Business to business marketing has its own nuances, however, you are still essentially marketing to consumers.
Your audience will, of course, have their own agenda shaped by business requirements, focused perhaps on price, quality, ethics, process or speed. So, as with any marketing, the key is understanding your brand ‘vision’, aligning your campaigns with clear sales objectives and ensuring that your team and business can deliver on these aspirations, monitoring, tweaking and measuring along the way — and there are some simple, quick wins to help your deliver on your B2B marketing aspirations.
GET CLOSE TO YOUR COMPETITORS
Keeping an eye on your competitors is an absolute marketing must. It can be all too easy to get consumed in the day to day, without lifting your head to survey the landscape. From regularly checking their websites to following them on social media, it’s just good sense to keep pace with what your competitors are doing and, perhaps more critically, the promotion your potential and actual customers are consuming. Can you learn anything? What do they do well? What do you do well? Make it a regular part of your routine, whether monthly or quarterly. Plan it in, grab the beverage of your choice, and get close to your competitors.
BUSINESS BRANDING MATTERS
In an increasingly aesthetics-focused world, where beauty can sometimes be prized over content, the quality and professionalism of your business branding is just as critical as it would be if you were selling direct to consumer. It takes less than three seconds for a person to appraise someone for the first time and to form an opinion. Imagine how quickly people can dismiss images and branding? A picture paints a thousand words. So, is your branding positioning your business as slick and professional, or is it telling a very different story? Ask your team or seek counsel from family and friends. If you can, ask your customers. Remember, you are not your audience. What you might like, your target customers may not.
TURN YOUR EMPLOYEES INTO ENVOYS
Think of your customer-facing team as business ambassadors and support them in developing their personal brands; especially if they are active social media users, happy to support company campaigns and initiatives online. This does not mean that they each need their own business Instagram account and access to an exotic Caribbean holiday retreat from which to post aspirational selfies and motivational quotes… though if you do have such a position available, please give me a shout!
It does mean that your team will appreciate that they represent your business, as well as themselves. Your people are critical in ensuring that your customer’s actual experience lives up to the marketing ‘hype’. If there is a disconnect, this can create real and lasting damage to both your brand and to your business.
HOW BIG IS YOUR DIGITAL FOOTPRINT?
If you don’t have a website, it might just be possible that you don’t exist!
Extreme, I know; it’s just that it’s absolutely expected that a serious, reputable business will have a professional digital interface for customers, even if it’s a simple, well-laid out template website like those provided by Wix, SquareSpace or WordPress. It’s your online shop window, and not having one sends a very clear message to prospective customers — and it’s not a good one.
Also, how social are you? Like it or not, social media is not going away. Social media is an excellent way to present your products or services to a wide audience. For a jewellery trade supplier business, the focus does not necessarily need to be on amassing thousands of followers but creating engaging content that reveals something about your story and services. The channels can be used to highlight techniques, processes, products, and new initiatives. And remember, if you do have social channels, tell your customers. Ensure prospects know your handles too.
TRADE ON THE MEDIA
Despite President Trump’s protestations of ‘fake news’, I can assure you that the jewellery trade media are your friends! It really does pay to engage with them, either direct or via a trade jewellery PR specialist. Each of the main publications provide forward features, often available on request; get hold of the lists and see if there are any stories that you can tell about your business. Also, make sure that you subscribe to Professional Jeweller’s free daily newsletter and be thorough. Note the types of stories that get covered. You might find that you have a similar tale to tell.
If you’re having an event or celebration, don’t forget to invite the media. Not only might they attend, if they do they will cover your event as a matter of course. And, you also get to develop a relationship with them, which in turn will improve your PR reach. If your name is on the tip of the editor’s tongue, when they are planning or creating features, you might just receive a proactive request for content for your favourite trade magazine.
You might also want to review your business and identify processes or skill sets that editors might be interested in covering as more of a feature or even an exclusive. The key is in being able to identify the stories in your business. If there’s a story, the trade media will be interested in hearing more.
GET CREATIVE WITH YOUR CONTENT
Jewellery trade suppliers are fantastic treasure troves of content. However, story-telling is still a developing trend in this sector. The everyday activities of a designer, caster or setter are genuinely interesting — to both your customers and the end consumer. And there are so many ways for you to provide these stories to your customers, from PR to social media and, if you produce a product, by providing support POS or sales literature for your customers to use to sell to theirs. Take a step back from your business and really think about the stories that you have to tell. I promise you, you’re much more interesting than you think you are!
Asha Pitt, CEO, Living Content
Asha is a creative content creator and PR consultant, with more than 20 years’ experience across diverse industries and sectors, supporting brands such as The London Taxi Company (now LEVC), Butlins, Land Securities, National Express, English Heritage and Marston’s Pub Company. Current jewellery trade clients include Weston Beamor, Domino, Birmingham Assay Office and Mona Pink. Asha is a passionate volunteer and is vice-chair of Warwick Students’ Union, a Girls’ Network mentor, enterprise nation adviser member and Women’s Jewellery Network Midlands ambassador. Find out more about Asha at www.livingcontent.co.uk, tweet her @livingcontents or join her tribe @livingcontent on Instagram.