There’s no doubt about it, the campaigns that live long in the memory are almost invariably consumer-oriented. This is no surprise – they are designed to be seen by much wider audiences.
But they are also, generally, more creative. In the B2B space, particularly here in China, all too often marketers want to ‘play it safe’. They don’t want risk creating something that might be too unfamiliar for their specialist target audience.
But that’s no reason B2B has to be dull!
In China, marketers of a particular industry will often go with a strategy because that's what they, and their competitors, have always done. This results in the same drab, repetitive marketing. In China, especially, some of the B2B marketing can be terrible – a focus on logos, photos of the product, and empty slogans.
Instead of following the same forgettable marketing tactics, we recommend taking elements from consumer marketing and applying these to your own marketing.
Here are a few examples:
Use the product to make something
What does the client produce? Is it nutritional supplements? Plastic bottles? Steel for the automotive industry?
Commission an artist to make something using the product – a sculpture, or picture, for instance. Film and photograph him or her at work and use these in your communications. Make a competition where the work is available to win. Do it live at a trade fair – way more interesting than handing out pens and business cards.
Leverage the consumer benefits
OK, so we’ve all had a drink out of a plastic cup – branded with a beer or soft drink logo. The drinks company isn’t making those cups; it’s a plastics manufacturer.
That doesn’t mean all the marketing materials have to talk about dimensions and weight and cost per 10,000 units. Get consumer interviews, where real people talk about the cup being great because it doesn’t split when you squeeze it too hard because your team score a goal, or it’s made out of safe materials which is peace of mind when your toddler chews on it.
Think about what the end user wants, and you are in your client’s customer’s mind.
The Jean Claude Van-Damme Epic Split stunt for Volvo was funny and amazing
This one is hardest – and if the joke falls flat, well, you’ve had it!
But try! B2B is serious business. People make purchases not based on emotional reactions, but on balance sheets. This doesn’t mean they’re not people too, and if you can make them laugh, you might be more memorable, and stand out from the pretty dull chatter of your industry’s B2B marketing.
These are just a few ideas – keep your eyes on the latest consumer marketing to find some new ideas for your next B2B marketing campaign.