B2B Marketing to Niche Industries
When it comes to creating a niche marketing strategy for B2Bs, there are no off-the-shelf options.
It’s a blessing and a curse.
On the one hand, you can adapt the way you sell to match how customers like to buy.
But doing that involves anticipating how they’ll want to buy before they’re actually buying that way because it takes time to get systems in place that can deliver on their ease-of-use expectations.
This is particularly at a time when B2C giants like Goole, Amazon and Apple are setting the user experience bar lower than ever, shortening B2B buyers patience thresholds for a cumbersome UX.
Plus, with a finite B2B market, you can’t afford to invest what B2Cs can. The market doesn’t justify it. But you can’t afford to make mistakes that alienate people either.
So it’s tough.
And over the years, he’s experimented with different sales and marketing stacks.
He spoke with me about what he’s learned from his experiences, walking me through his migration from analog to digital.
It’s an impressive case study of what it takes to lead a digital transformation.
In this post — written from the audio podcast interview at the top of this page (you can subscribe and listen here) — Adam discusses how digital changed the music industry as a whole, and why there’s never a shortage of business opportunities, even in emerging or niche industries.
How APM used technology to fulfill customer demand
Getting digital transformations right takes time.
And the B2B lead generation strategies that accompany those changes take longer to come to fruition.
For APM, it started with first creating tech that helped customers find and download production music for use in film and television. Then, it moved into translating the value of that technology to their customers, who at the time were used to audio CDs.
It was crazy. Because the B2B customer journey was migrating from analog to digital, so they had to help their customers through that transition.
Now, they have the adoption to couple technology and data analytics to continuously improve the customer experience, so it becomes more personalized.
The transformation from a brick-and-mortar music library to a digital one took around six years.
“Technology was a great way to serve our customers with a digital library. At first, that WAS the selling proposition.”
Bringing together the tech and B2B marketing message
Everything about the supply chain of music, from discoverability and production to delivery, has changed. But APM has solidified their place in the market with a niche marketing strategy that uses technology to keep the customer’s needs at the forefront of everything they do.
“Our obligation is to bring in great music and deliver what our clients want when they want it. In between that is the search engine. But marketing is also very important because we need to understand our client and their wants.”
Here were the major challenges and digital transformations in their B2B growth marketing approach:
- Having sales and marketing work together to create a specific set of goals around customer acquisition that helps marketing bring better MQLs to sales.
- Using data to personalize the results customers see when they search for production music.
- Adapting to an omnipresent channel and messaging world to continually generate leads.
- Developing a proactive — not just reactive — niche marketing strategy that focused on customer success, retention and customer lifetime value.
- Segmenting a niche industry into even smaller markets in order to serve different customers with the most personalized experience and messaging possible.
But APM has come a long way from the early days of martech when everyone was sending the same email blast to everyone and using PR to drive awareness instead of sales results.
Creating an effective niche marketing strategy
APM is a great case study of a B2B brand that’s come a long way with their marketing, using technology to both fulfill demand and create a personalized customer experience.
And, though they are in a finite industry with limited prospects, Adam made a very good point all B2B marketers should remember.
Optimizing for market growth is as important as optimizing to grow market share.APM CEO Adam Taylor
“You never have unlimited potential in any market. But when you are in a very niche, small market, it’s likely still growing much faster than you as a single company can service. Even in our emerging market, we can’t grab all the market share because it’s big enough, and it’s growing daily.”
That being said, here are his top recommendations for B2B marketers who want to create a successful niche marketing strategy for themselves:
- Focus on account-based marketing that doesn’t just personalize based on the company, but the individual contact’s behavior.
- Get your entire team together to make sure everyone understands the messaging, goals, and marketing content that is available.
- Use tech and data to evaluate objectively whether or not something is working.
- Unite sales and marketing by creating a fully articulated business process that addresses lead qualification, nurturing, content, and analytics.
- Remember to think in terms of lifetime customer value rather than simply acquisition.
Technology is certainly transforming the way we engage with and serve our customers, but a niche marketing strategy — like any marketing strategy — needs to be about putting the customer first.
Account, role, and individual personalization is what wins.
And you can do this by collecting meaningful data and making rapid-fire changes that move you closer to your business goes. But be careful. Cause you can’t afford to alienate prospects with your niche marketing strategy.
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