Direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands can conjure up images of sleek and sexy products, inspirational content creators, and visually stunning social media campaigns – a far cry from the world of business to business (B2B). But the highly successful marketing and advertising strategies of the Warby Parkers and Dollar Shave Clubs of the world is one that is worth imitating.
This is because B2B buyers use the same tools as consumers to discover, research and buy products. Equally, the business buying process involves multiple parties that have their own interests and needs, so messages need to be highly targeted and relevant to each of them, which is what DTC brands excel at doing.
So, what can B2B marketers learn from DTC brands?
Content is king
Cognitive dissonance theory explains that people tend to levitate towards information or individuals that support their current beliefs or opinions. D2C brands employ dissonance reduction strategies effectively both through their own content and user-generated content like ‘unboxing’ videos and blog reviews.
B2B companies can also tap on this trend to create content that revolves around their business and products or services. Research papers, infographics, and thought-leadership articles are not only great in delivering interesting and valuable information to customers but because they’re gated, prospects need to fill out forms, which when used smartly can be great for lead generation and customer retention.
Immediate feedback loops and its place in product development
Launching a B2B product or service typically goes through a similar process. The product is researched, developed and then launched. Only after the product is launched will the business receive feedback from its customers and clients. It is, in general, only after this whole process that new products or revamps to current products are put together.
In contrast, D2C product launches are thrown into an immediate feedback loop. Consumers are eager to provide feedback and brands are quick to act on it, enabling them to make on-going iterations to products to suit needs and preferences.
While it may not be feasible for B2B companies to be so deeply involved with customers in the R&D phase, it’s possible to be agile in implementing feedback and stay relevant to customers’ needs. What’s more, this will strengthen relationships with businesses, which can be a great starting point for future innovations.
Keep up with your customers
If the content is king, then customer experience is the emperor. Today, consumers are flitting across multiple devices and platforms such as desktop, mobile, apps, and social media.
This means that customers can conduct their purchase journey wherever they please and expect seamless transitions between them.
B2B is multitouch and omnichannel, too. So, make you create great customer experiences by engaging your clients on a continued basis through multiple avenues.
Influencers are not just on Instagram
We’ve all seen promotional posts from famous influencers on Instagram with millions of followers. While these posts can be highly effective for consumer products and services, it may not be particularly useful in the strictly B2B scenario.
B2B brands can take the same concept of influencers, without hiring a Kardashian, and use it to build a reputation and drive business results. Influencers, both internal and external, can be used to achieve this. Top executives can step up and create opinion pieces for media publications, LinkedIn or even your company website.
B2B brands may write off D2C strategies as strictly consumer-focused, however, many of the strategies uutilized can have a successful application in a B2B sphere. When leveraged correctly, they also have the ability to push the business forward with the strong focus on building brand strength through engagement, content and customer experience.