Using A Consumer-Centric Approach To B2B Marketing

You hear it every day. Businesses claiming to be “customer-focused” or “consumer-centric”. But does it really ever happen? Are businesses truly listening to their customers and delivering upon their needs?  

The first thing businesses who want to achieve this have to ask themselves is, do they even understand what their customer needs? Sometimes consumers don’t even know themselves, but their digital browsing, engaging, and purchasing tendencies may be where the story begins. And in the case of B2B marketing, it’s essential that you understand a potential customer’s entire business model, not just their final product. 

Think about a commercial contractor who is building out hundreds of apartments in a high-rise building complex. And you, in this scenario, are selling carpeting. That contractor is not going to buy your carpeting simply because it’s softer, or because of the color. Those might be some of the reasons why they choose the eventual carpet they buy. But customers and businesses alike buy carpeting because, and this may seem obvious… They have rooms to carpet. So while targeting them with ads about your carpet’s price or plushness is sound strategy for anyone who visited your site, what about the contractor who just bought a warehouse full of paint? Or a palette of base moulding. You know what they probably are going to also need? (I hope, as a carpet salesperson, you know it’s “carpeting!”, at this point?) – Being “there”, with them, at those purchase points may enable you to know they need the carpeting just before they actually do. 

Moving along this customer journey with them now, it’s essential that when you let this consumer realize they need to carpet those rooms that they are painting, you don’t blow your first chance with them. An example of a top/mid funnel messaging approach might look something like:

  1. Hey, WE have carpeting! 
  2. We know that price is important to you, so here’s a very well priced product for you to consider. 
  3. Perhaps you’re looking for something in a different variety, to match some commercial home improvements you’re making? Oh, we have that too, right here. 

This is the part where a B2B marketer can truly become consumer-centric. Instead of continuing to communicate about the proof points of your product or service, let the consumer (the other “B” in this case) know that you understand their needs and can help. Perhaps, offering them a chance to tell you what their budget is, and understanding that buying in bulk is important to them, is a route to take? Maybe giving them a dynamic way to calculate their potential savings achieved by buying in larger quantities would be just one example of being consumer-centric inside of your B2B marketing strategy. 

Being able to achieve a true consumer-centric approach in a B2B world is based on:

  • Knowing your customers. Knowing their business inside and out. Knowing their tangential products. And knowing their spending patterns year over year.
  • Knowing what they are looking for, before they know, with the use and analysis of intent data that is updated in absolute, up-to-the minute, real-time. 
  • Communicating to them at the right time, wherever they are, on whatever devices they are on. 

Having a consumer-centric approach to B2B marketing IS possible. But having the right data, paired with the right tools to make it actionable, is essential to achieve that personal relationship that so many B2C brands have with their most loyal customers.