B2B Marketing; is it really that different?

Louise Attenborough, Chocolate Collective

Quite a few years ago, working in a large advertising agency, I was approached by a leading cinema brand to promote their private screenings to a B2B audience offering them the chance to deliver their next presentation with real wow.  Their plan was to use large full page ads within trade press to target these businesses and so wanted a ‘suitably corporate’ creative that would be ‘in keeping.’  I was triggered to think back to this brief a few weeks ago when someone challenged whether they, as a business targeting other small businesses, should be on Facebook.

One of the biggest mistakes many businesses make embarking on B2B marketing is to forget that they are people, dealing with people.  The CEO is still a husband, father or keen fisherman, the HR Director is still an auntie, dog lover and Foo Fighters fan.  While many business transactions are well-considered decisions, we’d be naïve to think they didn’t start or get shaped through emotion.  And our personal experiences and instincts play a huge role in this, influencing who we want to work with and which business feels right to engage with.

This is even truer for small businesses looking to target other small businesses where gut is a huge part of so many decisions and where owners sleep, eat and breathe their business alongside their daily lives.  They switch from reading the morning paper, to brainstorming a blog, to sharing a family dinner to fleshing out a proposal.  They consume all kinds of media and never once stop being who they are to interchange between them. So should B2B activity appear in traditionally B2C environments like Facebook?  Absolutely!  If they’re looking for a new accountant and an ad with a suitable message interrupts an evening flick through their newstream, the chances are, you’ll catch their attention.

When someone goes to work, they don’t put on a hat that prevents them from thinking or behaving like a human or indeed, like themselves.  Which is why we pushed back to the cinema brand and challenged them to feature in broadsheet media and hand out free cinema tickets – everyone loves a good film don’t they, business person or not!

If you’re looking for ways to target a B2B audience and are prepared to look at the challenge a bit differently, give us a call.