In the world of B2B marketing, it’s easy to follow the leader. The problem with this, however, is that when everyone starts doing the same things marketing-wise…it gets a little, well…boring.
If you really want to stand out to your B2B prospects, you have to be willing to experiment with new, out-of-the-box marketing ideas that get your brand noticed.
From taking a hard look at your brand voice to building new communities from scratch, thinking beyond the norm can help you break out in a bold way (that produces results.)
Let’s explore this topic a bit further and look at a few non-traditional B2B marketing ideas you likely haven’t tried before.
1. Redefine your brand voice
So often B2B marketers are focused on the next big tactic or trend. But what about the foundational elements? Taking a hard look at the core pieces of your marketing (like brand voice, for example) present an opportunity to radically improve things.
“Think of your company as a character in the story you’re telling with your customer. Give them a backstory, goals, quirks, pet peeves. Too many B2B brands are concerned with being ‘professional’ and they come off as jargony and robotic as a result,” said writer Alaura Weaver.
When re-evaluating your brand voice, think about your target audience and what they need to hear. Then document your new approach, with notes on changes:
- Tone within emails and blog content (Is it educational? Friendly? Quirky?)
- Personality and the conversational nature of content (Does the voice sound like it’s coming from a smart friend or a lecturing adult?)
- Relatability (Does the brand voice sound like the customer’s own voice?)
If your brand voice doesn’t currently have any documented notes on the three above elements, it may be time to reconsider your approach.
2. Build a community
“Many businesses think of “community” as their social media presence and the engagement that happens there. But in reality, you can go much further than that with a Slack group, Facebook group, etc.” said marketing expert Nichole Elizabeth DeMeré.
By building a private area for customers to interact more closely with each other and with the brand, communication flows more freely and connections form stronger bonds. In a way, it’s building your own “sandbox” of sorts.
For example: When ProdPad launched a Slack channel, they found that it fostered a sense of community not only between the brand and customers, but between customers as well. Engagement rose across the board, and customers started to feel more like friends.
Whether it’s a custom built area of your site for VIPs or a Facebook Group, these micro- communities are a marketing tactic that feel more like helping than selling.
3. Start a podcast
Podcasts have been steadily increasing in popularity over the past five years. A quick look at the Google Trends data for the term ‘podcast’ illustrates this visually:
So what does this mean for B2B marketers?
In marketer Patrick Hodgdon’s experience, it means more visibility and prospects:
“Starting a podcast is a huge opportunity to open doors and build valuable relationships via old outreach. We saw a podcast add $200K to a $1M pipeline in 3 months, and it also helped generate 100K views on LinkedIn with content repurposed as posts.”
He went on to explain that it made a major impression on guests to the podcast as well.
One guest said this: “I’ve seen teams of marketers in this space do less over the past 10 years than you were able to do with the podcast in less than 6 months to position the company as a thought leader.”
Marketer Jay Acunzo has also seen huge success from podcasting: He’s created a following of thousands of listeners, earned countless 5-star ratings on his show, and has grown his ethos as an expert and authority on marketing.
The bottom line: With the help of automation tools that remove the heavy lifting from podcast creation, you can quickly launch a new marketing approach that most other B2B brands still aren’t even considering.
4. Leverage a Voice of Customer program
Marketer Sue Duris said that while still largely underutilized, Voice of Customer (VoC) programs are a powerful, effective way to drive results and give customers a voice.
“User or customer-generated content is free marketing for us, and it has a larger ROI than any other marketing program we could come up with. It’s an opportunity for customers to promote us to their networks and, let’s face it, would-be customers are more likely to engage with customer driven content than corporate driven content,” she said.
Data echoes this sentiment. When McDonald’s launched a VoC program in 2015 and acted on the findings of those efforts, they saw a 5.7% increase in in fourth-quarter sales. Not too shabby, right?
Sue explained that launching a VoC program might include various elements such as:
- Blog posts around what different customers’ ‘Aha!’ moment was with your product
- Videos of your customers’ favorite product features
- Leveraging user-generated content (photos, testimonials, etc.) throughout your website as social proof
Think about how you can better make sure of customer insight you already have and make your marketing efforts a mirror for customers.
5. Use interactive content to better align sales & marketing
One of the biggest pitfalls of B2B marketing is that so often, there’s a misalignment between sales and marketing–and both teams end up wasting time and effort on leads that don’t convert.
One out-of-the-box approach you might consider is interactive content as a solution for this.
In one case study, Paycor saw major success with this approach–improving their opportunity to closed deal rate by 38%.
“Today’s buyers have very different expectations for marketing and sales experiences, and successful organizations need to set themselves up to be able to meet those expectations. Not only do we see better leads come through at the top of the funnel, but sales is having better conversations that lead to better deals and happier customers,” said Alex Schutte, Head of Digital Marketing at Paycor.
So what does interactive content mean in the B2B setting? It’s things like:
- Interactive assessments (to gauge a prospects interests/needs)
- Interactive quizzes (to drive up engagement and spur data collection)
- Interactive calculators (to tease out a pain point and then present a solution)
Here’s one example of an interactive quiz from Boston Scientific:
The great thing about any kind of interactive content is that it allows the marketing and sales teams to gather important information about prospects, which improves lead scoring and lead conversion down the road.
6. Partner with an influencer
In the past, influencer marketing was largely used within the B2C setting. Today, however, a few B2B brands are dipping their toes in the water–and are seeing success with influencer relationships.
American Express, for example, partnered with influencers on Instagram for its #AmexAmbassador series, which targeted C-suite executives in charge of business purchasing decisions. These campaigns helped build contextual ethos for the brand and acted as a form of social proof, with external sources validating the product/service at hand.
The secret to success seems to be finding the right influencers for your B2B marketing campaign. Look for a relevant figure within your niche who has upwards of 50K followers so you can be sure your reaching a large, engaged audience.
However, if you’re hesitant to jump into influencer marketing with a large marketing budget, consider going the route of micro-influencers first. These are often more niche with smaller audiences (whose costs and requirements are considerably less.)
Break free with fresh B2B marketing ideas
With the ideas we’ve covered here, you can take a fresh approach to your B2B marketing efforts and break free from the herd. Standing out with unique efforts can feel daunting at first, but with a smart approach and a willingness to test and experiment, you may very well find home-run tactics that drive incredible results for your brand.