In our B2B marketing guidebook Business-to-Business Marketing: A Step-by-Step Guide, published by Penguin Random House, my co-author Charlie Stewart and I write, "The purpose of B2B marketing is to attract and retain profitable customers."

In pursuit of that purpose, it is essential to win the sales-creating trust of everyone in your market who influences buying decisions, as I discussed in the first article of this series.

Here, in the second article, I offer guidance on how to win that trust:

  1. Get the right message to the right people at the right time in the buying decision cycle.
  2. Move the buying decision forward—from "we're interested" to "where do we sign?"
  3. Use influencer-based personas to guide the creation of relevant and credible content.

To attract and retain profitable customers, you have to play by the rules

The fundamental rules of B2B marketing are written in stone. They state that to convince customers to buy from you, they must know who you are, what you do, and why you matter—to them.

Back in 1958, the rules were emphasized in perhaps the most famous B2B advert of the 20th century. Known as The Man in the Chair, the print ad for McGraw-Hill's business, professional, and technical magazines detailed the questions that buyers expect suppliers to answer.

In recognition of the advert's undying significance—and to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2008—the Business Marketing Association produced a video that demonstrated why the advert's message is still crucially relevant to marketers today:

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image of Mark Eardley

Mark Eardley advises B2B organizations on how to govern their marketing to attract and retain profitable customers. He is the author, with Charlie Stewart, of Business-to-Business Marketing: A Step-by-Step Guide (Penguin Random House), which offers practical, real-world advice on how to make marketing make money.

LinkedIn: Mark Eardley