Following the publication of a recent Forrester report which evaluated how B2C companies have been quicker than B2B to engage the digital consumer, I wondered, what are those successful B2C strategies that B2B marketers can draw upon? During a recent partner event we held with Notion Capital, Susie Hughes, VP in our Singapore office, shared the following insight:
“There used to be a distinction between B2B and B2C. Now the lines are blurred – and B2B can learn from B2C.”
So I’ve decided to take a look at five things that the B2C sector is doing well and why:
With the rise of social media, it has become increasingly easy for brands to display their personality and directly engage with customers. Many B2C brands are using a recognisable brand voice and striking up conversations with their customers, engaging in a personal way. For example, Dove is kind with its real beauty campaign, Oreo Cookies is fun and whimsical with its creative social gifs and Tesco Mobile is informative, providing how-to links and articles on its social feed. B2B brands are targeting businesses – but within them are decision makers who are also consumers, therefore it is important for B2B companies to find a voice that resonates with individuals on a personal level.
As B2B brands develop their personal voice, they can better tell their brand story and deliver ongoing powerful storytelling. Many B2C companies do this well, such as UK brand innocent, which speaks to its audience in an authentic way, creates engaging campaigns such as the Big Knit, and tells their stories on their blog. Considering that the previously mentioned Forrester report showed that blogs are the third least used channels by B2B marketing decision makers (only ahead of legacy channels, TV and radio) – it could be time for more B2B brands to utilise blogs for brand storytelling.
Consumer brands have long recognised the effectiveness of stunts in grabbing column inches and creating impactful brand awareness. For smaller B2B companies, PR stunts may be seen as expensive, frivolous or risky. However, stunts can be simple, inexpensive and have tangible outcomes. For example; the socially chatty brand, Michel et Augustin, a French biscuit SME, was asked to send samples to Starbucks. Instead, the brand sent two of its employees and publicised their adventure across social media with videos and the hashtag #AllezHowardUnCafé (#HowardGoesToACafe). Within 48 hours, Michel et Augustin had signed a deal with Starbucks.
Many B2B brands are sitting on a treasure trove of data, yet are not taking advantage of it. B2C companies often hire external research companies to obtain similar amounts of data but and then package it up and persuade their audience. Jawbone, the wearable tech company behind UP which tracks fitness, sleep, diet and other habits, is a B2C brand that uses its own data well. They present their information in a number of interesting and often interactive ways, whether on sleep disturbances, effective methods for weight loss or how people’s habits change during holidays such as Valentine’s Day.
Programmatic Ad Buying
In the post demographic-targeting age, programmatic tools are enabling marketers to target the most relevant customers across different devices, and in different environments based on data. Brands that engage in storytelling and show personality can better appeal to the individual, and with programmatic ad buying, brands can go one step further by setting variables to ensure maximum exposure and utilise the perfect audience, message, location and time. For example; Nike’s 2014 World Cup Phenomenal Shot campaign targeted fans with immersive 3D mobile display ads, which they could interact with within seconds of the live action out on the field. This created nearly 2.2 million engagements across 200 countries with fans exploring and customising Nike’s content in real time.
Post produced in partnership with Allison+Partners.