Or the story of how a Polish boutique agency brings marketing and sales processes online.
B2B marketing is a phrase that turned from a name of an non-existent category into an overused buzzword in less than 2-3 years. This motivates me to publicly share our experiences of work in this area.
We founded Clipatize in 2012 together with my partners. During 5 years our agency was gradually transforming from a provider of explainer videos for the high tech sector into a full-blown consultancy managing comprehensive marketing processes for companies in the B2B segment. This was an exciting road for me, full of intense evangelism, aggressive international new business development and building structures able to deliver outstanding projects in geographically scattered markets.
We had no support of global agencies, no investors, no clear benchmarks or role models. At the moment we’re the most mature B2B marketing agency in Poland, and probably in Europe and the Middle East. We’ve got a rich experience, not only in terms of the scope of projects, or global recognition of our clients’ brands, but also different geographic locations. A permanent team of 20, together with a network of over 30 external collaborators is a strong talent pool and the reason why the largest global B2B brands decide to cooperate with us both in Poland and the Middle East.
Reaching this kind of a profile in an organic way wasn’t exactly an obvious process. It required systematic business development efforts, some of which I shared some time ago in this piece for Nowy Marketing (beware: it’s in Polish). In this post I’d like to focus on the nature of the B2B marketing services segment. To do so, let me draw on the range of activities we carry out for our clients. Let me also brag a bit about some of our achievements and reveal our plans for the future.
Although it’s been of particular interest to marketers, digital marketing in the B2B segment is still in its infancy. It started to grow around 3 years ago but it can’t really build on the consumer marketing experiences. This is due to unique features of this sector, such as narrow target groups, high single lead value, complexity of the offer or a long customer journey.
At the same time, B2B marketers usually only complement operations of sales departments, while their activities are limited to direct communication, done by the reps or at the events. All these reasons mean that B2B marketers often lack a clear marketing and sales strategy they could execute with an agency. The majority of our most exciting and innovative projects didn’t stem from a tender with goals specified by the client. These gems were rather a result of strategic discussions with board members or marketing and sales directors. A brief would be developed in dialogue between our agency and the client, as an outcome of our strategic recommendations. These exciting processes mean that rather than being just contractors, our team members are consultants supporting the clients’ business growth.
Let’s start with strategy and Value Proposition
B2B marketing communication is closely linked to sales. For this reason, projects usually require strategic arrangements, involving management board and coordination of work of sales and marketing departments. Going from idea to launch takes more time in this type of projects, but their business impact is measurable and long-lasting.
Due to its relation to the client’s sales and marketing activities, B2B marketing agency very often works on the issues related to the offer or sales narrative. A large portion of our projects begins at the stage of defining or verifying value proposition of the offer, as these are the areas we identify as business weak points or blockers. Identifying distinctive product features is an essential part of this type of tasks and a building block for strategy creation and project launch. Our processes of defining value proposition usually involve representatives of various areas of the client's organization - product, marketing, sales, management, pre-sales consultants, etc.). We also take care of market research using both secondary and primary data sources. This process not only helps to construct competitive advantages of the client, but also helps to achieve team consensus essential for an effective marketing and sales cooperation.
Considering that strategy foundations and decisions on the execution of marketing activities in B2B originate with the boards and high-level managers, there are also expectations in the area of business development. For that reason the challenges get very specific and often comprise filling the CRMs with new, valuable leads in order to support direct sales activities. The ability to determine the lead acquisition cost and measuring its value for the client in the short-, medium- and long-term becomes one of the key selling points of an agency.
The B2B marketing boom, and consequently Clipatize development, was enabled by the strong trend of digital transformation. It refers to numerous processes, but due to the importance for the overall business performance, marketing and sales are treated as priority. They enable long-term and mutually beneficial cooperation between the agency and the clients.
Digital transformation changes the way of strategising, scheduling and measuring communication. The role of the agency expands to include the tools and analytical elements, which still aren’t obvious due to immaturity of a given solution or uncertain expectations of its users. I covered this challenge in our Marketing Automation e-book.
An old industry adage says: Content is King. This is especially true in B2B, where the complexity of offered products makes content creation difficult. Consumer marketing copywriters dealing with ideational and writing assignments are usually unable to create valuable B2B content. Consequently, they get replaced by the so-called technical writers or strategic copywriters. It very often turns out that the number of experts capable of creating valuable content is very limited by the size of the market niche concentrating the required field knowledge. It’s not uncommon that as an agency we cooperate with consultants with very sophisticated areas of specialty. We also seek field competences all over the world. In one of the projects for the aviation sector, the satisfactory level of knowledge backed by professional experience was possessed by only 5 consultants in the world. Valuable B2B content marketing that goes beyond keywords can clearly be a difficult task. Check out the examples of substantive video communication we produced for Airbus and Mynaric.
Airbus AirCobot - Collaborative Robot for Aircraft Inspections
Wireless communication of tomorrow. Today. By Mynaric.
Services related to building the presence of company employees in social channels, mainly LinkedIn, are growing very popular. Social Selling programmes are now getting implemented by the largest global corporations. For over a year Clipatize has been designing and coordinating such scheme for sales department employees and high-level managers in the Microsoft's Middle East and Africa region. Social Selling consists of activities, such as value content creation, building visibility of brand experts and inspiring opportunities for sales contacts. These project pillars bring measurable effects that have already encouraged our client to gradually expand the scope of cooperation with Clipatize. We’re launching new programmes for other clients both in Poland and the Middle East. The social selling trend will surely be growing, at least as long as LinkedIn doesn’t limit the organic range significantly. And then let’s see what the future holds.
Reasons to be proud
The nature of agency work rarely lets you enjoy the successes of winning valuable projects. You can only evaluate their true impact when putting them into perspective. We’re proud of having acquired really exceptional clients and now often supporting them on the basis of ongoing and long-term contracts. In the last 12 months our family of clients in Poland and Dubai got reinforced by the brands, such as Microsoft, Ericsson, Siemens Healthineers, Merck, Airliquide, Airbus, dnata/Emirates, Danfoss, Siemens Airport Systems or BASF.
Our next steps
The role of our agency in the process of creating customer value was changing over the last 5 years. Today Clipatize is a natural source of support not only for marketing and sales departments, but also increasingly for company boards. Therefore, we’re going to focus on the parallel development of strategic and execution competencies to work as a partner, not just a service provider. We focus on delivering efficient, comprehensive content marketing solutions using automated communication ecosystems, supported with marketing technologies deploying data collected in the communication process. We’ll also be on the lookout for all new marketing trends.
A debt of gratitude is owed to many people met along the way over the the last 5 years, including our awesome team (you’re GREAT!!!), my business Partners: Jan Kuczyński, Weronika Narożniak and Jan Kaczmarek.
I’d also like to express gratitude to My Clients - especially Microsoft MEA, Siemens Healthineers Poland, Canon Middle East and dnata/Emirates, who trusted me enough to do things that are innovative, bold and free from the corporate risk calculation - aiming high! Thank you!
I’m always up for talking B2B marketing. Get in touch and let’s get the ball rolling.