B2B Has a Lot to Teach B2C, Too
Recently, I was interviewed by Corporate Event News about strategies that B2B marketers could adopt from their B2C counterparts to make their events more memorable. Not too long before, my colleague penned an essay about how the B2B set should remember that fun isn’t just for consumers.
Indeed, it’s an important conversation to be having. The B2C creative sensibility is continually making B2B events better.
But what can the B2C crowd can learn from B2B experiential marketers? Consider just a few of many lessons:
Don’t discount data.
Emotional reactions “can give you an advantage in decision making if you make proper use of it,” according to Psychology Today. And yet, when the look of success is clear — that is, objectively defined — the path to achieving it is, too.
B2C marketers are much more likely to make decisions — or even to measure success — based primarily on gut instinct or emotional reactions.
B2B marketers, on the other hand, are more accustomed to setting KPIs and identifying target ranges for each, so that when we’re mapping an experience, we know where we’re trying to go. And when we’re measuring success, we can do so honestly.
It’s the difference between “wow, that was so cool” and “wow, that was so cool — and we hit all our targets and exceeded our objectives by 76 percent.”
Use purposeful prospecting to find the right audience.
Consumer stunts that attract hordes of eyeballs no doubt have value when done right. But experiences that seek out the right eyeballs are infinitely more impactful. B2B marketers prospect like no one else.
And in the consumer space, it’s worth taking a page from their book. When brands seek out their audiences not only by analyzing basic demographics, but also by assessing their intersectionality, their multitude of interests, and how they spend their days, the potential amplifies.
Consider, for example, one of our automotive clients that had long targeted a mix of motorsports enthusiasts and luxury consumers, skewing heavily male, in a consumer marketing program. The program was, year after a year, a hit.
But when we helped the client identify the design enthusiasts and other culturally engaged audiences who would be worth targeting and retool the program to connect with them, the impact of the program — the quantifiable results — improved exponentially.
Because often, the right people are found in unexpected but ultra-effective places.
Implement holistic communications plans.
Tweet about what you’re doing, sure. Real-time social media posts are just about the price of entry on consumer marketing programs.
But communicate with your audiences more comprehensively, too. Communicate Bbfore, during, and after your event. On the channels your audience uses. With meaningful, tonally appropriate messaging your audience is open to receiving.
B2B marketers routinely send follow-up communications, complementary content, multimedia assets, surveys, and more to engage their audiences when an event is not imminently approaching.
Consumers, too, welcome content from the brands they engage with. As long as the brands respect them.
When you’re planning an event, consider your message before, during, and after. Never let a consumer wonder if your company is still around.
To that end…
Plan for the long haul.
The value of the customer lifecycle is well-documented across industries and audience segments. What’s that mean in practice? While the immediate sale will always have value, customer loyalty is even more important.
That’s another place where B2B marketers tend to get it right. They know the customer journey can be a long one. They plan to cultivate relationships over time, turning prospects to customers to brand advocates.
B2C marketers would be wise to engage similarly with their audiences over the longer-term.
Tactically, that’s going to look different for different brands, but you can expect it to involve cultivating conversations and communities, online and off; proffering excellent and personalized service; and delivering the kind of experiences that intertwine your brand identity with the identity of your audience.
Give audiences them the ammo, the incentives, and above all, the desire to become promoters of your brand. And thanking them appropriately when they do.
The payoff is clear.