Opportunities in threats: how B2B businesses can thrive in 2022
Creativity that lasts is hard to come by, and following the pandemic creatives continue to be confronted with all sorts of obstacles that naturally threaten the stability of creative conditions. Thankfully Julio Taylor, chief executive officer at Hallam, provides five hot tips for cultivating creativity.
Hallam provide five takeways for cultivating everlasting creativity / Charles Deluvio via Unsplash
As we come out of the worst of the pandemic, the reality of 2022 brings with it new challenges – the geopolitical instability created by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the rises in the cost of living and fuel prices against a backdrop of growing inflation, and the reality of post-Brexit issues are all colliding at once. And it’s maybe best not to speak about current British politics...
The public consciousness now juggles an ambitious domestic leveling-up agenda with urgent geopolitical and global human rights priorities. With all this as a background, it’s perhaps an understatement to say the macro environment is bringing many varying threats to businesses. What can B2B businesses be doing to find the opportunities?
1) Buyer power isn’t just measured in dollars and cents
We know that younger buyers hold the bulk of the spending power in today’s economy – both directly and indirectly. So what does that really mean?
Compared to the past when a single senior decision-maker would be largely responsible for making decisions about purchases, today the typical buying group for a B2B product or service involves six to 10 decision-makers, each armed with four or five pieces of information they’ve gathered independently and must deconflict within a group.
At the same time, the set of options and solutions buying groups can consider is expanding as new technologies, products, suppliers and services emerge – and with the rapid growth of online advertising, the amount of options and information available to B2B buyers is larger than ever before.
What this means:
Your value proposition needs to be 100% clear on exactly what it offers and why it’s valuable. You need to prioritize every opportunity to remove doubt and confusion, and bring clarity
It’s more important than ever to create brand recognition and generate desire based on who you are, not just what you sell
Your marketing needs to give users a reason to love your product or service. Being found is only the first step, so focus on experience and brand to cut through the noise
2) Buyers of today want to do business on their terms, not yours – and sometimes that means fast
With the instant and wide access to information and options, buyers hold the power when it comes to deciding how to do business.
According to a recent survey by Forbes, 44% of buyers are frustrated they can’t get quick answers to simple questions and access to business information when they need it. Alongside this, 54% of buyers blame a lack of clear and transparent pricing as a top three pain point in their journey.
Just in the last six months, we’ve seen a 40% increase in chatbot use alongside growth in the use of live chat.
When we consider the way buying journeys are evolving into larger groups of decision-makers convening (armed with information), fast access to data and pricing information is a key friction point that needs to be removed as fast as possible, especially for SaaS brands.
What this means:
It’s important to provide users with as much upfront information about your product and services as possible
It’s equally important to provide fast answers to questions – chatbots and live chat are great ways to solve that problem
Because of their need for fast, ample information, the volume and transparency of data could sometimes be more important than that value or price in itself
3) Embrace persuasion to increase mental availability
It’s not enough to just explain the functional benefits of your product or service.
The fight for share of wallet has moved from an annual beauty parade of brands to an always-on-consideration – where brands need to compete to stay top of mind on a constant basis, rather than becoming relevant when users are renewing or searching for new products.
Likewise, procurement decisions have added a dialed-up layer of emotion because service is now front and center. And if there’s one thing that can positively impact our emotions, it’s impactful, creative brand execution.
Growing competition, larger buying groups and the always-on nature of modern marketing mean that it’s more important than ever to cut through the noise.
What separates you is the narrative you build around your brand and your ability to demonstrate that the features you offer are meaningful and useful to a user – in a simple, memorable way that can cut through the noise of the competition.
4) Increasing share of voice = increasing share of market
The more people who have heard of you, the more your share of the market will grow.
One of the scientific laws of marketing is that growth is driven primarily by acquiring new and light buyers. As a marketer, your constant focus needs to be on reaching a wider audience, and constantly increasing your share of voice.
If a brand achieves excess share of voice (if its share of voice [SOV] exceeds its share of market [SOM]) then the excess will result in market share growth gradually over time, if it’s maintained.
In other words, brands that have a higher share of voice than their equivalent share of the market will grow, while those that have lower SOV than their SOM tend to shrink.
5) To keep growing, you need to cut through the noise in a meaningful and memorable way
The average person spends 80% of their waking hours consuming information online.
Each day, we are overloaded with advertising across almost every available medium. No communication ever exists in isolation, and you are constantly competing for the attention of potential customers being targeted by competing brands across many of the same platforms.
Creativity is critical to gaining attention. Memorable creative that strikes a chord with your target customer is essential to ensure your ads stand out in a hugely saturated media landscape.
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