In B2B, digital marketing is long over (and with it the funnel)

In B2B, digital marketing is long over (and with it the funnel)


The economy of tools (of the end and not of the means) has always been a threat to our profession. Mainly for 2 reasons:

  • the first is that this is a generally misleading approach, if I am an “SEO expert” and “I need to sell” consultant there is a strong risk that I will be tempted to adapt SEO to a really different need . Something is going to happen (a digital marketing book doesn’t hurt mail) but we’re not facing the solution
  • The second is that it “sets aside” strategic thinking by relying on what is in fact a perceptual bias: it has always worked, therefore it will work

And the funnel approach, and the funnel design, is little more than an instrumental approach. Where instead of SEO and Pay Per Click, there are funnels that contain these levers, or rather contain them as dissemination media for more or less confidential and private content to download and view, in exchange for addresses e-mail to feed.

Everything is perfect except one thing: real life. Real life is made up of SMEs with a turnover of 40 million who want to sell in Italy and abroad, whose market is characterized by extremely complex supply chains composed mainly of two elements:

  • sales contexts: something very similar to a wholesaler and one or more levels of retail, usually serving an installer or craftsman, who in turn serves an end customer
  • contexts of influence: a fantastic world mixed with the first but not superimposed on the same fact of technical studies, designers, influencers, surveyors, interior designers and archiportels in service

Basically the most cosmic mess. We have been serving these realities for years, in the world of chairs, parquet floors, dental unit rentals (the dentist’s chair is so called), tinsmiths, window manufacturers. And these are the contexts in which, in our opinion, a marketing consultant really makes a difference.

How is marketing done in these worlds?

  • The first thing to do is to study and not to trace the user’s purchasing path
  • then the marketing trigger points need to be mapped
  • the key figures of these trigger points must be identified
  • a marketing facility must be built for these people
  • the digital presence must be analyzed and possibly improved (obviously after ensuring that the brand identity is solid and consistent)
  • all the levers to arouse interest in the key moments identified must be activated
  • content adapted to each stage of user awareness must be built

There is no reason to be obsessed with a user’s temporal or procedural linearity, there is no user dropping down the main funnel. There is only one great circularity. We know very well that we are talking “almost” about the sex of angels. Almost. Let’s re-read the above with the eyes of a strategy for a company that sells components for window manufacturers:

In which moment do I understand that I need to change the windows in the house? (from a state of unconsciousness in which it is very difficult to market to a state of awareness of a problem in which I understand drafts enter)
The solution the problem goes through the understanding of the possible solutions (in a moment of awareness of the problem there will not necessarily be a Google search entitled “eliminate drafts” or it will be residual).
Including the need to intervene not with glues or silicones, but by a professional it will be possible to initiate research (awareness of the solution) which passes from a “window manufacturer in Bologna”, but also from a phone call to a friend who recently met in the gym he told us he had changed the fixtures.

Only when our friend tells us that “Luigi Bianchi” is the window manufacturer we are looking for, are we going to go to Google and write “Door and Window Manufacturer Luigi Bianchi Bologna”
And here, yes, our Luigi will need a good website or a well-made Google My Business listing

Now let’s think about the company that has to turn to Luigi Bianchi and wants to sell him the windows for his next job. There are at least 3 cases:

  1. Luigi Bianchi needs to fix my house, so he goes to a wholesaler and asks for some material (the wholesaler can then recommend several products, including mine)
  2. Luigi Bianchi is working for a builder who passes him the executive project of an architect, who has indicated the brand and model of the windows to be installed.
  3. Luigi Bianchi is an advanced window and door manufacturer, he went to the salon and met my company, he took a course at the brand new “window academy” and then asked the wholesaler directly for my brand, who also started recommending her. to architects, because it is cheap and safe

Are we really convinced that an SEO strategy based on the keyword “window manufacturers in Bologna” or “materials for window manufacturers” is what you need? Maybe yes, to intercept 8% of the request “at random”. What to serve is a structured marketing strategy. The delivery and content levers will certainly include digital marketing but cannot be subjugated to it. We have more than recent experience confirming that the last marketing lever to abandon is the fair.

Our invitation is therefore to back to rediscovering marketing, a pound of that lever out there, you always have time to add it. All of this will be the B2B Day 2019, Will you be There?



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