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B2B Marketing, Guides and advice, Sector knowledge

Digital commerce B2B marketing – are you doing everything you can to cut through the noise?

If you’re working in B2B marketing in the digital commerce technology sector you’ll know what an incredibly complex landscape it has become! As online buying both by consumers and businesses has evolved, the range of technologies available to help businesses selling or purchasing online or digitally has grown hugely. Today, your key audiences are being bombarded with marketing content covering everything from CX and payment platforms, to integrated product data management and AI.

That leaves you with a challenge. How do you stand out from the crowd and ensure your brand speaks volumes to the right people and the right time? That’s the only way you are going to build awareness and convert your efforts into pipeline and revenue.

Are you doing these five things?

We’ve used our experience of working with clients in the digital commerce sector to build this list of essential activities that should underpin your approach to communications. From our work across eCommerce, Source to Pay, Digital Tax, ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) and more, we’ve seen what works and what doesn’t to stand out and create cut through in the market. We hope you find this a useful checklist to assess your own plans and make essential tweaks if needed!

1. Remember you’re selling tech to non-techies

Although digital commerce is founded on complex technology, the buyers of these technologies are often non-technical stakeholders. Communicating the benefits of the technology in a relevant and jargon-free way is essential.

*To do* Develop clear, concise and compelling messaging:

  • Use plain language to explain technical concepts
  • Really consider what your brand story is – do you have one and does it resonate?
  • Create visual aids such as infographics or videos to simplify complex processes
  • Provide real-world use cases to illustrate how technical solutions solve business problems
  • Consider whether your proposition is tech or business focused, and what it should be

2. The importance of trust and credibility

In B2B digital commerce, your technology is having a direct and visible impact on your customers’ customer journey. Digital commerce businesses want to invest in technology partners for the long term, so they need to know you’re solid as a business, too. Because of this, building trust is a crucial element of your communications success. However, building credibility can be a hurdle in such a crowded market, especially for newer or emerging brands.

*To do* Establish thought leadership and case studies

  • Publish well-researched whitepapers, industry reports, and blog posts on relevant topics
  • Collaborate with industry influencers to co-create content or provide guest posts
  • Showcase success stories through case studies that highlight your solution’s benefits
  • Get your experts speaking at industry events and on relevant podcasts and webinars
  • Generate in-depth articles in the relevant media authored by your experts

3. Taking the full B2B customer journey into consideration

B2B sales cycles can be prolonged due to the complexity of decision-making which involves multiple stakeholders and big budgets. Maintaining consistent communication throughout these timescales is essential. We all know the adage that it takes seven brand interactions to make someone buy, and that’s just the start of it. Think how you’re going to maintain positive awareness from A to Z.

*To do* Implement nurture campaigns

  • Use personalised content campaigns supporting distinct stages of the buyer’s journey
  • Adopt marketing automation to segment leads and create focused nurture paths
  • Offer webinars, workshops, and virtual events to add value and stay engaged with prospects
  • Build a repository of tagged and reusable content to hyper-personalise the prospect journey
  • Consider direct brand targeting on social media to get noticed by senior stakeholders

4. Adapting to rapid change

The digital commerce landscape is evolving quickly. What used to be simply a matter of an eCommerce platform linked to ERP and PIM (Product Information Management) systems has rapidly become a teetering stack different tools and technologies to address everything from subscriptions to sales tax. The are also social trends and buyer behaviour to consider, alongside geopolitical and supply chain impacts and, of course, good old compliance.

While this might seem like a veritable minefield of complexity, the landscape is full of opportunity. The marketer that is willing to build what’s new and what’s around the corner into their plans will always have the edge over their competitors as new technologies and trends emerge regularly. Staying current and effectively communicating these changes to clients can be a challenge.

*To do* Embrace agile communication

  • Create a culture of building trends, innovations, and emerging technologies into comms
  • Quickly adapt your communication strategies to reflect these changes and their impact
  • Be willing to talk beyond what you do – exploring what’s possible tomorrow
  • Invest in reactive PR – getting comment out to the market quickly on emerging trends
  • Organise debates to discuss and envisage how the future is likely to evolve

5. A clear voice in a crowded market

As we’ve already discussed, the digital commerce B2B marketing sector is a competitive place for tech providers and their marketers. It’s crucial to stand out from the crowd to attract potential clients. Saying something alone isn’t enough. You need to work on what exactly it is that you’re saying, who you’re saying it to and, most importantly, what channels you are using to say it! You want and need your audiences to hear the same thing from your brand wherever they look or read. This will accelerate their understanding of your brand as “the XXXXX company” (in other words, making the brand synonymous with the right messages and values quickly.)

*To do* Integrated communications

  • Develop a single integrated comms strategy that ensures ‘one voice’ is heard, seen, and read
  • Take time to analyse the most effective channels which will reach your audience
  • Build integrated campaigns about customer pain points across all key comms channels
  • Be consistent in your outreach – invest in the things that you can afford to keep doing
  • Innovate by keeping your eyes open for new ways of reaching your potential customers

The digital commerce space is full of opportunities for B2B marketers to communicate effectively, but with more tech companies vying for audience attention it is important to build the right communication foundations. These five strategies, including thought leadership and integrated communications, will set you on the right path – good luck!

Struggling to measure success and prove ROI from your B2B PR and marketing campaigns?

Click here to see what you need to consider when setting up a campaign.

Photos by Thought Catalog on Unsplash and Paul Felberbauer on Unsplash

About this article

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4 minutes


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