For a B2B tech company, your positioning in the market, and the messaging you use to communicate with customers, are absolutely critical to your success. But when there’s so much competition from so many similar products and services today, it’s difficult to stand out from the crowd.
So, how can you ensure your messaging is unique and impactful enough to grab the attention of your customers?
In this episode, Margie Agin explains how to find the right positioning and messaging to improve your engagement with your target audience, boost your marketing performance, and drive increased sales.
Who they are: Margie Agin, Founder and Chief Strategist for Centerboard Marketing.
A bit of background: Margie helps B2B technology companies who have complex buying processes and complex solutions communicate more effectively with their customers. She operates at the exciting intersection between product marketing, content marketing, and demand generation.
Where you can find her:
Here you’ll find some of the best advice from the podcast that you can easily digest and learn from.
These days, the buying cycle in the B2B tech sector is long-winded, complex, and difficult to define. In the current digital business landscape, there’s now such a wide variety of potential touch-points with customers online at different stages of their journey, and many different decision makers involved.
Finding the right messaging that helps you to differentiate yourself from competitors and really engage with your target audience is a challenge all marketers struggle with.
To help solve that challenge, Margie said, “Today’s B2B tech markets are really crowded with overlapping solutions. In cyber security, for example, there’s so many types of different products and services that all sound the same, look the same, and overlap with each other. It’s hard for buyers to discern what the differences are, and vendors aren’t making it any easier because they start to use the same messaging and the same buzz words.”
“So, I think it’s important for marketers to be brave enough to break away from that, the sameness, so you don’t sound like everybody else. Find out what’s really unique about your company or your product and then express it in a unique way.”
Another important step to take towards more effective messaging is getting to know your target audience better as a marketer.
Margie explained, “Marketing teams are often removed from the customer, and sometimes the customer isn’t even the actual user, so they may be even more removed from the user. It’s very hard to understand and empathise with them when you don’t get a chance to get to know them. It’s key for marketers not to use that distance from their customers as an excuse. You need to find a way to get closer to that customer.”
“When you can do that, you can speak with a lot more confidence and authority because the recommendations that you’ll have for messaging, or where you should place a campaign, or how you should position your product, are actually reflecting what a customer told you, rather than just your opinion or your idea.”
“Do some market research and find ways to listen, either through focus groups or interviews. And you don’t need 500 interviews, you might only need 10, but talking to the audience and reflecting their language back to them will help your performance improve.”
“Ask questions to understand how they think, their motivations, their challenges, the alternative solutions they’re considering, and so on. That’s where I recommend starting. It doesn’t need to be extensive surveys, but it needs to be enough so you can empathise and stand in their shoes.”
After you’ve researched your market and built a better understanding of your target audience, the next step is to implement some of those learnings in your marketing.
To put this into practice, Margie said, “Think about things like the alternative solutions or services that potential buyers are considering, and where they consider you in the overall landscape. That perspective may be different from how you saw yourself. Understanding that should help you with your general positioning, messaging, and also provide you with different types of questions your customers have in their mind when evaluating solution providers.”
“So, if you know your buyer is concerned about challenges like migrating away from an old tool to a new one, you know that’s a concern you need to address, maybe up-front with content pieces like guides that sit on your website. Or maybe you’ll find that’s an aspect of your service you need to make clearer through the sales process.”
“Listening to the questions and challenges your prospects have should help you determine the type of content you’re going to create. They may also tell you, for example, what other content they read, where they hang out, what Slack groups, or events, or influencers they’re interacting with.”
“That will help you decide where you’re going to start placing your content, when to start doing some advertising, or to start engaging with some influencers. It may reveal some things that you didn’t know about but that are very important to your customers.”
More creative aspects of marketing, like positioning and messaging, can be difficult to measure. Of course, in today’s data-driven business world, it’s important to be able to track your performance and demonstrate success through tangible results.
When determining how effective your messaging is, Margie suggested looking both internally and externally.
Margie said, “There’s so many different parts to this puzzle. You’ve got product marketing, content marketing, demand gen, and then you have sales as well. You’ve got a lot of different parties in the organisation that are potentially making up their own messaging, or guessing the messaging, or trying to reinvent the wheel by creating their own presentations or their own campaigns.”
“But part of the benefit and the metric for these types of exercises is to create alignment, and drive internal efficiency and productivity. So, you should be able to tell that because the sales team is better equipped and enabled to tell a story, they’re able to bring in deals faster because they understand the messaging.”
“On the marketing side, the hand-off between the product marketing team creating messaging and the content team creating content is much smoother and faster, because everyone understands the message and they’re speaking the same language.”
“So, there definitely are some internal productivity gains and metrics you can measure. The benefits of that are really being more consistent in what you’re all saying across departments, and getting the content and the campaigns out to the market faster.”
Margie added, “The other half of that is external metrics, like customer engagement. Is your content getting the engagement or the conversions you’re aiming for with the right people?”
“Whether that’s the click-throughs, or the percentage of the blog articles that are read, or forms that are completed. Whatever you’re using to measure success of all your various types of content, that should be used to determine how successful your messaging is.”
Do you need more help improving your messaging and connecting with more customers? Check out our podcast episode exploring the science behind storytelling and its role in modern B2B marketing.
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