People, not (just) product
In our last post we teased out some of the key distinctions between B2B and B2C marketing. But we also pointed to a certain cross-over that’s emerged in terms of B2B’s approach to messaging – and what it can learn from the personality of the B2C sector.
So what’s the common thread? Why are more brands in the B2B space dipping into the B2C toolkit by relaxing their tone, and re-energising their visuals?
Simply put, it’s because people remain the decision-makers in any business. They want products or services to be more accessible – and the businesses behind them more accountable.
Most importantly, they’re interested in having a conversation.
Something to talk about
It’s this convergence of audience behaviour across the traditional divide that presents businesses with new opportunities for engagement. And smart business marketers have recognised that.
Naturally there are risks. Business brands may have invested decades into their public-facing identity. A certain distance or detachment in tone of voice may have worked for years to communicate trust, soberness, authority, reliability.
For instance, a revision to a company name or logo may alienate or confuse a generation of steady buyers, as Royal Mail in the UK discovered to their horror some years ago. And social media is a potential minefield for any company – or individual, for that matter – if not handled properly.
So if you’re a business, how can you get the messaging mix just right, so that you’re talking to people rather than about a process?
Beyond the B2C small talk
At TMM, we think the following B2C-led tactics can be harnessed to great strategic effect in your broader B2B positioning and campaigns.
- Share your values
What does your business stand for? Is it working to provide regional employment, is it retooling for a new age of environmental responsibility, does it have a reputation for a vibrant and supportive workplace culture? Make sure it’s part of your public face – businesses want to align with businesses that reflect their own culture and ideals.
- Make it (professionally) personal
A lot of B2C marketing utilises the popular ‘persona’ approach, where ideal customers are profiled based on things like where they live, what their tastes are like and what their disposable income is. B2B must do the same, but with a bigger matrix that better represents the average buying committee. That’s because identifying the people who work across those different approval levels and what their responsibilities are in the buying cycle can pay real dividends. The personal touch can go a long way in any professional industry.
- Leverage your social media strategically
Social media is not just good for selling consumer goods. The reach of these platforms is such that they can serve a vital role in brand building even for the biggest industries. Plus, it’s a great way to demonstrate expertise, or communicate your enterprising culture. Posting industry-relevant content regularly on LinkedIn and even Facebook – and strategic use of Groups – can be of immense value if you’re looking to establish connections, influence people’s decision making, and convert leads.
- Take a more visual approach
Let’s face it – even business customers used to sifting through dense, technical information appreciate a little help when you’re making your case to them. Show them something – a mini-documentary, a talking head, an animated explainer, an infographic. After all, you may be selling big pieces of metal or providing a specialist service in a complex field, but there’s no reason you can’t give your claims a little sizzle to go with the steak – or, as we say around here, a little sparkle to go with the substance.
Now, it would be wrong to suggest that wholesale adoption of a B2C mindset and playbook is going to serve you for your whole of business marketing proposition – classic sector marketing techniques must still lead your efforts, as argued here.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t inject a little energy into things, to try and shake things up within reasonable limits and give your prospects something to engage with on a more personal level.
TMM means business!
There are a lot of moving parts to think of when all is said and done. If you need a bit of guidance on how to close that gap between the hard-nosed necessities of your industrial marketing and the people you’re trying to reach, TMM can assist.
We’ll help you identify where your brand can afford to get a little more personal, and how to go about it – after all, when it comes to manufacturing marketing magic, we’re very industrious bunch!
Give us a call and let’s get down to business 🙂
Want to know more? Learn about our involvement with the Hunter Manufacturing Awards, discover how we can make your content work for you, and the trick to writing the ideal LinkedIn article in the TMM blog.