Attraction, account-based, revenue, inbound  the types of marketing strategy available to marketers in recent years have become endless. But let’s take a closer look at a marketing method that has not been as intensively explored as some of the more popular alternatives – attraction marketing – and how the world of B2B and indeed PR agencies can exploit its power.

At the B2C level, attraction marketing focuses on providing useful and actionable information about a product, service or requirement before actively promoting the product itself. The goal is to attract prospective customers to your brand with valuable insights and content before moving them through the sales funnel and actively selling to them.

You get their mental ‘buy-in’ before you do for their physical purchase

By positioning your brand or company as a valuable source of actionable information, insights or entertainment, you can frame your brand as the ‘go to’ solution for any specific need or challenge. This is an excellent way of building long-term brand loyalty and avoiding the classic hard-sell or direct advertising methods, such as salespeople continually chasing prospects who have registered for an e-book over phone and email.

Opposites attract – linking together sales, marketing and PR

There’s a clear link between the typical attraction marketing strategy and what IBA specialises in delivering on the B2B PR front.

Providing valuable, insightful content up-front before prospective customers are even receiving sales and marketing communications is a core part of the PR ‘activity matrix’. Think thought leadership addressing business pain-points at the highest possible level, or trends pieces laying out the most anticipated challenges – and opportunities – facing business leaders in the year ahead.

By getting ahead of the conversation and flagging issues faced by prospective customers, we begin to lay the groundwork for what the solutions to these problems should be – ideally before competitors can even begin to think about creating gated, overly promotional content that does nothing but gather dust on a corporate website.

Get ahead of the industry conversation: Thought leadership in action

This can be a perfect tactic when addressing highly disruptive industry issues before they even emerge, or before end-customers realise a potential problem is looming. As a prime example, from IBA’s client base these disruptive topics and proactive messaging have spanned: addressing regulatory change, from medical devices to financial services and government defense, detecting potential bias in AI/ML algorithms, countering insurance fraud before policies are even created, and adapting business propositions to deliver technical services to consumer doorsteps and compete with the might of Amazon.

The key takeaway? Content is written in a high level, non-promotional and problem-solving manner, and carefully placed in selected Tier One media – that is, authoritative industry publications. Add blogs, webinars, case studies and press releases, and you have a well-rounded campaign that is both informative and establishes a strong brand with constant upwards momentum.

Not just a pretty face – a source of valuable content!

At this stage, your activity matrix has barely begun to signpost prospects towards your solutions. This comes later, and often in other content formats – for example, at IBA here’s where we begin to introduce backlinks to customer references on our client’s website, or cite industry research commissioned by the client.

Don’t just take our word for it – HubSpot is an excellent example of a well-established global brand that straddles both B2B and B2C and uses attraction marketing to strong effect.

HubSpot content can be found across the Internet and in numerous publications, sharing top tips, strategies and advice on inbound marketing. They also provide a significant volume of educational content on their own website in multiple formats. A hard-pressed marketer seeking new ways to grow their business may be drawn in by useful tips on how to enhance say, their email marketing strategy, but once they’re aware of the HubSpot brand and the value HubSpot’s own platform can add to marketing operations, they’re ‘caught’!

Take a leaf out of the IBA playbook

PR agencies themselves can get in on the attraction marketing, and we’re no stranger to providing informative, non-promotional content to the market free of charge. Research reports, industry surveys and thought leadership are all excellent formats to position this.

This is something IBA has pursued as a company, commissioning two research reports (download here and here) during the Covid pandemic to gauge the appetite among marketers for PR campaigns and media-facing activities, amid one of the largest global business disruptions in recent history.

The findings from this research fuelled far more than two research reports – they’ve formed blogs, news announcements and thought leadership articles published in leading PR & Marketing publications, social media posts across multiple channels, infographics and have even been cited as sources in third-party content.

Go forth and attraction market

Part of IBA’s core ethos is “a message from more than one source is more readily believed” – and attraction marketing strategies lend themselves nicely to support this belief.

One of the challenges that many B2B companies suffer from is a closeness to their own products or value proposition. That is, they struggle to separate themselves from the highly technical aspect of it to consider how best to position themselves as innovative market leaders providing solutions to genuine burning industry pain-points.

Attraction marketing could the perfect tonic to this challenge – and what better way to explore this strategy than with an established B2B PR marketing agency experienced in identifying hot topics and drafting informative, engaging content off the back of it?

Want to learn more about how we can support your B2B marketing initiatives? Reach out to the team and discuss with us directly!

Simon Woolley is PR Account Manager at IBA International.

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