Presenting our new brand and website for these times of change

B2B marketing is changing. 80% of the B2B sales cycle now happens in digital settings and strategic context has become more important than ever before. To reflect these times of great change we’ve also been on a journey of our own over the last few months to better articulate, visualise and digitally present the Move brand to the world. This has culminated with a complete rebrand and new website to coincide with the start of our fifth year in business.

Four years ago Move began life as a few B2B marketing experts in a little Manchester office, with a small base of UK clients. Things have evolved. Our multi-award-winning, multi-disciplinary team of ten now deliver world class B2B marketing programmes for clients as far afield as Canada, Germany, the USA and Australia. We have created a range of transformational campaigns that have reinvigorated client marketing efforts in industries as diverse as manufacturing, science, oil and gas, technology and construction products.

Our “We speak B2B” strapline has always spoken to the fact that we understand your market, we understand your challenges and we understand the critical link between brand strength and demand generation. This understanding invariably translates to successful marketing programmes, whatever the B2B segment. Our new messaging takes this a step further by highlighting the unique approach we have used to achieve this success for our clients, the “8 moves of B2B”. This B2B marketing planning model has been developed over the course of 20 years, from over 200 marketing audits and planning processes for SMEs and blue chip industrials. Pinpointing key target markets and identifying unique buyer personas has become crucial in modern B2B marketing and the 8 moves help focus efforts on achieving tangible growth for your business.

Our new logo is testament to the fact that we stand at the cutting edge of these latest developments in B2B marketing. As a dynamic, forward-thinking B2B marketing agency we have made a step away from the traditional channels and ways of working in order to integrate the huge range of modern, digital channels that are now available. This new styling also speaks to the fact that we are constantly moving, never standing still, to adapt to market changes on behalf of our industrial, science and technology clients. With clients in all corners of the world this constant movement is literal as well as figurative.

Our new website has been created with education and self-improvement in mind. We’re here to educate and evolve B2B marketing as a discipline rather than be “just another B2B agency”. With this in mind, we’ve put our groundbreaking “8 moves of B2B” at the heart of things as well as newly added insights on our B2B blog. If you’re an industrial, scientific or technology marketer there’s also plenty more to come in terms of bespoke checklists, templates, tools and guides to help you with the intricacies of the B2B marketing planning and campaign implementation process.

What have you been doing to shake things up and evolve the marketing effort in your B2B organisation over the last 15 months or so? Competitors are not standing still and the battle for digital dominance in your sector is only just beginning. It’s become the most critical step in the entire B2B buyer journey. We’re here to help you win that battle by helping you speak the language of B2B so that you can move your audience to action.

Is there a difference between physical and digital trust in B2B?

The world of B2B buying has been completely transformed in recent times, with the seeds of trust now planted digitally rather than in sales visits. 90% of the sales process is over before a salesperson even talks to a lead – therefore, digital tools and human interaction must work in harmony for a B2B business to be successful today. B2B sales has transitioned from being an environment where face-to-face interactions form the large part of relationship building and maintaining, to a discipline which requires an increasing number of high-frequency, high-value digital interactions to manage constantly evolving relationships and opportunities.

According to recent research by Mckinsey only about 20% of B2B buyers say they hope to return to in-person sales, even in sectors where field-sales models have traditionally dominated. Most are now willing to make even big ticket purchases through end-to-end digital service and remote human interactions and see these changes as being permanent beyond the end of 2021 (Source: Mckinsey.com).

B2B companies on the whole, and particularly industrial and engineering companies, have traditionally been slow to embrace change in the area of digital sales and marketing and the intangible. This is unsurprising as these companies are fundamentally geared around engineering, technical substance, the tangible and the physical output of a process. Over the last twelve months though, the pandemic has compressed five years of progression into a single year and forced B2B companies to more readily embrace the digital revolution in the buyer journey. Unable to lean on the physical interactions and presentations of years gone, buyers and engineers involved in the purchasing process have been forced to navigate the digital market and find new methods, tools and benchmarks with which to evaluate supplier products and services.

The “top and middle of the funnel” stages of the B2B buyer journey have become more critical than ever, with so many B2B buyers using digital as a way of pre-screening potential suppliers, even for more technically complex products and services. With this in mind, Awareness and Consideration have become the more pivotal stages of the buyer journey, as opposed to the latter Decision and Experience stages of the cycle where sales and support teams can play a more decisive role. Sales rapport and credibility can still be built but it is not required anywhere near as early in the journey and has transitioned to typically being reliant on video conferencing platforms such as Zoom and Teams.

With reduced face to face sales interactions the need for reassurances and reinforced trust has increased massively. One way of covering this off in the B2B space is through guarantees and warranties. A guarantee is a promise or an assurance that attests to the quality or durability of a product or service, or a pledge that something will be performed in a specified manner. A warranty is a more formalised written guarantee for the product or service. Offering guarantees plays a big role in building trust digitally for B2B companies as it removes one of the final barriers to purchase thereby minimising purchase risk, increasing buyer confidence, providing competitive differentiation and potentially also improving profitability.

Customers expect a seamless experience whatever sector they’re operating in and so marketing still needs to work closely hand in hand with sales to achieve this. Recent experiences during the course of the pandemic have persuaded buyers in all sectors, including B2B, to trust the virtual/e-commerce experience more and more and to find new and more efficient ways of completing their roles. At the first stage there needs to be clearly accessible information to support the journey through the awareness and consideration stages of the purchase decision. Buyers will then start to look at other factors, such as how easy the product is to order online, what the speed of delivery is and whether adequate technical support is available both digitally and in terms of customer service teams.

Another key development in recent times has been the impact of how a B2B buyer acts in their consumer transactions beginning to influence how they act in their B2B day job. The expectation levels have been raised by the smoothness with which many B2C transactions now take place. This does not necessarily mean that a multimillion pound piece of capital equipment should suddenly be available with one-click, Amazon-style functionality. But it does raise the stakes in terms of the validating commercial and technical information that makes up the key stages of the buyer journey. If all your competitors have made this information as easy to digest and access as possible but yours requires a phone call or a formalised sales follow up, then human nature dictates that your offering will instantly fail to tick that same box covered by your competitors. In the digital era those B2B companies that are quickest to recognise these fundamental differences between physical and digital trust will be the ones best placed for success.

Strategy creates a framework for building B2B trust

With trust playing such a key role in the modern B2B buyer-seller relationship, having a framework within which you can create and develop that trust is invaluable. Relationships operate in a completely different way to those between businesses and consumers and with these relationships now increasingly geared around digital encounters. A comprehensive evaluation of some of the key steps in the marketing planning process will set the platform from which you can build B2B trust.

The first step in the process is to establish the marketing landscape against which your products or services are being sold. This sets the scene and provides context to who your buyers are across a number of key areas including situation analysis, segmentation, macro environment and buyer personas. Having a better idea of your target buyer persona in particular helps get into their mindset and think about what it actually takes to earn their trust in the first place.

Competitor analysis helps to pinpoint untruths and gaps in their positioning. By applying qualitative analysis on how they are positioning themselves, analysing their mix of marketing channels and using MarTech tools to benchmark them, you can then establish effective angles from which to make your target prospects question their belief and trust in competitor positioning statements. This may be in the form of direct product or service comparisons or it could instead be subtle questioning techniques within your own material.

Your brand positioning should be the vehicle with which to drive home the big idea or single point of truth if possible. Brand needs to be at the core of your B2B marketing strategy and is not just an area that should be reserved for separate, big ticket re-brand projects but rather a fundamental and central consideration which should be constantly re-evaluated in the context of any strategic development processes. Brand is based on essence, purpose, value proposition, personality and principles and all of these fundamentally link back to trust.

Channel analysis is another key step in the process as this will ultimately create a platform for recall and the reinforcement of trust. The B2B buyer’s journey has been completely transformed in recent years: there are more people involved in the purchase decision; the modern B2B buyer does their own research and it’s usually online; and most B2B buyers now twist and turn through the marketing funnel, looping back and repeating at least one or more tasks in the journey of Awareness/ Consideration/ Decision/ Experience. When selecting the optimal mix of channels, it’s therefore useful to align the mix with these different stages of the buyer’s journey.

Consistency of message is vital in respect of driving trust across multiple channels. Buyers will ultimately gravitate to those B2B brands that are trustworthy i.e. the ones that communicate in a consistent style and tone, with an authoritative and visually clear message, at all the key moments in their journey. In terms of marketing productivity this approach is just as applicable at the lower end of the budget spectrum as it is for the blue chips. Challenger brands that don’t have the same budgets should be focused on doing it better and doing it more personally, in a better segmented way and maximising impact through quality content and smart use of digital platforms.

Digital engagement figures offer a visual confirmation of trust or otherwise amongst your prospects and customers. A simplified and agile reporting dashboard can help set a better platform for tactical adjustments and squeezing maximum value out of every penny spent on marketing. This analysis represents the final and transformational step in the strategic planning process as this is the point at which the true measure and value of trust can be established.

In the post-pandemic world, the consequences of not having a clear framework for building B2B trust are that it gets shunted down the list of priorities, lost amongst a sea of sales targets and commercial “hard sell”. But trust is not a luxury or a “nice to have”. In this modern era where 80% of the B2B sales process takes place in digital environments it should be the absolute bedrock of any progressive B2B organisation’s marketing strategy in order to fully optimise their chances of success.

Trust supersedes everything in B2B marketing in the digital age

What is trust? The dictionary definition can be summarised as “a firm belief, faith or confidence in the reliability, truth, integrity or ability of someone or something”. Trust is a fundamental ingredient in all interpersonal relationships, whether that’s person to person, business to person or business to business. It takes time to build and yet can be lost in the blink of an eye, particularly in the digital era. It also inevitably involves risk, as you are putting a desired outcome into another person or business’s hands, thereby making you or your business vulnerable.

Trust is absolutely vital in B2B interactions and is heightened because the relationships between companies operate in such a different way to those between businesses and consumers. Item values can be much higher, the typical sales cycle is much longer (in certain cases up to 18+ months) and there are more decision makers working through a far more complex buying process that demands more information and looped steps to reach a final purchasing decision. Therefore, when it comes to marketing, everything ultimately boils down to trust in your B2B brand.

So, with the combined forces of technology and the pandemic having separated sellers and buyers, what does the status of trust look like in the present day? A recent edition of “The CMO Survey” suggested that 27% of customers have made it a top priority to develop a trusting relationship with marketers over the next 12 months (Source: CMOsurvey.org). Meanwhile the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer suggests that the current pandemic era is characterised by “an epidemic of misinformation and widespread mistrust of business, government, NGOs and media…in an environment of information bankruptcy” (Source: Edelman.com/trust/2021-trust-barometer).

Many niche B2B markets and sectors, particularly in the industrial and scientific space, haven’t traditionally had the benefit of mass awareness and also have audiences that have traditionally been difficult to access. Times have changed though and the digital revolution, combined with the democratisation of publishing channels, have made it possible for even the smallest of businesses to project their brand story on a global basis. Awareness sits right at the top of the marketing funnel and is the starting platform for any type of trust transaction to take place. After all, without awareness there is not even a basis for establishing trust.

For decades, the market leaders in all of the various industrial, scientific and other niche B2B sectors have had a monopoly on trust. The biggest budgets meant the widest coverage, the biggest presence, preservation of the status quo as “the safe choice” and the ability to block out or overpower smaller competitor messaging. In recent years though digital has levelled the playing field and enabled even the smallest market player to compete. Now is the time for challenger brands to take on the established market leaders, question product performance claims, positioning statements and “inherited” (rather than earned) trust and widen the conversation and customer journey.

Of course the product or service being marketed still needs to stand up to scrutiny. It must perform equally or better than those of competitors, whether that’s on a direct comparison or on the basis of a lifecycle cost investment. From that perspective challenger brands have more to prove, at a time of pandemic-induced change, than market leaders. But the cost of telling the brand story and projecting the benefits of a B2B product or service to the world is now much more accessible and so smaller, challenger brands have the potential to take the fight to the market leaders.

Penetrating the consciousness of potential buyers who are being saturated with marketing messaging is still a battle. However, with the correct use of segmentation, targeting and an orchestrated multichannel approach, B2B brands can use digital platforms to tell their brand story and enable their products and services to engage and compete more consistently on merit at the pivotal moments of the B2B buyer journey.

Is marketing bigger than sales in the post-COVID industrial purchasing process?

In an industrial landscape where even complex, engineered products and services are now bought in a completely different, more remote and independently researched style than years gone by, sales needs to align itself with industrial marketing more than ever before.

Over the past year or so the Coronavirus pandemic has completely shifted the communications focus for manufacturers, accelerating the switch to digital and, crucially with it, the ability to trust in a brand. This acceleration is widely reckoned to have compressed on average 5 years’ worth of digital transformation into a period of just weeks and months. From a marketing perspective, “seeking new ways of engaging customers” and “expanding digital communications channels usage” have both now become business-critical issues.

Even before COVID, 80% of the B2B sales cycle was happening in digital settings. Traditional purchasing cycles that would have initially been handled by a local salesperson on the ground have either moved to online platforms such as Zoom or Email or, in some cases, completely bypassed these initial steps by skipping straight to different forms of digital content for prequalification purposes.

These days, even for a complex industrial purchase, the salesperson is not even likely to be contacted until the purchaser is several steps into the research and evaluation phases of the buying cycle. Consequently, digital content has transcended wider marketing and sales efforts as a whole to become the ultimate endgame for customer engagement. Having content that’s easily absorbed in terms of format and also easy to find across digital touch-points is just as vital a prerequisite for all types of B2B sales, from industrial bearings through software, technology and services right through to million-pound pieces of capital equipment.

The move to digital in terms of selecting suppliers has become much more demanding of trust as there is an implicit lack of confidence amongst B2B buyers in ordering products and services online. Trust in a brand they don’t know about has become dramatically more important than it was 12 months ago meaning that industrial brands need to master the ability to tell their full story, in a clear and concise way, across multiple touch-points. A void has been left by salespeople no longer being able to visit face to face in this new and virtual post-COVID world. Confidence and trust in a brand therefore needs to be built in a different way from before.

Building trust digitally is fundamentally done through the incremental benefit of three core actions:

  • Creating a greater volume of quality content
  • Pivoting that content towards clearly defined thought leadership angles
  • Integrating multiple digital channels to reinforce recall along the different stages of the buyer journey

Content creation alone is not sufficient. Quality content that tells part of the story and adds value to the buyer in terms of answering core requirements cuts through the marketing noise and establishes engagement. Content that either educates the buyer or persuades them to think about their problem in a different way demonstrates thought leadership and goes a step further by establishing recall. Integrating all this content across multiple digital channels ensures that the buyer is reminded of a particular supplier’s solution at every stage of the buyer journey, thereby maximising the supplier’s potential of being in the mix when it comes down to the final purchase decision.

Manufacturers that are quickest to grasp the nettle and act on on this seismic shift in the way industrial products and services are purchased will be the biggest beneficiaries in the post-COVID world. There is still a huge role for sales to play in getting purchases over the line but a more flexible approach and more dynamic alignment between sales and marketing has become more important than ever.

Free Digital Support for Businesses Struggling Due to COVID-19

Are you self-employed or a small business struggling to respond to the Coronavirus crisis?

Move strongly believes that to get through this unprecedented crisis UK businesses need to stand together. Government support will undoubtedly help, but many businesses traditionally dependent on face to face sales still need to adapt to the fast changing circumstances by ensuring that they can continue to trade in the digital space.

From now until the end of May, multi-award-winning agency Move Marketing will be offering 20 small businesses digital support completely free of charge through the implementation of its Digiboost package.

Normally worth £1000, the Digiboost package comprises the following key elements to help digitise your small business:
• 30 minute audit call
• 1-page bespoke digital roadmap explaining the key steps needed to move your business online
• 1-page website with domain, email address, enquiry form, live-chat functionality and 1 year’s hosting
• Email design and send out to maximum 500 contacts
• Set up of 2 social media channels with guidance on content
• Set up of analytics platforms
• Advice on how you can track the progress of your Digiboost package

Contact the Move team by LiveChat, email or by filling out the form below to find out more information on how we can help!

Move Marketing Celebrates Raft of New Client Wins

Manchester-based integrated B2B agency Move Marketing is celebrating a raft of new client wins, including its first ever overseas client, at the end of a year of record growth and turnover. Move recently won best Small Integrated Agency of the Year (up to 29 employees) 2019 at the Prolific North Awards, with the judges commenting that “Move are a small Manchester agency who are making waves internationally”.

New business wins this spring/summer are Delta Scientific, SSE, Ionic Information and AZoNetwork. Delta Scientific distributes high quality lab products such as chemicals, consumables and equipment across Canada and the USA. SSE Energy Solutions is the business-focused division of the blue chip SSE Group, one of the UK’s leading “big six” energy companies. Ionic Information is a leading provider of specialist financial software to the UK’s professional investment sector while AZoNetwork is a global information provider and platform for scientists, engineers, technologists and researchers.

Move has already begun providing a range of solutions for all of these new clients including fully integrated multi-channel campaigns for Delta and Ionic.

Alex Cairns, Managing Director at Move Marketing, said “These new client wins come at a time of rapid growth for Move and demonstrate the real breadth of our B2B expertise with sectors as diverse as science, technology and energy. The acquisition of our first overseas client (Delta Scientific, based in Canada) is a particular highlight as it proves that geography is no longer a boundary in this digital age – even a small Manchester agency can punch above its weight on a global stage and build an international client base. Good B2B marketing translates into any language and we already have extensive experience of running multilingual campaigns in all corners of the world for our UK clients so this is a natural next step for us”.

Move is currently looking to add a graphic designer and a digital marketing executive to the team in its Manchester office.

Trade Show Booth Design Tips: Attract Industrial & Scientific Audiences

azo_booth

Given the mounting costs of travel, exhibition fees, shipping your equipment and booth costs (don’t forget the additional luxury carpet!), not to mention expenses and the staffing cost of having your team there the whole week, it is imperative that you justify such an investment and have a clear view of what success looks like – There’s good news though.

The trade show is alive and well.

What does a successful booth design incorporate?

Whether you’ve taken 100 or 1000 square feet, there are a few fundamentals here.

Clarity

Every effective booth should have colorful, well-positioned graphics, clear messaging. This is especially important for smaller booths. Don’t attempt to promote every single one of your thousand products, that’s what your website and product catalogues are for. Either focus on 1 – 2 core products/services or apply a wider brand awareness approach.

If you’re offering a service at the event e.g. a workshop or consultancy sessions, say that you’re offering that on your stand graphics. Don’t leave it to the imagination of visitors to guess.

Engagement

Consider adding an interactive feature to the booth – this doesn’t have to be cost prohibitive and could be as simple as a web explainer, video or social media feed looping on a screen.

Think about finishing touches which enhance the brand visuals, at little additional cost e.g. branded rugs, welcome counters or furnishings.

Positioning

Every event is different – some are more relaxed on height restrictions and there is negligible additional cost in increasing part of the booth frame height up to 13 foot to enable messaging that overshadows your neighbors and competitors at the show.

Put furniture in corners or “inside” the footprint of the booth i.e. don’t create physical barriers by lining all the edges of your booth with furniture, products and other equipment.

Is the booth location important?

Booth location is vital and, given the choice of more space in a poor location or less space in a great location, I would recommend the latter every time. Show traffic inevitably flows in certain directions governed by:

  • Entry points into the hall
  • The location of seminar/presentation areas
  • The location of cafes/networking lounges.

An additional variable at some events can be the demarcation of dedicated “new exhibitor” areas or zones dedicated to certain products and technologies. Visit the show in the years leading up to your participation or do your research in terms of the publicly available floor-plan.

What novel design solutions have you used to stand out from the crowd?

While with Knauf Insulation we implemented a number of unique approaches including an interactive scaled insulation factory model and also an on-stand bowling alley geared around a “10 green bottles” message which linked back to eco-friendly glass mineral wool insulation solutions.

We built an incredibly successful 20 square meter stand for a client at major Science exhibition Analytica in Munich, Germany which featured a bar as its centerpiece along with a lounge area and interactive displays. The bar (and free beer!) provided the hook to turn potential interest into active sales conversations and our client, Goodfellow, saw an 800% increase in leads generated at the show.

Goodfellow Stand

We revolutionized the compressed air sector while at Ingersoll Rand by adopting a more static idea seen in the USA and instead built a mobile compressed air system within a 20-foot shipping container, then moving that to every corner of Europe and the Middle East to use as an outdoor exhibit for live demonstrations at trade shows.

We put a giant interactive tablet at the heart of things at an Oil and Gas show in Rotterdam, Holland. This featured links to digital content including web explainers, a new website and a live updating Twitter-wall which gave stand visitors the chance to catch up with other visitors’ opinions of the show as a whole.

We took a completely blue sky approach to the stand build at a designer-focused exhibition in London, driving an eco-friendly product launch with a stand that was 100% on message and stopped visitors in their tracks with its eye-catching “garden of materials” theme.

Stand

What would you say to SME’s on a budget exhibiting at a tradeshow?

Don’t assume that trade shows mean huge expense with little return. As mentioned above there are plenty of smart design tactics that can be incorporated on to even the smallest of booths at little additional cost. But by the same token don’t do more damage to your brand than good by taking creased/ripped pop up graphics or damaged old roller banners and assume that will be good enough to stand out. At many shows this is what 80% of the booths look like anyway so how can you expect yours to stand out from the others?

Whatever you’ve spent on the space itself, whether using an expert agency or doing it yourself from thereon in, you should budget on spending at least the same again on dressing that space. You should then also allocate a third portion of the budget to cover staff travel and accommodation. If you can’t afford to spend at least the same on dressing the space as the space costs itself you should seriously consider whether to exhibit or wait until the following edition of the show.

How has the tradeshow changed and what role does the booth play today?

People have been talking about the death of the B2B trade show for years. Turns out its demise has actually been seriously overstated though and it remains as vital a pillar of the modern marketing mix as ever, only its role has changed slightly. Research carried out by AZoNetwork last year demonstrates that Science and Industrial trade shows provide the second biggest source of “quality” sales leads behind content marketing. Take the following careful steps and trade shows can continue to play a key role in your marketing strategy:

  • Choose the right shows, do your research and check that the correct audience is attending and that the show itself is in growth.
  • Don’t see the trade show as a standalone marketing tactic. Think “multi-channel” rather than single channel and use it as a face to face platform to enhance and interact with your other content and digital marketing efforts.
  • Make sure that you follow the fundamental design principles outlined above – get an expert agency involved if necessary which will reduce the pressure in terms of ensuring the quality of the finished build.
  • Location. Location. Location!
  • Budget accordingly and either do it properly or don’t do it at all.