The fundamentals of B2B marketing aren’t that different from B2C marketing or marketing in general.
At the end of the day, you’re selling to a person.
Over the course of my career, I’ve built and run marketing campaigns for individuals (including celebrities like Taylor Swift and Rihanna), businesses (such as MTV, Yahoo!, and Mindvalley), and everything in between. And what I have learned is that marketing—whether you’re selling a product or a service—is all about engaging people, tapping into their inherent wants and needs, and educating them on why you’re different.
So, how does this apply in a B2B context?
Well, within every single organization are people responsible for making certain types of decisions. The CFO or Head of HR will be the one who chooses the company’s payroll software. The CMO or Head of Marketing will be the one who decides which advertising agency the company should hire. The PR Director will be the one who responds to press pitches. And so on.
The most powerful B2B marketing techniques for business growth, lead generation, and even wider opportunities like brand partnerships are the ones that speak directly to that internal decision-maker.
The way you execute this is by speaking directly to their pain points, and educating them on how they can take effective action to solve those pressing problems in their daily lives.
1. Create a Hook Point that engages the decision-maker you’re targeting at the precise moment where they are experiencing their strongest pain point.
If you’re unfamiliar with what a Hook Point is, or have never heard of the term, I have a free video training for B2B marketers and business owners about how to create a Hook Point that engages customers.
In short, a Hook Point is that clearly defined “hook” that immediately makes sense to the person you’re looking to engage. A Hook Point could be a jaw-dropping statistic, it could be an unconventional success story, or it could be a unique solution to a common problem. There are dozens of different Hook Points you can create. What’s important is that you are specific about why you’re choosing the Hook Point you are, so that you can more accurately and effectively connect with the decision-maker you’re looking to reach.
The problem I see most businesses make here is they aren’t specific about what their Hook Point is, or why they’re choosing it.
Instead, they reach out to businesses with vague understandings of their pain points and problems—much of which just sounds like white noise to the person they’re trying to get in contact with.
2. Build a campaign around the Hook Point that is clearly working.
After testing a handful of Hook Points, you’ll want to double-down on the ones you see working best.
As soon as you discover what, specifically, your target audience is resonating with, you know which direction to take your campaign. If they are really gravitating to a certain statistic, or if they are engaging with a particular type of story, that means you now have data telling you where your time, energy, and marketing budget is going to be best spent.
Now, if you aren’t quite sure exactly what it is that’s working, just remember: it takes time to figure out how to “hook” the attention of your target audience. This is the second big mistake I see businesses make when rolling out B2B marketing campaigns: they make decisions as to what sort of campaigns they want to run before doing any real testing. As a result, they end up putting money behind ideas rather than validating which of those ideas decision-makers are clearly resonating with.
3. As you begin to gather leads, build nurture campaigns with mini Hook Points all throughout.
Having a strong Hook Point is the starting place of all successful marketing campaigns.
But your work isn’t over.
Hook Points should be clearly defined all throughout your campaign, messaging, and marketing sequences. For example:
- When a lead responds, what’s the next Hook Point they receive to move them further down the value chain?
- Depending on how your target audience responds, how can you further educate and interest them to take action?
- When they do decide to take action, how can you use another Hook Point to engage them again?
And so on.
The idea here is to continuously look for ways to pique people’s curiosity and tell them interesting stories, reveal unlikely findings, share stand-out statistics, and keep the conversation moving forward.
So, if you’ve never created a Hook Point before, it might help to go through the exercise together so that you can see how it works. If you’d like some help getting started, check out the Hook Point training I’ve put together over here.