Moving out of Your Comfort Zone: Embracing Marketing Plans and Tactics to Take Your B2B Organization to the Next Level

by Debra Andrews | April 4, 2012

What feels great to some firms may be “over the top” for others

Take a trip back to the late 1980s (yes, even if you were just a baby) to the classic scene from the movie When Harry Met Sally.  Sally Albright and Harry Burns were on the path to prove that men and women can “just be friends.”  Well, that is until Sally decided to rev their friendship up to the next level.  She was ready to venture into the unknown, take some risks and score a return.  Harry, who wasn’t ready to “Partake in the Pecan Pie,” was comfortable to stick to the status quo and savor the benefits of a straight-forward and comfy relationship.

Sorry Harry – In the B2B marketing world of today, company management need to have their eyes wide open, embrace change and push their comfort zones to the limit.  As B2B marketers, is it our job to ensure annual marketing plans always make our colleagues feel at least slightly uneasy!  And this year, the Marketri team has plenty of innovative ideas on tap to do just that.  Here are a few of the tactics that we are including in many of our recent B2B marketing plans:

Video Marketing

LIGHTS- CAMERA –ACTION.  Those three words scare the daylights out of many professionals.  Why do we love videos and push our clients to embrace the tactic?  Simply put, they are highly effective.  People buy from people that they know, like and trust.  What better way to nurture leads at the top of the funnel than to have the prospect “meet” you and get a feel for your expertise? Oh, and one additional “small” incentive for using videos in your marketing mix – YouTube is the second most popular search engine behind Google.

Social Media

While the B2C world jumped right on the social media bandwagon, B2B companies have stood back patiently, carefully observing, and  cautiously calculating what move, if any, they will make.  It’s 2012 and one thing is for sure, social media is here to stay.  The key for B2B enterprises is finding the right social media tools and using them in the most effective way.  Social media can be a huge time suck.  Marketri’s clients know it and are generally scared to commit to taking a step forward.  B2B marketers can give a gentle nudge by giving an overview of the various social media platforms and presenting a business case as to why using a particular tool makes sense.  We love LinkedIn for B2B enterprises and are also big fans of content sharing tools such as SlideShare.

Multimedia Presentations

Bullet point PowerPoint presentations are the devil.  Yes, they are that bad!  With all of the free presentation tools available today that can incorporate videos, flash, voice-over, and zooming capabilities, why would any B2B enterprise trying to share their knowledge and expertise choose bullet-points?  Taking a football analogy, think of giving your speech like being in the Red Zone.  You can “wow” your audience with a bold, visually appealing multi-media presentation and score the touch down or get sacked on 4th and goal.

While there are some tactics that we recommend more than others, there is never a one size fits all when it comes to marketing planning.  Many of the B2B industries that we work in tend to be very traditional in nature and there are clear differences in the risk tolerances of our clients.  For example, CPAs and engineers are camera shy; feel somewhat awkward on social networks; and occasionally get writer’s block when it’s their turn to blog.  All of these tactics, however, are highly effective in educating, engaging and earning the trust of potential B2B customers.  We find that training; education; cheerleading; and effective nudging goes a long way towards getting B2B companies to “dare to be different.”