Our careers don’t often follow a consistent path. While we may still be marketing, what we market and who we market to will change. Having worked at 4 different companies to date, including a company that changed their target market 3 times over a period of just one year, I have learned how to adapt. One of the biggest challenges I have found is the transition from B2C to B2B.
As a B2C marketer, you are tasked with connecting your brand with consumers. While we tend to place B2C in a bucket all on its own, I find very little different in the actual connection piece. I do, however, see many differences in how you connect with the audience.
Take social media channels for example.
As a B2C marketer, Facebook seems to make more sense. People tend to become fans of brands they use in their everyday lives. As an example, you may use Salesforce as your CRM tool in your office and frequent Starbucks. Are you as likely to become a fan of both brands on Facebook or one over the other? Why?
On the flip side, LinkedIn has proven to be the ‘professional’ social network. I myself have generated hundreds of leads as a result of my participation in groups as a B2B marketer. But if I am Starbucks, how would I connect with users in this setting?
See the difference?
Now let’s consider content. With a B2C audience, I find the most effective methods of using content are to be helpful to the consumer. This is not unlike satisfying a B2B audience with the exception of what the content does to help the consumer.
A marketer at Starbuck’s may use content to share great recipes for snacks that go great with their beverages or share the secret on how to brew the perfect pot at home. Whereas a marketer for Salesforce may educate their audience on the proper uses of CRM tools and how to better align sales with marketing.
Both can serve their audience with great content. But the way we go about thinking about what that content actually is are different.
Like every transition I have endured, education has always proven to be the most helpful. How do I go about it?
1. I talk to my ‘new’ audience
You will never know the answer unless you ask. Reach out to people that fit your audience persona. What social networks do they participate in? Where can you expect them to interact with a brand like yours? Are they connecting and engaging with competitor brands? Who do they read? What keeps them up at night? How can you help? The answers to these questions should set you in the right direction.
2. I become my ‘new’ audience
So after you have talked to your new audience, you need to embrace them fully. Subscribe to the publications they read. Start participating in the
networks they participate in. Truly immerse yourself in their world and start to see how your brand fits in. What do you look like to them?
3. I reach out to people who already know the space
I’ve said it a bunch of times but I love my network! So when I join a new company or the company I am currently with changes direction, I will often look at who I am connected with and reach out for advice. How do they do what they do so well? Try to give them an idea of where your head is headed and see if they agree. I find that people are very open to helping if you do a bit of work yourself rather than just asking for all the answers.
4. I research the competitors
No brainer. What are your competitors doing? Are they producing content? Are they hosting webinars? What does their website look like? How are they talking to prospects and customers? Get a very good sense of the competitive landscape. This always seems to spark ideas for me especially when it comes to what they are not doing. I mean, that could be your differentiator in the space – right?
From the types of content (both in form and in structure) to the social networks you participate in to whether you advertise on a billboard or via
Adwords, the transition is not always as easy as it looks but you can do it. Dive in and spend time learning as much as you can. Then make educated decisions that are very high level and work your way down from there to refine your strategy.
Have you made the transition from B2C to B2B or from one target to another? Any tips?