B2B is dead. Long live B2B? Google reports 6,700,000 mentions of B2B’s demise, so if this isn’t new news, why are you here? Because B2B content still exists as shorthand for targeting a business community – to the tune of 173,000,000 mentions. Or you just liked the title.
So, what’s the problem with B2B? There isn’t a problem with B2B, more what it has come to mean: a certain approach – a tone of voice, or channel strategy that’s more restricted than B2C. Just because a person works in business doesn’t reduce the need for great creative work or insightful planning. B2B has become synonymous with stereotyping to the nth degree. That’s the problem.
According to LA-based branding agency wearefine.com, we should use ‘H2H’, or Human 2 Human. Like it. Especially when considering Ai, and predictions around user defined limits on the type of branded content we’ll see around us. But whilst we figure that out, here are some easy tips for an effective B2B/H2H content strategy. If you have any questions, please get in touch.
1. Identify and understand your audience
So, you need to raise awareness / address reputational challenges / increase purchase consideration / steal wallet share from competitors / communicate the benefits of a legislation / provide ongoing customer value to support a rebrand / change behaviour / transform an organisation from within. And you’ve decided content is the answer. Yay! But making consistent and relevant content to address a challenge is hard.
You’re already aware that tailoring your message to your audience is critical to success. But the task goes beyond messaging matrixes. Decision-making is complex, our modal states of mind, the societal / environmental influences, how conversations and relationships affect our propensity to be open to suggestion all have an impact on whether we trust a business. Whilst we may never understand the full extent of these impacts, it is vital to invest in understanding the audience properly. Lansons has published a great book by psychologist Dr Helena Boschi on this very topic – Why we do what we do – which seeks to unveil the sources of decision-making in work and personal situations. Not that we’re pushing it mind.
2. Listen to your people
Some of the strongest proof points or messages that have the power to place your business ahead of the competition can be found amongst your workforce. Make sure you provide a means of having a regular two-way dialogue with them. And listen to what they say. Here at Lansons, we have a team of award-winning and published change management consultants specialising in internal communications. If you need support with engaging your employees, drop us a line.
3. Create value for your audience through relevant and consistent messaging
Not many people like being sold to. And content programmes that rely on brochure-ware methods are a waste of budget. Unlike the Value Exchange which seeks data in return for a newsletter, or a salesy report, an effective content strategy needs to deliver ongoing value to the defined audience. GDPR debates aside, in the context of content strategy, a value exchange is about giving people content that is of worth to them, not the other way around. If you can make someone’s day job easier, provide a fresh point of view, or give them the know-how to become successful, then the content strategy has worked and they’ll keep coming back for more.
4. Be brave
The most effective campaigns are the ones that speak to the heart and mind of the individual. Sure, but they’re also the ones that come from excellent audience insight, talented creative teams, and an open-hearted stakeholder group, alongside the prerequisite blood, sweat and tears. But it takes bravery on everyone’s part to deliver something truly exceptional. So, go forth and conquer that challenge!
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