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Marketing leaders in industries such as pharmaceuticals, healthcare, financial services, and manufacturing have multiple stakeholders to consider when developing an effective marketing strategy.
On the one hand, as a marketer, you need to influence business decision makers and convince them that your product or service is superior to your competitors, providing greater value. On the other hand, you must provide sufficient education to these decision makers so that they feel comfortable and competent enough to sell the offer to your other target audience: the consumer.
This relationship constitutes what marketers call a business-to-business-to-consumer (B2B2C) model. And this model can be daunting if you don’t have a recipe for success.
To build an effective B2B2C marketing plan:
- Build a line of communication between the company and its consumers.
- Identify where the biggest area of opportunity lies.
- Don’t be afraid to break the mold.
1. Build a line of communication between the company and its consumers
As you begin the process of building audience strategy, start with data-driven audience planning from both a B2B and B2C perspective. This means diving beyond demographics to understand motivations, values and media consumption habits to inform audience activation and channel execution.
Once you have a 360 degree understanding of these audiences, it is important to consider the relationship and communication channels. How can you use your marketing strategy to facilitate a conversation between the business and the business consumer?
Most often, the company knows at least the category of the product or service you are promoting. So, instead of educating about the category itself, promote brand recognition, unique value propositions, and benefits for its bottom line.
Alternatively, consumers have a more rudimentary understanding requiring not only tactics that drive brand awareness and recall, but also an overall knowledge of the category and how it meets their needs.
It is essential that the marketing of each respective customer journey takes place simultaneously, so that when the B2B2C conversation begins, both parties are empowered and informed.
2. Identify where the biggest area of opportunity lies
No brand I’ve worked with has come to me and said, “I have an unlimited budget.” Therefore, it is important to have a strategic, data-driven approach that guides where your marketing dollars are spent: you will need to carefully consider which audiences and tactics will generate the greatest opportunity and divide the budget accordingly.
A Forrester report (subscription or purchase required) on B2B2C Customer Journey Mapping suggests: “Even if you are looking to improve the end customer experience, start with processes that positively impact the experience or results of your partner can build momentum and help you work with them in the future.” In a B2B2C context, this means prioritizing efforts that impact the trading partner to ultimately benefit your end users.
Research and ask questions to gain a solid understanding of the complete customer journey for both partners and end customers. Is the company in control, with the end consumer relying on the advice of the consultant or seller? Or does the end consumer play an active role in bringing ideas to the seller/consultant? Does the end consumer have the ability to complete a purchase without help, or does the seller/consultant hold the keys that unlock the offer?
These are all critical questions when considering not only your audience strategy, but also your messaging strategy and resource allocation.
Additionally, you need to do your research to find out where these customers are spending time and where they pay the most attention. Use this research as a starting point for your media mix, but also consider it a learning opportunity to support or refute your assumptions about your customers.
By promoting experimentation in your marketing strategy, you will avoid the pitfalls of confirmation bias and gain a better understanding and efficiency of the process.
3. Don’t be afraid to break the mold
Your marketing team probably already has an established template for your brand’s B2B2C strategy. If it works…great! Don’t destroy what already accomplishes your business goals.
However, if you’re frustrated with the lack of results or need to change direction as your brand undergoes strategic shifts, don’t be intimidated into taking a risk and trying something new.
Maybe the traditional playbook isn’t the way to go anymore, and you need to look into a more creative approach instead. After all, insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.* So even if your colleagues think you’re crazy because you bring original ideas to the table, it’s better than staying in a perpetual cycle of frustration.
* * *
When building or revamping your B2B2C marketing strategy, consider it an exciting opportunity:
- You are about to leave for a first meeting with your target consumers and get to know them better.
- You find ways to be your team’s digital hero by identifying a strategy that creates even more opportunity for your business.
- And you challenge the status quo to understand what really works and accept what doesn’t.
*Albert Einstein is often credited with creating this aphorism, but the first recorded example of it is apparently in a 1981 newspaper article describing an Al-Anon meeting.
More marketing strategy resources
Marketing Strategy Tactics: A Marketing Guide
Forget B2B and B2C: it’s a B2P world now
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