. But buyers today expect more. Detailing product features is no longer enough.
When done well, marketing can start conversations that are memorable, raise good questions and provide food for thought.
Good quality educational content provides value and enables buying decisions, positions companies as thought leaders, and builds relationships with customers and would-be customers.
What did our client change?
Our client identified a significant future need and shifted its marketing to focus on educating people and businesses about it.
This shift resulted in hundreds of new leads from a core part of their audience: the people who didn’t know they needed their products, and those who simply hadn’t made it far enough in the decision-making process.
They decided to educate people about pending industry changes that would have broad implications for all kinds of businesses including B2B companies and manufacturers, around the globe.
With the goal to educate, they offered articles about industry trends, videos to address pain points customers and potential customers were experiencing, webinars to explain new innovations in the space and much more.
This is the kind of information that gets noticed and helps customers understand why they should select to work with a company or buy a product.
By addressing customers much earlier in the sales funnel they were able to answer more than just “what does it do?”
They were now able to answer “why do I need it?”
By positioning themselves at the forefront of pending changes with international implications, they were recognized not only as thought leaders, but also as good global citizens with solid solutions to offer.
How did we help?
Our client needed help to produce the material to effectively share their knowledge along with support to develop the methods needed to share it on a global scale.
We developed a strategy to create engaging and memorable content and provided the manpower and leadership to empower, train and enable their internal team to do it on their own when they are ready.
We also helped develop a high-value in-depth industry guide, which was new to them. The piece wasn’t about a specialized machine the company produces, rather it offered an insightful look at evolving environmental trends and increased legislation for eco-friendly products - that their equipment makes.
The content explained not only what industry changes were happening, but also what it means for other businesses, and how companies could be compliant if mandated to do things differently. Would-be customers learned more about the issue, while our client was positioned as a trusted expert, good global citizen and supplier with a solid solution.
Ultimately, the content opened the door for conversations with new customers across the globe by getting them thinking about the products and services they could need in the future. It’s the perfect way to get potential customers to start considering why they may need a product in the future, and circling the top of the sales funnel. It raises important points that many companies hadn’t yet considered or were only in the beginning stages of considering.
‘“That single piece of content has generated over 500 leads all by itself,” says Andrew Green, Mezzanine Growth’s VP Client Strategy. “This is an audience that’s hungry for information, and will be receptive to future content.”
Educational content can start the process of building a relationship and establishes trust in the company’s expertise as a subject matter expert. It can begin long before buyers are at the product selection stage. This early trust helps keep their company top of mind when customers need specific details or are eventually looking to buy.
What expertise can your business share? Help your customers take the guesswork out of searching for a solution and aim to educate with your marketing.
More client lessons:
Lesson One: Have a clear and actionable business case.
Lesson Two: Find opportunities and know what to focus on.
Lesson Three: Establish definitions before starting a large or new-to-the-team project.
Lesson Four: Seek a strategic external partner, to share their expertise and educate the internal team.
Lesson Five: Make lead generation a mindset.
Lesson Six: Plan with future marketing needs in mind.
Is there something your business needs help educating customers about?
Mezzanine B2B Growth Agents specializes in B2B demand and lead generation for companies that have complex sales such as manufacturers and other B2B companies. It’s all we do, so we have the depth and breadth of experience to help your company grow.
If you’re wondering what an outsourced marketing agency can do for your business, read:
- Taking Care of Business By Outsourcing Lead Generation,
- Seven Compelling Reasons why Mezzanine is Your B2B Outsourced Marketing Agency
- then call us for more.
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