Buyers everywhere are becoming more self-reliant. Armed with search engine results and reviews, and endless digital ways to interact, buyers make intelligent decisions, pay-for and, even return things. Today, tech reviews are driving the sales of laptops, mobile phones, home-routers, etc. As a result, RAM, SSD, and many such acronyms have become commonplace. The instant karma model of online buying and the pandemic situation have fast-tracked this revolution.
Where has that led us to in the B2B tech space? In fact, Forrester predicts, business buyers have become more like independent consumers, and “2020 will be a pivotal year as buyers’ demand for a compelling experience increases and B2B marketers strive to own the moment.”
In the narrowing gap between B2C and B2B marketers, B2B no longer lags.
And, now, with the impacts of Covid-19, understanding the trends in consumer behaviors to appreciate ‘what matters most’ helps brands communicate authentically. This in turn, builds brand loyalty and trust.
Here are three ways how:
One consistent story – and ‘storytelling’ it
A specialist B2B tech company can actually find a consistent and compelling story to tell. Some of the B2B tech brands think storytelling is for B2C companies, but that is no longer true. In fact, that may be a stumbling block- because, without a single consistent story to tell, it is nearly impossible to stand out.
It may be that we are buried in deep technology and yet there will be the final value that touches our customers and makes their world go round. That is our story. And we should find opportunities to tell it many times over and train everyone to narrate adding anecdotes, data points, and new use cases while keeping the fabric intact.
Our story should be the same across every method of communication, from ads, email, and social media to trade shows, fine print, and even business cards (or email signatures in today’s world). People buy from people and relate to emotions, values, and ethics - same for a food processing company as for a processor making giant!
Tone of voice
What we say is important. But, the way we say it is really important! Our tone of voice gives us a personality and helps us connect with our audiences in a meaningful, memorable way. When complex products and services find an easy way to relate to people, appreciation happens. In that moment of truth, a window of trust opens.
Customers are increasingly looking to escape corporate jargon. The tone of voice of a brand brings people closer to understanding how their needs are being served and makes them less afraid of technology. I’d say that is a big deal for B2B tech companies. Everything we do communicates something—including what we choose not to say.
Data-driven targeted campaigns for decision-makers and influencers
Cloud and data are the winners in the Covid-19 era, and they are democratizing technology like never before. Today anyone can provision infrastructure if it makes business sense for them. Fewer dials to operate and less onus on the customer to understand our tech makes more of them want to work with us.
Trust is paramount in reaching out to this diverse set of decision-makers and influencers. An authentic campaign that brings home these points helps an informed set of decision-makers to go with a certain technology. The B2B technology ecosystem trusts their peers as a source of information above anything. When we target influencers like analysts, we are targeting decision-makers too.
A similar (but also different) take on this is also how advanced data-driven marketing platforms work. Here, trust in the data is even more important. The new consumer behavior relies on the quality of data and insights that create targeted campaigns. Using these insights, sophisticated marketers will tap the client’s end-user and build advocacy for their brands.
Refreshing a brand appeal with evolving trends is something all CMOs aspire for. Armed with data and a clever targeted campaign brings customers and an extended stakeholder ecosystem – employees, their families, partners and industry bodies, all closer to the story the brand is aspiring to narrate. It gives a B2B tech brand a persona that is more human, relatable, alluring and binds everyone closer to the end impact value of technology. That is the bridge that helps B2B tech brands build quite like the B2C peers.
- Ms. Aanandita Bhatnagar.
- The author is the Head of Corporate Communications, NetApp India.