4 B2B marketing strategies with a B2C twist

As the digital world expands, business buyers are being presented with an unprecedented amount of information and opportunity for choice. This power of seemingly infinite knowledge and selection creates an unparalleled competitiveness that is forcing B2B marketers to evolve their campaigns to meet the growing expectations of their consumers.

But let’s face it, a B2B marketing career isn’t particularly glamorous — we’ve got to sell some downright unsexy products. So how can we present an engaging campaign about software, chemicals or manufacturing widgets to our extremely adept potential buyers?

The most successful business-to-business marketers start with building a brand, or in other words, they think like B2C marketers. The following are four ways to help “consumerise” our marketing practices.

1. More Marketing, Less Outside Sales

First and foremost, make sure all the information a buyer wants to know is front and center. One of the great strengths of B2C marketing is the wealth of product information that is available online, transparent pricing and easy purchase options. Yes, B2B purchases are significantly more complex, but marketers can provide detailed product specifications in easy to understand terms, demos and testimonials to help educate their potential buyers.

Marketers can speed up the purchase process by offering fixed pricing, which circumvents the need to negotiate. If a product is more complex with multiple features, tiered pricing will allow buyers to stay well informed during the research process.

Allow buyers to pay by credit card. This may not be an option for every B2B company, but it can greatly simplify the procurement process. Additionally, you could offer a line of credit to your buyers or provide direct billing online.

2. Give (Some of) it Away

Lowering barriers between a product and a buyer is crucial for B2B companies. When possible, try offering a free trial to customers — this allows them to develop an idea of what they can expect when the time comes for a purchasing decision. The focus here is getting people to actually use the product rather than marketers telling them how great it is.

A free product can go a long way; however it’s important to force a purchasing decision at some point. This could come in the form of a trial expiration date or blocking non-paying users from applying some of the features.

3. Customer Challenges to Encourage Feedback

Enterprise buyers want to know what their peers think of a product. Customer testimonials are certainly nothing new in the B2B world, however new technologies are providing ways to get customer advocates more actively involved in the marketing strategy. Platforms like Influitive allow B2B marketers to create challenges (i.e. provide a product review) that customers can complete in exchange for points. Acquired points can then be redeemed for an offer, for example a $25 voucher at a coffee house chain or even a free service provided by your company.

4. Marketing Gamification

It seems “gamification” is the new digital trend craze. It’s an interactive, entertaining way to promote awareness and encourages participation, not to mention makes tedious tasks (completing surveys) a little less laborious. Turning B2B marketing into a game is a bit tricky, but has proven successful for several businesses. Consider SonicWALL, a networking company who created a game for IT professionals called The Network Security Challenge. The premise of the game is to dictate what is allowed past the “security” as potential threats arise. As the game goes on, the threats are presented at an increasingly faster rate until it becomes impossible to stop every one. What the game is teaching its users is that no one person can manually decide what to let past a firewall and that a network security solution (SonicWALL) is needed to automate the process.

As the B2B and B2C worlds continue to intersect, we are likely to see more and more B2C strategies adopted by their business counterparts. While the list here is not an exhaustive one, they are a few tips to consider when making your marketing strategy more consumer-friendly.

If you want help developing a smart B2B marketing strategy with a B2C twist, contact our Digital Manager, Veronica Nobbs: veronica@b2bpartners.nz

Stalk your customers online with Google Remarketing

Like a jilted lover, eCommerce merchants have long waited, helplessly, with the hope that their fickle consumers, who abandoned their site without completing an action, see the err of their ways and return to them, faithful and true. Well proprietors, behold! Step out of the shadows of blind faith for a new day has dawned! An era in which you can safely stalk your capricious deserter by subtly reminding them that only you possess the good or service they truly cannot live without. Welcome to the Age of Remarketing.

Remarketing (sometimes referred to as “retargeting”) is a form of pay per click advertising which allows eCommerce entrepreneurs to show banner advertisements to users who previously visited their site as they browse the rest of the web.

Here’s how it works:

1. A prospect user enters your site

2. A tracking cookie is dropped on their browser

3. Prospect user leaves your site without converting or taking the desired action

4. You display banner ads to that user as they continue to browse other websites

5. Ads entice the user to come back to your website and complete desired action

Basically, a persistent little voice saying, “Hey. Hey, you. Remember me? Don’t waste your time endlessly searching for other products– I’m right here!”

Getting previous visitors to return to your site is an obvious perk of using remarketing, however, that isn’t the only benefit.

Improve ROI on marketing budgets

For businesses that are already spending money on driving traffic to a website, remarketing can extend the conversion funnel to your most qualified visitors.

Increase Brand Awareness

Re-displaying ads to new prospects increases the likelihood of brand retention and awareness.

Granular retargeting capabilities

Which means, advertisers can use tailored messaging and incentives based on a user’s browsing behaviour. For instance, if you have just purchased a tent for an upcoming camping trip, you might be a good target to promote sleeping bags.


If you decide to go the route of Google Dynamic Remarketing, you have further options to target visitor groups and choose which ones you want your ads to show up for.

All visitors:  Everyone who views your site

General visitors:  Those who visited your site but did not view any specific product. The dynamic ad will include the most popular products from your website

Product views:  People who viewed specific product pages but did not add them to a shopping cart. Here, the dynamic ad will show the viewed products alongside some recommended products

Shopping cart abandoners:  People who viewed specific items, added them to their shopping cart, but did not complete the purchase. Items will prioritise items added to the cart and will mix in other viewed products as well as recommended ones

Past buyers:  The dynamic ad will show related products to those previously purchased and items that were often bought together

So after reading this, you are probably thinking, “I need to incorporate remarketing into my digital strategy so I don’t turn out to be the sad, lonely peddler in the introductory analogy…” Great! Here are a few recommended practices to help get you from zero to hero in a flash.

Establish granular marketing lists

The more targeted the original traffic, the better the remarketing response

Avoid overexposure

Use frequency capping and ad scheduling to avoid harassing your audience, not to mention cut down on ad spend

Test, Analyse, Optimise

Overtime, begin to strike out the negatively performing placements and reward the positives


Whether you are an online retailer, a goods or service provider or a B2B marketer looking to improve your ROI, we can help introduce remarketing into your digital strategy alongside a wealth of tools to cultivate your brand.


Talk to Managing Director, Steve Ballantyne. e:  steve@b2bpartners.nz



Death to CAPTCHAs or risk killing your conversion rate

While CAPTCHAs have their admirable qualities in principle, the vast majority of the internet-using populous sees them as detestable, unreadable road-blocks that almost no one can decipher. Theoretically, a CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) protects virginal, doe-eyed users from the villainous clutches of bots hell-bent on spamming civilisation into oblivion; however, most of us would quietly take our chances if it meant we could finally rid the web-world of obscured, distorted letters and words challenging us to prove our human authenticity.

Courtesy of 9Gag

CAPTCHAs are widespread and often used to prevent comment spam and the automated submission of web forms, contact details, online polls or registrations. It seems like these barriers may be a necessary precaution for webmasters, but the hard truth is that the use of CAPTCHAs could be killing your conversion rate.

By including CAPTCHA in your website, you’re setting obstacles between you and your customers. It creates friction at the climax of the user’s site experience which, in turn, results in a percentage of users prematurely abandoning their task.

In 2009, Casey Henry, a web developer out of Seattle, conducted an independent case study over the 50 pages he either managed or had access to. He concluded that the sites with CAPTCHA turned off saw up to a 3.2% increase of their conversion rates, which is a fairly big potential gain for a lot of companies.

So why do conversion rates dwindle in the presence of anti-bots? Well for one, they are incredibly difficult to read. Illegible letter and number combinations (is that a zero or the letter ‘O’?) often take several attempts to pass. And what about those with limited vision or dyslexia? An audio CAPTCHA is sometimes provided but, according to a Stanford University large-scale evaluation, audio CAPTCHA on average takes 28.4 seconds to hear and solve and have a 50% give-up rate. And with software becoming increasingly more sophisticated, it becomes just a matter of time before a CAPTCHA can be cracked. The result? Tests that become even more difficult.

So what can be done? CAPTCHA may be unavoidable for some sites, but there are some really simple solutions that can help reduce the amount of spam you are plagued with, without interfering with user experience.


Askimet provides an effective defense without having any effect on users. It comes as a variety of plug-ins and is generally fairly easy to implement on your site. Askimet monitors millions of sites, regularly learning new methods to combat comment spam.

The Honeypot Technique

Essentially, this technique hides a designated field on a form from the human user. Machines will still detect the hidden field and will mark it. If a rogue form is submitted with the invisible field marked, it will be discarded.

Confirmation Page

As the user enters his information on one page and submits it, he will be taken to the next page and prompted to confirm the previously entered information. This prevents robots from successfully entering information as they typically focus only on the page containing blank fields.

Interested in discussing other ways your website can boost your conversion rate, give us a bell on +64 9 950 2140 and find out why we’re so confident that we can boost your bottom line!


How to create landing pages that convert

Whether you’re a B2B or B2C company, optimising your website for conversion should be a key component of your digital strategy. Here’s a simple blueprint to generate landing pages that convert will ultimately boost your bottom line.

Step One: How are you tracking?

Before throwing any additional funds at digital marketing you need to assess how well you are measuring your efforts, and simply having a Google tracking code in your HTML is not going to cut it.

1. Have conversions funnels been set up within Google Analytics (for email sign ups, purchases etc)?

2. Are your Google Webmaster/Adwords accounts linked to your Google Analytics account?

3. Are you tracking phone leads from your website?

4. Have you surveyed your web browsers /or collected feedback?

5. Are you measuring how many additional leads you are generating from your email marketing?

6. Are you analysing how users interact with your website, through the likes of heat maps in Google In-Page Analytics?

7. How do you track success? Too many companies rely solely on total website visitors.


Step Two: How intuitive is it?

If someone in your target market lands on your website how quickly can they grasp the concept and take an action that is both appropriate to what you want them to do and what will benefit them. Squarespace a great example of an intuitive landing page.

They have kept their homepage very simple, allowing people to use slick templates to build websites. Through the imagery and text they are creating the look of someone who has ‘created their own space,’ then the primary call to action directly in the centre is a “Get Started” button.


Step Three: What makes you different?

At the end of the day your website is there to sell you, so you have five seconds to convince visitors why they should use you over competitors. This is done by making your unique value proposition immediate, simple, clear and engaging.

Visual Website Optimizer is a great example of this. Traditionally A/B testing has required coding expertise, however Visual Website Optimizer stands out through a visual interface that allows anyone to be able to A/B test.


Step Four: How trusted are you?

If you are a new brand to the market you can build trust quickly by utilising either customer/client testimonials, industry accreditations or well-known other brands that have ties to your product or service.

If there is room, we recommend putting these trust building elements above the fold. This will help to improve conversion rates.


Conclusion: Whatever elements you choose to include in your website, as long as your tracking is set up correctly and changes are being A/B tested, you should never go too awry.

The sales process has been hacked by the internet

Sales effectiveness and productivity are critical in today’s business world, but there’s not a competitive business today that isn’t trying to grapple with the way the internet has redefined the classic 5-step sales process — engage a customer, qualify the customer, make a proposal, close the sale and follow up.

In the past, customers who needed a product would call in directly, or via an agent or broker. That call then set the sales process in motion. Or, a sales person would pick up on a lead and make a cold call to activate the first step. However, the harsh reality is that the internet has all but gutted that process.

Definitive evidence comes from new research from CEB and Google http://www.executiveboard.com/exbd-resources/content/digital-evolution/index.html that shows that customers are 57% of the way through the sales process before they ever contact a sales rep. That’s because they are looking at your business information online, sifting through a smorgasbord of information and are veritable experts before they even call in.

Customersresearch your company, your products, and pricing. They look at your competitors, and analyse your perceived strengths and weaknesses. They check online testimonials and reviews (good and bad), post questions on forums and ask their friend’s friends about you. They may even go to your social media pages and finally make a decision based on what their ‘gut’ tells them about the way you ‘feel’ on Facebook and Twitter.

This is the reality that businesses face today. With this change in sales process, a company has to adjust its marketing and sales strategy. You have to be available and accessible to customers where they are online. Your online presence must engage with customers and communicate the value you can add to their businesses. As a result, relevant content will continue to rule and escalate in value, especially content related to consideration and purchase drivers.

You need a strong, and ideally, all pervasive digital and internet presence to make it easy for customers to get information on your product or service. You have to consider and examine the full range of content that your organization is producing. Weigh up video, testimonials, blog posts, articles and white papers against their relevance, newsworthiness, insightfulness, clarity, and professionalism. This is a continuous process, and your businesses must analyse and improve online communications, content and accessibility with fastidious regularity.

And if that sounds complicated, that’s only one side of the equation. Increasingly, there is an equally important online aspect that goes hand-in-hand with everything else — online monitoring. Companies today must employ effective tracking and analytics to keep abreast of their Internet ‘buzz’ and avoid potential disasters. A single negative post on Facebook, Twitter or a blog can reach millions of potential customers in an instant.

In fact, some organisations consider this critically important to the way they manage their business. It’s a small wonder that a multinational like Nestlé now has a dedicated Digital Acceleration Team http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/26/us-nestle-online-water-idUSBRE89P07S20121026 , continually monitoring conversations about its products on social media.

Ultimately it may seem like confusing rocket science, but it’s really simple. Your website content should be well written, insightful, informative and up to date. Your blog should have regular updates, as should Facebook and Twitter. But perhaps most important of all, you have to ensure that your online reputation is what it should be. If someone did nothing but check you out online, would they decide to choose your business?

The great con of content generation

You know all those B2B marketing whitepapers, articles and blogs heralding the benefits of content generation? They forgot to tell you something.


Despite the fact business buyers genuinely want and need relevant information, we're in danger of drowning them. Content has reached a tsunami-like state.

Articles are more likely to be shared when the share buttons are at the top, because people are just reading the headlines. An article like this one, a lot of text and no pictures, requires an intrepid soul with an unusually durable attention span to reach the final full stop. (That's a polite way of saying if you finish this you're mad, get help.)

We humans now produce the same amount of information in 48 hours as we did from the dawn of civilisation up until 2003. And very little of it is original.

Just to power the digital warehouses that house all this new data takes roughly the equivalent of the output of 30 nuclear power plants.

It's now quite normal for a business to produce regular e-newsletters, e-books, whitepapers, blogs, webinars, podcasts, Facebook updates, Tweets and LinkedIn feeds. Mostly it's the same tired crap that's already been said a million times, a thousand more interesting ways.

Yet with stats saying93 percent of business buyers begin the buying process with an online search, and64 percent of senior execs search online for business information more than six times a day, it's unlikely the flow of B2B marketing content will slow.

Instead, imagination will hold more power. With so much content out there, and more being produced all the time, you need to either be strategic or very lucky to make any kind of ripple. I recommend strategic.

Here are some tips, but ultimately, it's what you do differently that will make your content stand out.

Attractive content attracts

Use nice design, compelling headlines, fewer words and more pictures, infographics and videos.

Be different

If it's already been said, shared, and is freely available, you're wasting your time. Take a unique angle or use an unexpected medium.


Find out what's important to them and what they find interesting, then craft your content with that in mind.

Buyers are humans too

Give B2B content a unique twist by tapping into topical events, human interest stories, internet memes etc.

Embrace dissent

Think of content like conversation, respond to feedback and encourage other opinions. Multiple viewpoints make a discussion interesting.

Prove it

Generate relevant powerful statistics and create content around them for a fresh vantage point that's more likely to be shared.

Pay attention

Track click-throughs and time spent, split test subject lines and refine your messaging in response. Keep testing and evolving as your audience does.

Mind your language

Make sure your content is written in the same language your target audience uses. Humour's good. Unnecessarily long words, not good.


Taken from Steve’s original article as featured inIdealog.