B2B marketing has been evolving for some time, moving into what has typically been more of the B2C scene. Social media, humor and a focus on experience have all been seeping into the B2B marketing world for years, and for good reason. Whether it’s B2C or B2B, it’s all human-to-human.
What began as a gradual trend has been catapulted into a full-blown transformation due to COVID-19. Suddenly, the marketing techniques that worked in December of 2019 were abruptly passe in April of 2020. Whether they’re buying for their home or their business, people want something more from the brands they choose to invest in and trust.
There are a couple of elements at work with this shift. One of them is that, with the quick transition to work-from-home that impacted billions across the globe, there’s been increased cloudiness in what used to be a pretty defined line between work and home concerns. Your to-do list may suddenly be something like, “1. Prepare board presentation. 2. Clean the peanut butter out of the dryer (don’t ask). 3. Set up the guest closet as a Zoom room.” What may have seemed bizarre a year ago has become universal experience.
Second, people want more from their brands since COVID hit, and brands welcome that connection. Even if you’re one of the few industries sailing along without sustaining a significant punch from the crisis, you’re still aware of the difficulties people and companies are experiencing. People seem to recognize that even in the rare case when business continues as usual, it’s just not business-as-usual right now for most.
Take a look at three ways that you can pull the more human techniques of B2C marketing and infuse them into your B2B marketing for a better connection with your audiences:
Give Them an Experience: For years, B2C companies have been investing in the customer experience, offering personalized and customized online shopping with recommendations based on behaviors. They offer rich visuals and a consistent look and feel to their brand, so that customers begin to connect certain emotions with that brand.
B2B marketing is headed the same direction. If your web design feels too businesslike or standard, it may be time to look at it through the lens of a buyer looking for an experience. When they’re finished on your site, will they feel like they’ve had an experience or just made a purchase?
Invest in Funny Business: Nobody was quite ready to laugh that second week in March, but it’s pretty clear that laughter continues to be great for our mental health, even in times that feel a bit glum. You should abandon all thoughts of holding another boring, hour-long webinar packed full of information and think about how to present the same value with humor. Is it a series of animated video shots that are infused with inside jokes from your industry? Or maybe you still hold the webinar, but it’s bracketed by some silly contests on Instagram to get interest revved up.
Empathy Rules: Take time to think about the messages in your B2B marketing and whether your audiences are feeling heard and understood right now. Is your industry reeling from a volatile pricing situation, or struggling to manage data volume? Acknowledge and respond to the unique difficulties in your industry at this moment, and it will signal to your target market that you’re not there just to sell, but to partner with them and help them.
At SJC Marketing, we want you to know that we’re listening, too. We know that many budgets have been cut, and we are here to help you get the best out of your B2B marketing plan.