Are You Serving Your Customers or Playing the Lottery?
Rising costs and deadlines force operational purchasing staff to seek the fastest path to accomplishing their priorities. Yet in order to find potential suppliers of raw materials, equipment, components and services, ~90% of senior industry staff spend over 8 hours a week on-line surfing (15% of salaries). After bouncing from site to site, conducting research, self-education and evaluation, purchasers only contact and begin negotiations with those suppliers that answered their criteria succinctly.
For the past two years, marketing gurus stated in order to be heard, suppliers needed 13 – 16 marketing tactics, from videos to social media. The goal was two-fold: to slowly dole out tidbits of information in hopes of engaging, influencing and converting future prospects, and to gather customer preferences and behaviours for later analysis. In response, companies with abundant Cashflow increased budgets and output, creating a “gotta go viral” challenge for marketers, and a plethora of inconsequential content.
If our business customers’ goals are fast answers and acquisitions, and marketing’s goal is to slowly tantalize the taste buds in order to gather demographics and a flock of followers, who is marketing ultimately serving, your customers or yourself?
Furthermore, has the increased time and cost of this strategy created value for money?
With Google now processing 3.5 billion searches a day, the results in the race to create content are now starting to come in. CMI/TrackMaven reports that “a growing majority of professional marketing content fails to have an impact”, and a single interaction per 1,000 followers is the average response rate. Hoping your marketing goes viral is like basing your business success on winning the lottery.
Inconsequential tidbits do not provide definitive, timely answers, and our ability to absorb information has not changed since the 1950’s, so we tune out everything except our priorities.
If your company does not have unlimited marketing funds, it’s time to get out of the race and focus on relevance.
The Path of Targeted Relevance
To generate new revenue opportunities, you need to show how your firm creates tangible benefits. Sample case studies and previous successes may assist you in transforming your marketing from tantalizing tidbits into relevant similarities. Your customers want the same things you do: new customers, reliable suppliers and services, reduced expenses, and higher revenues.
Focus on relevant, detailed solutions, specific sectors, and tangible customer benefits instead of vague promises. These will lead to:
- Being short-listed and contacted to discuss your products or services;
- Increased closure rates and revenues;
- Higher customer satisfaction and long-term relationships; and
- More referrals and recognition.
2. Targeted Visibility
If you are not visible to those interested in your products or services, relevance won’t help. B2B marketing traditionally targeted only direct purchasers, or those within a single supply network, but two key aspects have shifted this reality:
- Services now account for 50% of all value-added trade, from innovation to production components. You limit revenue generation and relationships if you do not target and team up with those commercial services that work with or support your core competencies, because today’s purchasers expect turnkey solutions.
- The speed, scope and players have expanded to include the participation of smaller companies and emerging economies. These independent players increase the speed of innovation and widen the choice of options, resulting in a global competitive landscape.
The challenge is that your visibility must now reach this multifaceted ‘made in the world’ community, and do so without increasing budgets, time and resources.
You need to publish your product/service offerings in targeted environments. By doing this, you reach a professionally motivated, global community that understands the details, and complements or supports your products and services.
You can further reduce time and costs while simultaneously expanding your reach, by offering finder’s fees for the time it takes an experienced professional to consider your needs/offers, and connect you with their network of customers, suppliers and service providers. Leverage their experience to generate warm, quality referrals without the overhead.
Most opportunities are perishable, and have ‘best buy’ dates. Regardless of whether you are in manufacturing, responding to a request for tender, or undertaking a planned initiative, there is limited time to find and acquire supplies, materials and services, and any production or project timeline can be disrupted by a single call.
An average supply chain disruption is five weeks. Can you afford project over-runs, delivery penalties, extended salaries or even lost contracts, while you scramble to re-surf, re-qualify, and re-source a key link in the chain? Why would your clients be any different?
Those suppliers that regularly make the short-lists minimize their customers’ time by supplying current, relevant details and tangible benefits. Does your B2B marketing answer their ‘need now’ criteria?
2015 Marketing to Business Customers
- Does your marketing immediately provide enough relevant answers to get your firm short-listed?
- Are you leveraging potential joint venture sales or incentivizing professionals in complementary fields?
- Can you prove you can respond to specific, complex product-service needs in a timely manner?
If you answered no to any of the above, it’s time for a change in strategy. In 2015, focus on your clients’ priorities using relevance, targeted visibility and timeliness.
At Synesphere, our smart marketplace helps industries and businesses find, refer, connect, negotiate and close business deals with customers, suppliers and service providers, so if you have any questions or have a topic you would like more information about, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.