The Rise of Empathetic Brands in the B2B Industry - An eBook Recap
Did you know that when the pandemic first struck in 2020, 94% of B2B content marketers changed their marketing strategy?
Even now, two years after the first lockdown, content marketing has seen a new light and the way B2B marketers market their brand has completely changed.
“One of the biggest impacts, which was reflected in our conversations with CMOs, was the
increased empathy and personalisation in brand messaging.
B2B technology companies had previously had a bad habit of being “tone deaf” to their audiences and forgetting that they were speaking to humans rather than companies.”
The Technology CMO Outlook Report dives into marketing trends that have changed during the course of the pandemic. CMO’s from tech companies such as IFS, ServiceNow, ContentCal, and Adobe discuss the changes in marketing that are still applicable today.
They showcased the importance of empathy and how it plays such a huge role in modern-day marketing. So, we decided to take a deeper look into it and how you can showcase empathy in your B2B content marketing strategy.
Importance of Empathy
In the past, B2B marketers heavily focused on selling to businesses instead of the person sitting behind the screen. However, with the pandemic changing the way many conduct business, there has been a clear change in brands’ marketing messages and the way they communicate with their audience.
“With companies cutting back, factories closing and employees across many industries getting
furloughed, we had to be mindful of our marketing messages and lead with empathy.
We wanted to let our customers know that we were there to support them, and much of our messaging was around ‘we’re here to help’ and ‘what can we do for you, ASAP?’”
A noticeable trend has been that consumers no longer want to be ‘sold to’; instead, they want to build a relationship and trust a brand before committing to them. By creating this relationship, a brand can show them that they are the right fit and they can cater to their needs.
In the B2B industry, the average B2B buying cycle is 6 to 12 months. This is considerably longer than a B2C sale because B2B buyers are often less impulsive, and more than one decision-maker is involved.
During this time, it is up to marketers to build a relationship with the potential leads and showcase to them why their brand is worth the investment. This is where empathy plays a significant role.
Marketers must dive into their customers’ pain points, needs and wants and then cater for these factors. By understanding their customer and being proactive, they can speed up the B2B buying cycle and push their customers through the sales funnel faster.
How to Show Empathy in Marketing?
There are numerous ways you can show empathy through your marketing efforts.
#1 Understanding Your Customer
To understand your customer, you must do more than put yourself in their shoes. When it comes to content marketing, you must dig deep into your customer avatar and buyer persona.
You need to see who they are, what they like or dislike, their spending habits, what’s keeping them up at night and most importantly, how you can help solve their current and future problems.
By conducting thorough research and identifying your customer, you can then personalise your marketing efforts towards them. This shows your customer that you are attentive to their needs, and you have the capability to handle any issues they throw your way.
Your lead wants the answers to their questions as opposed to more questions. Therefore, you must save them the hassle and show them what your brand represents and what you have to offer.
#2 Be Proactive
It’s important to pay attention to the changing environment and be flexible enough to adapt to it. It is also essential to listen to what your audience has to say – whether this is through customer feedback, the feedback received on social media or even on live events. It is vital you listen to it and then adapt your content marketing strategy accordingly.
For example, at Copy House we noticed that our clients struggled with content design and harmonising it with the content written by our copywriters. Therefore, Copy House implemented an in-house design team to work alongside our writers and take content from start to finish.
Incorporating design from the very beginning worked wonders for our clients and really helped take content one step further.
#3 Avoid Hard Sells
Although there is no harm in creating hard-sell content, it can get boring. There is no real relationship built by constantly posting about the brand and what it does. Instead, observe where a lead is in their buying journey and cater your content based on that.
If someone is looking for advice and information, provide thought leadership content. However, if they are ready to invest but need that extra push, use case studies to help showcase your brand’s talent.
At Copy House, we have a 80/20 split when it comes to posting hard-sell content online. This means that 20% of the content we post projects our services and encourages technology and FinTech marketers to book a consultation with our team. The other 80% consists of company culture posts, awards, thought leadership content, case studies and so on.
This 80% is what keeps our audience engaged even if they are not ready to buy just yet. By educating them and showing them what we do and who we are, we remain at the forefront of their mind when they are ready to take the next step.
#4 Remember, We’re All Human
Although this seems obvious, B2B marketers can forget that they are selling to a person and not a business. It is important to lead with empathy and create content that speaks directly to your customer avatar.
“If nothing else, during the pandemic, we have seen that we’re all humans, and therefore, our
messaging and targeting should remain as such: human to human.”
“On countless occasions, we’ve had tech brands approach us and enquire about our services due to an event of ours they attended or because they like our company culture and want to work with a driven team.
By leading with empathy, you open endless possibilities, and you’re able to truly connect with your audience. So when the time comes, and they’re ready to invest, your brand is already at the forefront of their mind.”
Upcoming Digital Marketing Trends
As we move away from the pandemic and adapt to a new form of marketing, there have been numerous digital marketing trends that have taken place. Embedding empathy and encouraging personalisation into B2B content marketing strategies is just one of many.
In the Technology CMO Outlook Report, you can hear directly from the tech giants themselves, including the likes of IFS, ServiceNow, ContentCal, and Adobe, on how they transformed their content marketing efforts during the past year and how they plan to move forward.