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Increase Your Sales with a Proven B2B Brand Strategy

by | Oct 10, 2021

Take a look at the critical elements of a B2B brand strategy and how they factor into your sales.

If you operate a B2B business and are still under the impression that brand identity is a strategy reserved only for B2C companies, you might be in for a surprise. With more saturation across digital markets than ever before, 77% of B2B marketing leaders state that branding is critical to growth. 

Why is it crucial for a B2B business to have such a strong identity? According to MarketingWeek, a B2B brand is more likely to fare better with customers if they use emotive rather than rational marketing messages. Gone are the days of strictly basing your B2B brand strategy on product features and sales margins. Instead, today’s buyers are looking to find the human behind the brand.

Today’s B2B buyers spend 45% of their time considering a purchase by researching independently and gathering their findings to bring to the rest of their buying group, which traditionally involves up to 10 decision-makers. However, focusing not on logistics most isn’t the only thing B2B buyers are doing. Instead, buyers primarily base their decision on a two-second first impression based on memories, images, and feelings, which are inherently tied to brand messaging.

B2B Brand Strategy Overview

If you’re unsure where to start with B2B branding, it’s helpful to start with a bit of an overview. A “brand” is a name, design, logo, or similar feature that differentiates one company’s product or service from another. Through the years, the definition of a brand has evolved to encompass a personality, narrative, and values. A brand is the heart of a business. 

To a consumer, a brand is essentially a series of perceptions collected over time. The purchasing decisions of B2B buyers hinge on these perceptions—and since B2B brands engage in lengthy sales cycles with several decision-makers, these perceptions play a massive role during the consumer journey. So, the responsibility falls on stakeholders to build a strong B2B brand to support sales.

Marketing leaders need to engage management and employees for the branding exercises. You should also consult customers and partners for input on the branding and its testing. Below is a collection of B2B brand strategies businesses use to form a reliable, consistent brand. 

Capturing the Voice of the Customer as Part of Your B2B Brand Strategy

An authentic B2B brand strategy begins by capturing the voice of the customer (VoC), which is a marketing term that refers to how a target audience speaks and feels about a specific business, product, or service. VoC programs are standard among both B2B and B2C marketing strategies for their ability to capture a customer’s needs, preferences, expectations, struggles, and feedback.

The VoC for your B2B brand is particularly important because it provides insights that can help you better serve and communicate with your customers. With a deeper understanding of your buyer persona, your B2B business can navigate the many objections that are bound to arise from such a robust buyer team. For this reason, a more vital understanding of your VoC can also lead to a better B2B customer experience (CX) and, ultimately, stronger sales.  

How Do You Capture VoC?

Brand building can help you capture VoC in many ways, such as automating your website to collect customer data while completing other aspects of branding. 

1. Online Customer Surveys

Online customer surveys are both flexible and scalable. Brief surveys of quantitative ratings can be sent immediately upon sign up for a product demo, while open-ended qualitative questions can be reserved for long-time customers. Once you build an online survey, you can send it to as many people as possible—and endlessly fine-tune it to source additional information.

2. Website Behavior

You can typically send surveys after a consumer interacts with your content. However, website tracking behavior gives B2B brands an unaltered look at how customers interact with your content. B2B businesses can toy with various tools, such as Google Analytics, to monitor time spent on a page or Crazy Egg to map the user experience, to learn how customers navigate your website. 

Monitoring website behavior can also reveal when updates, like branding materials, impact the user experience. While this tactic won’t show the verbiage customers use, it will indicate which areas of your website they gravitate towards and what’s most important to them. It can also display where customers might be dropping off before committing to a purchase. 

3. Surveying Social Media

When it comes to branding research, social media is a goldmine. Platforms allow for a more informal communication method rather than a phone call or email. Plus, discussions on social media are in real-time and enable a brand to join in, creating additional learning opportunities. 

4. Recording Call Data

Customers who engage in a phone call with your company are typically either pleased with your services or very unhappy—and in some cases, they might just be very interested in your B2B brand. In all of these scenarios, the call will reveal customer successes, questions, and complaints. From support calls to demo or sales calls, record all of the above to learn more about how customers perceive your brand and what can drive a sale. 

5. Dedicated Feedback Form

Every B2B company operates on a brand promise to solve a particular problem or improve specific metrics. Dedicated feedback forms provide honest insight into whether or not your brand is fulfilling this promise. Similarly, open-ended feedback will highlight which areas of your business are most important to your customer, including your values and services. 

Develop a Messaging Platform for Branding and B2B Sales

With VoC as the top priority, it’s time to craft a messaging platform. A B2B messaging platform creates a unified language to streamline communication with potential customers and guide future content endeavors. Establishing an in-depth messaging platform plan first ensures that all communication that follows remains true to the brand’s core.

Social Media Marketing words on wooden blocks on blue background. Top view

What Are the Elements of an Effective Messaging Platform?

Your messaging should remain consistent across all communication channels, from email and social media to your website, to maintain a strong brand story. But what goes into an effective messaging platform? First, take a look at how to form a strong brand narrative.

Brand Purpose. Your purpose is the why behind your business. It addresses what need or problem you hope to fulfill with your products or services.

Positioning Statement. Your positioning is what separates you from your competition. Rather than look to your internal team for this bit, consider what your customer would consider a substantial differentiator that would encourage them to make a purchase, such as sustainability or diversity. 

Brand Promise. Your promise is what you will provide to serve your purpose or a brief descriptor of your goods or services. A compelling brand promise can help sway customers to complete a sale. 

Brand Attributes. Your attributes are your brand personality—a collection of brand values, voice and tone descriptors, and look and feel that seem most authentic to your company and resonate with your target audience. 

Establishing Your Brand’s Purpose

An effective messaging platform begins with your brand purpose. However, your goal will also dictate the totality of your B2B marketing strategy because your brand purpose outlines who your brand is and why it’s in business. To determine what role your brand fills both in the marketplace and in customers’ lives, return to the drawing board and even VoC research.

Should you test your B2B brand purpose? Yes. After spending the time to create a brand purpose, you should try it. You will likely need to go through different variations of your goal and test each one to get it exactly right, which is often where the help of a trusted marketing company comes into play to help fine-tune testing and analyze results. 

Providing Expert Interviews as Part of Your B2B Brand Strategy

Expert interviews are a simple way for your B2B business to expand its credibility and authority within an industry, plus they’re a fantastic method to solidify your brand as a trusted leader in your space. In terms of a B2B brand awareness strategy, interviews are a way to tailor your story and share your brand purpose with a broad audience.

Once an interview is complete, you can repurpose it across your marketing strategy. For instance, you can turn a podcast interview into audiograms for social media and your website, and you can recycle an article into newsletters and blog posts. Here’s how to get started with expert interviews as part of your B2B brand strategy for a bit of competitive advantage.

Creating a Foundation to Earn Interviews

If you want to position your brand as an expert, you’ll need some eyes on your content first. To get started by creating a foundation to earn interviews, you’ll need to build social credibility. Then, take the necessary steps to help your company achieve relevant certifications or seek partnerships that demonstrate your authority in your space.

Next, construct a platform to begin broadcasting your brand messaging. While your website and social media platforms are excellent for capturing your brand personality, participating in different forums or publishing content on guest sites like Medium help extend your message. Then, personally become involved with relevant boards or committees to ensure your brand name rotates among key circles. 

Promote Your Expertise

Once you’ve secured an interview, be sure to promote your expertise via any channel available to you. Remember, interview quotes and clips can be repurposed by your own company, as well as in additional third-party articles that source your brand as a leading expert. At this stage, you might want to tap into the help of a marketing service that can help you build a community to broadcast your content. 

The B2B Brand Strategy of Writing a Book

For most B2B companies, writing a book seems like a daunting task—and not the most obvious marketing tactic or branding strategy for a B2B business. However, writing a book relevant to your target customer doesn’t need to be as hard as you may think. Instead, between your existing brand positioning and brand narrative, plus insider information on your industry, a book is simply a collection of data you already have at your fingertips.

Take a look at why writing a book is a trusted B2B brand strategy.

Establish a Niche in Your Industry 

The B2B company, Marketo, specializes in marketing automation. However, many are familiar with the brand simply because of its resources library—not just its product. When your company publishes relevant, timely, and informative content (like a book), your brand becomes a resource rather than a collection of goods. As a result, you can establish a niche within your industry by providing an excellent product and educating your audience. 

Build Awareness and Credibility for Your Brands

It can take a considerable amount of time for a B2B company to build trust with a consumer, especially since just one buying group can be a diverse collection of up to 10 individuals. One way to build both awareness and credibility is by publishing a book. The time, effort, and resources involved with publishing a book can accelerate trust among your target audience. 

Repurpose Marketing Material

Publishing a book is one of the unique ways to garner free publicity. A B2B company that publishes a book and markets it well can receive several high-profile interview opportunities, which results in tons of quotes throughout industry media. Then, these marketing materials can be repurposed elsewhere to build social proof, such as on your website. 

B2B Branding with Original Research

A recent State of Original Research for Marketing report discovered that nearly 40% of responders—who were predominantly affiliated with B2B companies—published the results of original research within the past year. In addition, over 60% of the respondents who published the original study said it met or exceeded their expectations, and a massive 88% reported they plan to conduct additional original research in the next year.

Over the past decade, original research has become a staple in B2B branding, providing insight into the minds of consumers and the state of an industry. Original research is effective for B2B branding because it develops legitimate thought-leadership content that competitors cannot replicate. Plus, this research is often circulated in content by other brands in the industry, much like how today’s blog has sourced original insights from brands like MarketingWeek.

How to Generate Compelling Research

There are three methods to generate compelling research, including licensing, outsourcing, and sponsor studies.

  1. Licensing: A B2B company acquires a distribution license from a research institution, like Statista, to publish their data without infringing on copyright intellectual property. 
  2. Outsourcing: A B2B company pays a third-party research institution or agency to launch or build the various stages of original research, such as data collection or analysis.
  3. Sponsor Studies: A B2B company sponsors a research study from an independent publisher to fund the project and have their brand name associated with the research results. 

Once an original research study is complete, a B2B brand can move on to presenting. 

How to Present Original Research

Much like generating original research, there are three standard methods to present the findings to the rest of the world.

  1. Webinars: A digital, collaborative conference where a B2B company can share educational insights and implement sales initiatives, such as live demos. 
  2. White Papers: A report or guide that’s typically accessible only after a potential customer provides an email address or other valuable information. 
  3. Expert Interviews: A media and publicity opportunity that allows a B2B executive to shine as a thought leader in their respective industry.

Digital Marketing as a B2B Brand Strategy

Last but not least, no B2B brand strategy is complete without a bit—or a lot—of digital marketing. In today’s increasingly digital world, digital marketing is how B2B companies can spread their brand purpose, story, and expertise. And considering B2B buying groups spend nearly 30% of their buying window independently researching online, a digital marketing strategy is a must.

Here’s how digital marketing efforts can ramp up B2B branding and how a digital marketing agency can help.

Enforce B2B Branding with PPC Ads

PPC ads are a large part of most B2B digital marketing efforts, mainly because paid ads make it easier than ever for a potential customer to find your business. Even if a customer isn’t looking for you by name, paid ads utilizing keywords for your products and services ensure that your brand name is always tied to the user’s desired search results. In addition, if a user has never heard of your brand before, paid ads are a way to keep your company in rotation in their search results.

Use Social Media to Enhance Marketing Efforts

Social media is one of the most commonly used B2B marketing channels, and for a good reason. A whopping 89% of B2B marketers currently leverage Facebook as a sales channel, and another 81% leverage LinkedIn to build customer relationships. As we previously mentioned, social media is a direct look into the voice of the customer (VoC) and allows for both learning opportunities and chances to share relevant on-brand content.

Leverage SEO to Help Businesses Find You 

One final B2B branding strategy is to utilize SEO to help businesses find your brand. A B2B company can better understand what search queries are most applicable to its target audience with keyword research. Shifting SEO efforts to these keywords help guarantee your brand appears within search results for these queries, meaning your business has a higher chance of receiving higher-quality leads from individuals who are actively looking to purchase your products or services.

Ramp Up Your B2B Brand Strategy Today 

Now is the time to ramp up your B2B brand strategy with combined research, content, and distribution effort. If the above B2B branding strategies seem like a bit much to take alone, call in the help of a trusted South Florida digital marketing agency like Bullseye Strategy. With over a decade of experience building and boosting brands, we know we have what it takes to take your B2B company to the next level. So contact us today to get started.

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