By: Erin Michalak
Why should a B2B marketer choose a B2B agency: The top 10 reasons. Including buyer sophistication, higher stakes and more complex topics.
I could probably come up with dozens of reasons why B2B marketers need a B2B agency. They made me cut them down to 10. So here you go …
1. B2B purchases are not impulse buys
B2B purchases are not impulse buys, like soft drinks. They are a considered purchase. There’s usually not just one buyer, but a buying team. And the buying process has multiple stages. Multiple players. Multiple layers of distribution.
And there are usually fewer resources to accomplish all this activity.
2. B2B buyers are sophisticated
B2B marketing is not like selling toothpaste to consumers. It is complex. Often it requires selling technical products to highly educated and informed buyers. Buyers who are highly knowledgeable about their needs.
They spend a great deal of time doing research so that they can understand their options. In many cases, they need to present these options to their buying team and defend their product selection. As a result, purchase decisions take months or even years.
3. The stakes are higher
People have been fired for making the wrong business purchases. It happens.
They are spending their company’s money and this comes with greater risks and implications than spending their own money. B2B buyers want to make good decisions for their company and look smart among their peers.
4. B2B topics, concerns and hot buttons are more complex
B2B buyers want and need to be educated on complex topics. They do a lot of research on products and solutions for their applications.
The best way to help them is to make sure they have a ton of resources at their fingertips. Preferably, your content. To do that, you need a thorough understanding of the buying personas that are involved in the purchase decision. And you need to know what matters to them.
5. B2B is important
Some may have the impression that B2B is about cold, hard facts. Dull. Boring. Not as exciting as B2C. There’s an element of truth in that. We are, after all, talking to technical audiences, like engineers.
But these people care deeply about their jobs. They take their responsibilities seriously. As we have pointed out many times, our clients have helped save lives, prevent disease, build Olympic stadiums and explore outer space. We consider ourselves truly fortunate to work with them.
6. B2B buying channels are complex with a complex selling process
B2B purchases involve complex channels with multiple layers that could include distributors, independent reps, specifiers, supply-chain partners and many more. For example, you could be marketing or selling to an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) that talks to their independent agent about a purchase, has it shipped to them through the distributor and who only wanted the product because the ultimate end-user had requested the product be in their machine.
Each layer in the buying process requires a thorough understanding of that audience--what motivates them and how they need to be communicated to. It is way more complicated than hitting “purchase” on Amazon.
7. B2B products and services are sophisticated
B2B products and services are sophisticated—they solve advanced challenges that power our everyday life. Marketers need to take these highly technical products and services and turn them into something compelling and easy to understand.
That’s hard to do that unless you have a thorough understanding of the technology or application. B2B agencies get all of this.
8. B2B buyers are harder to find
B2C marketers are selling to the masses. Products can be put in front of millions of potential buyers at one time. In B2B, there are fewer potential buyers. They don’t all live in the same zip codes or watch the same TV shows.
Admittedly, it has gotten easier to identify these buyers in recent years with some of the newer technologies. But your strategies to target these buyers have to be highly targeted.
You have to get creative with the tactics you use for reaching these buyers and it typically doesn’t include tactics like TV and radio.
9. B2B marketing requires building relationships
B2B marketing is not about transactions (see #1). It requires a long-term commitment. Having a conversation with your audience. Being patient. Following them online until they are a qualified lead ready to turn over to sales.
This is very different from the world of B2C. And so, you need an agency that understand this and knows how to provide results in this environment.
10. B2B marketing is actually harder
Did I say that? Okay, maybe I can’t say that B2B marketing is harder than B2C. But it’s definitely different.
You need an agency that understands your products, your technologies, your industries, your markets, your customers, your distribution channels. And can take all of that complexity and turn it into something that will drive results for your company.
As a B2B marketer, using a B2C agency would be the equivalent of letting a plumber do electrical work. B2B just isn’t their thing.
If you market to industrial, manufacturing or commercial organizations, you need a B2B agency that is passionate about the industries you serve. That can talk like an engineer. That can break down your manufacturing process into something that is easy for anyone to understand.
That’s not for every agency. But it’s definitely for us.
You can get a list of the top B2B agencies nationwide in the B2B U.S. Agencies Benchmarking Report by B2B Marketing, the number one go-to resource for marketers in B2B across the globe.
Of course, we’d love to talk too.