Get human in your marketing now to reach B2B buyers in 2021

13. November 2020

30-second summary:

  • Empathetic marketing plays a major role in cross-cultural content marketing.
  • Empathy means understanding your audience from their perspective, requiring marketers to be alert and engaged in the audience investigative process.
  • A gentle way to enter a new market is to involve its users in your content.
  • Authentic marketing is rooted in listening and asking questions.
  • Asking open-ended and empathetic questions on social media conversations is an effective tactic to leverage your new audience to share ideas that will matter to them.

The world is noisy. As a B2B marketer, you’re competing for the attention of your target audience. And in B2B, buying cycles are long, meaning you have to keep audiences engaged for months. It’s not easy being a B2B marketer in 2020.

As we look towards 2021 and beyond, audiences will demand authenticity and transparency in your marketing. You can achieve authenticity and transparency by adopting a human-centric approach.

While it’s important in any marketing approach, it’s also important in cross-cultural marketing. As more companies transition abroad, your marketing will have to stand out, be in tune with the culture, and translate authentically.

Why care about cross-cultural content marketing?

Cultural differences will affect your content marketing. Before you start writing content, you need to understand your audience’s demographics, needs, emotions, and motivations. When marketing cross-culturally, it can go even deeper than those fundamentals.

In these situations, understanding cross-cultural branding, content tonality, colloquial wordings, and phrasing all goes hand-in-hand with successfully marketing to an abroad audience.

Empathetic marketing plays a major role in cross-cultural content marketing. While it’s equally important for marketing to your home country’s audience, when entering a new market in a foreign country, empathy will be a major player to your success.

Empathy is understanding your audience at their level — from their perspective. This requires a marketer to be alert and engaged in the audience investigative process. Also it’s the ability to align your marketing tactics to the needs and interests of your audience.

Using empathetic marketing you can create content and strategic advertising approaches that are more receptive to your audience. When leveraging empathy, you will also be more authentic in your marketing.

Authentic marketing, or marketing tuned to your audience’s interests, leads to a higher return on investment. In cross-cultural situations, this step is even more important. You may understand what ‘goes’ and doesn’t ‘go’ in your native-country, but do you have the same intuitive mindset for another culture?

All-in-all, strive to be human-centered in your cross-cultural marketing approach. It’s the marketing approach of 2021 and beyond.

Three tactics to authentically connect with audiences abroad

When entering new markets, your business is unknown. B2B buyers can be skeptical so trust in your business is low. How can you earn their trust? How can you brand yourself as authentic and the right product solution?

Leverage user content

Entering a new market is tricky. As a non-native, you won’t have all the facts, figures, and the personal touch as if you were a native marketer. In this situation, involve your new customers in generating content.

Run a campaign that enables your customers to be part of the conversation. For example, LinkedIn is a great social channel to encourage user-generated content for B2B companies.

Ask your peers

Cultures have a unique way of wording and structuring communication. As a non-native marketer, it might be hard to adapt into these cultural nuances and pick them up quickly. Authentic marketing is rooted in listening and asking questions.

The internet connects cultures, so utilize these resources to make sure your cross-cultural content marketing is working and relevant.

Ask your marketing peers about your approach or wordage. Can they understand it? Does it resonate with them?

Develop content topics from social media conversations

Let the new market decide on your content topics. In content marketing it’s good practice to involve your audience throughout the content planning and writing process. Leverage the new audience to drive content ideas.

Ask open-ended and empathetic questions on social media to build deeper connections. Connect with new customers in phone conversations to gather intelligence. Listening is always an important step to better marketing.

Cross-cultural marketing is difficult. It takes empathy, understanding, knowledge, and approaching your marketing in a human-centered way.

Don’t assume that the same marketing tactics will work similarly in every country. Be strategic. Be empathetic. Always work towards creating content experiences that will have a lasting impact on your audience.

Megan Thudium is the founder of MTC | The Content Agency, a content agency working with B2B German brands expanding globally into the native-English North American market. Her agency infuses content marketing, SEO, and thought-leadership best practices to drive awareness, credibility, and leads through content marketing. She’s an expert on all things B2B content marketing, and her strategic marketing insight has been featured in publications like ClickZ, Under30CEO, Advertising Week, Forbes, Business.com, Upwork.com, and Managers.org.uk, to name a few. You can find Megan on LinkedIn actively sharing insight in B2B content marketing.

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