There’s a myth among B2C marketers. That they’re the A-team marketers. Meanwhile, B2B marketers are, well, the B team.
As if B2B marketers sit around dreaming, “If only I could be a B2C marketer—oh, all the flashy ads and brand loyal customers I’d have!”
Being a B2B marketer isn’t better or worse, it’s just different. Everyday, we’re supporting a lengthy sales cycle, creating internal alignment, planning our content marketing, and working to understand the intricacies of often complex industries. And, it’s awesome. I love coming to work and solving the ever-changing puzzle of B2B marketing.
But, there are quite a few things we can pull from our B2C counterparts. B2C marketers are on the cutting-edge of creative content and design. With a short sales cycle, B2C can quickly gather invaluable learnings about consumer behavior. Moreover, they know how to connect with people to drive incredible brand loyalty. I know because I’ve done it. And as a B2C Benedict Arnold of sorts, I’m here to share some secrets.
B2C Marketing Tactics for a Creative B2B Marketing Strategy
1. Segment. Then sweeten the deal.
We talk about buyer personas a lot in B2B. But no one does customized content like a B2C company.
Think about the last time you browsed at on online retailer. You found something you liked, and then moved on with your life. A day goes by, and in your inbox pops one of those handy little, emails. “Hey Susie, looks like you forgot [suede pumps/fly fishing rod/air mattress]. Why you don’t come on back and buy ’em. We’ll even give you 20% off if you buy now!”
I don’t know about you, but those emails are so hard for me to ignore. It’s not another random sale, they’re talking to me, providing exactly what I wanted in the first place. On top of that, they’re offering me a deal.
Take it B2B:
Two words: drip emails (also known as nurture tracks). Learn to love them because if you aren’t nurturing your customers with specific emails that offer them what you they’re looking for, you’re missing out.
Learn how to master email nurture campaigns and watch your MQLs grow.
And, don’t forget the bonus offer. This sounds gimmicky, but it doesn’t have to be. The point is for you to offer something that lowers the risk for your prospect. Depending on your industry vertical, this can vary from a free-trial to an actual discount. So talk to sales and business development teams; ask what barriers are turning MQLs and SQLs away from moving forward?
At Kapost, we’re a big fan of “deminars.” These webinar-style demos allow a group of people to check out a specific area of our marketing platform in a low-risk way. The group atmosphere, where many different companies are present, removes the obligation of talking to sales one-on-one, while still allowing prospects to see the tool in action and even jump in with questions.
2. Be relevant.
Somehow, the B2B world has allowed itself to become a time-warp, where it’s business, business, business all the time, leaving little room for anything not 100% “serious.”
Meanwhile, the B2C world isn’t afraid to get a little weird and jump on the bandwagon of what people are talking about right now. My favorite example of this comes from Oreo. After a brief power outage during the 2013 Super Bowl, they posted this timely tweet. It got 12k retweets in less than an hour and people are STILL talking about it, over two years later.
Why? This content hits the “right3” we B2B marketers know and love:
- Right content: What still works in a power outage? Your cell phone, so you can check social media. Twitter is concise and timely.
- Right people: Let’s just assume that all people love cookies. It’s right up there with cat videos and sunshine.
- Right time: Again, social media is accessible on your phone. Plus, it’s the Super Bowl. The entire United States is dialed in, more so than during a presidential election.
Take it B2B:
Now, I’m not suggesting you post a Buzzfeed-esque click-bate article entitled with the 10 Most Eligible VPs in Manufacturing or start live-tweeting during a finance conference, complete with gifs and hashtags. But, incorporating timely or pop culture-relevant content can be a fun, effective way to engage customers, without losing the larger content value.
A timely topic—television show, movie, event—can be turned it into fodder for a blog post, like “How a Top Product Marketer Navigates Game of Thrones.” Or, take a cue from Netskope’s Movie Line Mondays, which ties classic movie quotes to an interesting lesson on cloud access security brokers.
3. Aim for proper product placement.
When you read B2C content, you are infrequently confused about what that company does. You understand the product and/or service they are trying to sell. Take this recipe from Aloha protein. They focus on a healthy recipe, probably supported by SEO, with a lovely image and some info on why you should give this healthier version a try. Then, right there in the recipe, you find a link to their product, protein powder. There’s no question in your mind that Aloha sells healthy protein powder and other “plant-based” ingredients. You just have to make the decision if you want to buy it or not.
Take it B2B:
This is where things get sticky (pun most definitely intended). Why? Because at a given state in the buyer’s journey, you may or may not be inclined to talk about your product. At least that’s what we’re taught: Top of the funnel content should be educational, not product-centric. Bottom of the funnel—only talk about your product and convince your prospect to buy.
But didactic and product-centric content don’t have to be mutually exclusive. And you shouldn’t sacrifice the value of educating your consumer about your product simply because the content is top of funnel.
By weaving the information about your business into top of the funnel content, just like Aloha, you can provide consumers with education, high-value content, that doesn’t leave them scratching their heads, asking “What does this company do again?”
Don’t let B2C have all the fun. Creative B2B marketers can take some cues—like testing different types of content or integrating product into top of the funnel content to engage customers along the buyer’s journey. Because whether it’s business or individual consumers, you content will inevitably be consumed by people. People, either in groups or individually, will make the purchase decision. So focus on people for B2B content that builds the type of brand loyalty that would make any B2C marketer jealous.