“The best thing about doing this is that I got to have coffee with my Dad in the barn every morning until he passed. Now I have that cup of coffee with my son and will as long as he stays involved.”
This statement paints a clear and vibrant picture of a small business owner’s emotional drivers. It surfaced in a series of qualitative in-depth interviews and encapsulates an emotional theme that ran through the interviews. It speaks to one of this audience’s core values and influences even their most rational decisions. B2B marketers hunger for these types of insights as they look for ways to bring a human element to their messaging and positioning.
The resonance of the theme and its usefulness for developing customer personas and journeys stems from the methodology that uncovered it – qualitative in-depth interviews. B2B marketers and their agency partners often face resistance from internal stakeholders who doubt the value of insights that aren’t expressed as a statistical projection of the market. But in-depth interviews provide the time and format that enable an individual to make the journey from superficial reactions to overly rational answers, and finally to what it means to them personally. As a full disclosure, it’s not always as clear or powerful as connecting with a father who has passed on but relative to surveys, big data and social listening – it gets you closer to the human side of the B2B buyer.
This is not a criticism of surveys, VOC programs, and other more quantitative methodologies. We routinely use those approaches because they provide robust insights needed for branding, market sizing, pricing, and bundling strategies. But when you want to understand the human side of a B2B buyer, qualitative in-depth interviews are one of the best tools in the research tool box.
But having a tool in your tool box isn’t enough. You need to use the tool correctly. The most common mistake B2B marketers make when using qualitative in-depth interviews is to treat it like a survey and create a list of 50 specific questions. You also cannot simply ask, “How does xyz make you feel? How does it connect to you as a person?”.
Does your company have a presence on YouTube? If not, consider these stats:
2 billion monthly active YouTube users
30 million daily active YouTube users
5 billion videos watched each day
500 hours of new videos are uploaded every minute
500 billion videos shared to date
We’re a visual society and everyone loves to watch videos. Of B-to-B companies who are using videos, 80% of them reported positive results. From a manufacturing perspective, this should be a no-brainer. The key is to have a strategy and create compelling content. How-to videos, troubleshooting, new product launches are just a few that come to mind.
Some of the biggest challenges many B-to-B firms face are lack of manpower and budgets, followed by creating compelling content. Videos don’t have to be long or be made into a Hollywood production. There are inexpensive cameras (including a recent iPhone) and simple editing software that enable most videos to be created in-house. The key is content. You must provide the viewer something he or she can use. Keep the message clear, to the point and short.
Here’s an example of one of our Marketing Minutes:
According to a recent study by Demand Metric, the most important objectives of videos are:
Certainly, these top three objectives fit into your marketing strategy. So, what are you doing about capitalizing videos to enhance your marketing efforts?
For those of you who might be looking for ways to generate more awareness and conversations, generating new content may not be your only option. It makes sense to use other social media outlets as a way to get your existing messages out.
To achieve higher reader engagement you need to know your audience, their habits and pain points. Different social media outlets reach people differently. So whether you’re looking to repurpose existing data or convert outdated info, consider delivering them in smaller bite size pieces using alternative avenues.
Here are some highlights that I think manufacturers could use in reaching the professional tradesman:
Present your business via video. Tell your story, not the corporate one, but the one that talks about ways to come up with solutions to help contractors do their jobs better.
Use infographics. They are 30 times more likely to be read than pure text. People like visuals and are more likely to share them.
Convert long form content into slides. Use existing presentations and break them up into smaller groups. You can use them as PowerPoint presentations or there are programs that will easily allow you to incorporate animation.
Use podcasts to share your voice. Podcasts are one of the fastest growing mediums for social media and it comes as no surprise. Interview contractors and talk about the newest technologies. I’m sure you can come up with a multitude of topics to cover.
Since the social media scene developed years ago, it’s become cluttered. There are accounts on all social platforms that sit, gathering dust for years. Do any of those accounts belong to you or your company?
Thanks to Marie Kondo’s recent popularity, we’ve become obsessed with decluttering and organizing, so we thought it might be a good time of the year for a little spring cleaning of your social media.
By now, most companies have several social media accounts that have been running for quite some time and even a few accounts that have shut down (Google+) or become less relevant as a social media platform (Flikr). It doesn’t take much time to conduct a quick audit of your social media platforms and get back on track, if you know what to do. Here are a few pointers to get you started. (more…)
Information on the alternative energy market, from key trade shows and industry associations, to training providers, codes and standards, industry publications, online resources and more.
At Sonnhalter, we pride ourselves on working only in the B2T, or Business-to-Tradesmen industry. And that means not only being up to date on what our clients are doing, but with their industries as well. To that end, we have developed comprehensive Market Overviews for relevant industries, and continually update them.
Many of our clients know they need to get into the “green” arena but do not know how to approach it or how to bring value to the “green” market. Our updated, 28-page overview of the alternative energy industry (focusing on certain segments within the larger context) can be used as a means of educating and planning for the types of products and services needed in the future.
The overview covers the following segments of the Alternative Energy market:
Please feel free to download, review and share, and if you have any questions, contact us. Sign up for our updated Sonnhalter Alternative Energy Market Overview here.