B2B businesses have always taken long time to change or re – work on their marketing strategies. Since earlier in 1970s and 80s they enjoyed monopoly business. Which emphasized any Indian company considering to import from international sellers had to obtain NOC from Indian B2B manufacturers of same line of products. This lead to the development of sloppy attitude and less focus on marketing. With change of policies for international B2B companies, these attitudes lead to either their closure or stagnant growth. The ones, who changed, stayed in business and experienced growth.
Now with progress in technology, B2B manufacturers are on the receiving end, as they are yet to embrace the new technologies like digital marketing, CRM (Customer Resource Management), ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), etc. Though most B2B manufacturers are working on embracing technology and digital marketing, but fear of negative impact have made them conservatives.
The below points are my observations on some major marketing strategy mistakes which B2B business; especially manufacturers have been committing over the period.
- Company doesn’t have a website: Most common problem with Indian B2B businesses, they don’t own a website of their organization, zero online presence. Most buyers are searching online; not having a website is as good as not running the business.
- Have a website but only you visit it: Most B2B business design a website just for the sake of it, without having any vision or marketing plan. The websites are designed in old format of tables, without any conformity to W3C guidelines of Google, no meta tags in the website, etc. This is as good as not having website as it is difficult for search engines to crawl or rank it on search engine.
- Website focuses on products only: It is important that B2B organizations focus on offering solutions, rather than products, as buyers are looking for solutions. This would increase engagement with buyer for better influence.
- Solely depend on word of mouth/referrals for leads: With buyers increasingly dependent on search engine and engagement oriented communication, the dependence on word – of – mouth is less, though it is helpful for initial meeting, but cannot wholly depend as lead generation activity.
- Mass Emailing campaign: Email campaign has long been changed, from mass emailer to database brought from different sources; it is now permission oriented email. This concept of mass email often leads to blacklisting of servers by firewall. On the other hand, this also results email reaching in SPAM folders instead of inbox of the customer. B2B organizations need to build strategy for building mailer list, of customer who wants to receive information.
- Digital Marketing: If at all, B2B organizations ever venture in digital marketing, the focus is to have paid profile on Indiamart or TradeIndia and focus on SEO of the website for lead generation. Social Media is the last thing they ever plan to venture and that too is just focus on getting the likes and followers. All the strategies are only focused on lead generation, instead of engagement. But the ground rule is – engagement has to be top priority, while lead generation is outcome of engagement.
B2B Organizations need to venture in new marketing strategies for better engagement with informed buyers.