Being a B2B inbound brand is not only about the tactics – blogging, creating content, attracting influencers, using a particular CMS – it’s about aligning your business objectives with a well thought out inbound marketing strategy from first to last touch. A B2B inbound brand delivers value by consistently engaging prospects in a non-intrusive way, and by creating synergy between your sales and marketing teams. Here are five core principles to consider when making the transition to an inbound model.
Online, Your Brand is Your Product
Unless you have level 10 precognitive powers, you don’t know the precise future of your product. No matter the product, it has to change over time to remain relevant to the customer. Nobody knows this better than a software developer or a restaurant owner.
The world changes at warp speed these days. You shouldn’t tie your brand identity to a single widget, since that widget will inevitably become obsolete over time. Really, your brand is what you’re selling. The brand is what will tell everyone who you are, what you’re about, and what you have to offer. For example: GE isn’t just about light bulbs. It’s made up of a multitude of companies and products; and the overarching GE brand tells you what you can expect from each product/property.
How Can You Help?
Sell the benefits of your brand; don’t bore people with expansive lists of product features. In general, people don’t care how you do what you do. Save the how-it-works stuff for the Science Channel. If you can tell prospects how you will actually help them solve a problem, you can quickly move them past initial decision-making hurdles and into your sales funnel.
Don’t try to duplicate the public personas of other successful brands in the hopes it will elevate yours. Copycatting is not a tactic; it’s a failure of imagination. Burn the bandwagons, don’t jump on them.
If Your Brand is Built for Everyone, It’s Not For Anyone
"(Most brands) want to be all things to all people. They want their brand to be a male brand and a female brand. An upper-crust brand and a plebeian brand. And in their greed they almost always end up with a brand which has no personality of any kind - a wishy washy neuter brand" - David Ogilvy The unpublished David Ogilvy.
Your brand must be targeted, tailored, and tightly specialized. Find your niche and focus on it. That is how you build an authoritative online presence that attracts clients, and commands respect within your industry.
A successful inbound brand uses a wide range of analytical tools to make critical marketing decisions, and doesn’t make choices based on “gut feelings.” Every action you take online should be based on statistically relevant, well organized sets of data from as many sources as possible.