A short guide to smart B2B marketing launches

businessman-562572_640The good news about B2B marketing is its ultimate practical nature. To misquote Chaucer, “Value will out.” In the majority of cases, B2B purchasing is driven by practical considerations including but not limited to:

• Clear and understandable value your offering brings to the buyer

• Timing, as B2B purchases are typically made only when needed (sometimes later!)

• Reputation, because business purchasing decision-makers are often risk averse

• The right price, because the bottom line matters and competition, both direct and indirect, can be fierce; but remember, the lowest price on the market may connote “cheap,” so play your cards right

• Problem-solving and pain reduction, because business is tough and your offering should make it easier

The other good news about B2B marketing launches is that, if you do your homework, you can pretty nicely identify and target your prospective buyers.

• Decide if you have one or multiple vertical markets to reach (schools, hospitals and hotels or just one of these?).

• Determine who is likely to make and to influence the buying decision.

• Research the way these people, as a group or singly, like to get their information (websites, trade shows, social media, video, print or online media, word-of-mouth, search engines, inbound marketing)?

• Remember that delivering your message via multiple methods and media will generally give you stronger results than the monomaniac approach of one form of outreach forever.

Once you’ve done some homework and you have your B2B product or offering ready to go, leverage your knowledge and tell your story.

• If your offering is “news” (and a new product or service of value typically is news), treat it as such, with media outreach, video how-tos, social media, trade show exhibition, eblasts, advertising, and lots more.

• Follow up with ongoing “drip” marketing, telling stories, creating case studies, continuing to advertise, and offering advice of value.

• Remember that when you are sick and tired of deluging the market with the same old messages, your prospects may just be beginning to notice them.

• Do you have a high-value offering and key prospects? Consider conversion marketing, in which you reach out to these same people multiple times, in a range of different ways.

• Can you become the expert in the solution you are offering? We may be getting tired of hearing the term “thought leadership,” but it still matters. Offering counsel, expertise and value through presentations at trade shows or conferences, writing white papers, blogging, and publishing articles makes your expertise, and if properly done, your offering top-of-mind.

• Learn as you go. You may find out that the benefit you ranked as third in importance when you launched turns out to be #1. Revise and leverage. You may find out that schools really want the product you thought was ideal for hospitals. You may discover that your best customers buy one or two right away, and that the biggest prospects take two years to get you a purchase order. Smart B2B marketers are ready and able to adapt to realities and changes in plans.

• Repeat. Keep improving your offering, your messaging, your targeting, and your sales. Once you have the hang of this, you’ll want to keep at it.

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Michelle van Schouwen is president of van Schouwen Associates, LLC, a B2B marketing company based in Longmeadow, MA. The company is known for vSALaunch, its proprietary, modular and scalable system for B2B marketing launches, as well as its expertise in integrated marketing for B2B. Contact Michelle at michelle@vsamarketing.com.

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