Business to Business or B2B has always been looked upon as boring and uncool in comparison to Business to Consumer or B2C. Things are changing fast in fact, very soon the line of separation between B2B and B2C advertising will slowly disappear. Thanks to social media, businesses are once again becoming human.
While there is a huge set of marketers who still doubt digital marketing in the B2B space but you can’t ignore it when you’re deciding the overall marketing initiatives and budgets. “99% marketers rated social media as either very important or somewhat important for their organization,” Regalix Research reported last year.
2015 was an interesting year for B2B digital and social media marketing. With key objectives surrounding around Branding and Lead Generation, Twitter and LinkedIn remained the popular networks. In fact, a latest report from Hubspot informs that LinkedIn is the clear winner when it comes to procuring leads.
Speaking to Marketing Land late last year Shari Jones, CMO, XOJET – an American private jet charter company that’s using LinkedIn extensively, said “We are specifically connecting with clients who are primarily business executives and industry leaders.”
The company is using LinkedIn specifically for brand building and recruitment. “Anyone who visits our LinkedIn page can see our commitment to recruiting and retaining the industry’s best pilots; and that reflects our brand’s emphasis on delivering a world-class experience that puts our passengers first.”
Like B2C, content has already started playing a big role in the dictionary of B2B marketers.
Don’t be surprised if I told you ‘Content Marketing’ was the word of the year – The Association of National Advertisers.
A major role has been played by brands in aggressively adopting video storytelling. Volvo Trucks has mastered the art with their Live Test Series. The Epic Split with Jean-Claude Van Damme video not only got the brand more than 100 million video views, the brand also witnessed an increase of 46% in consideration among truck buyers.
Last year, Volvo came up with another innovative ad that featured 4-year-old Sophie driving a full size truck with a remote control. The result is an amazing ‘Look who’s driving’ film that shows how the Volvo truck can withstand almost anything. Sophie is having the time of her life ramming the giant truck right onto swinging boxes and concrete buildings. The truck braves fireworks, water filled yards while going off track most of the time, thanks to the 4-year-old’s highly destructive spree.
‘To show what the truck can do, we want to give it a real challenge. What test driver is more reckless than an unpredictable four-year-old?’ said Ricard Fritz, Vice President Volvo Trucks. The video not only succeeded in demonstrating the toughness of the new Volvo FMX, but also made for a memorable watch.
Back home, Century Ply, a synonymous name with plyboards decided to take up it’s 2014 initiative of rewarding carpenters. Last year the brand decided to recognize the work of carpenters. It appealed to 200 pujo pandals through ‘Smoke Free Pujo’ to nominate one of their carpenters for the campaign. Three extraordinary carpenters among these 200 nominations were chosen to be honoured as ‘CenturyPly Heroes 2015’.
CenturyPly’s tribute video is a relevant effort at brand building. By recognizing the efforts of those who work hard behind the scenes to make beautiful Durga Pujo pandals, the brand gained an emotional advantage over other plywood and laminate makers. Not only does the brand create a place for itself in the hearts of its consumers and build brand advocates but also evolves beyond being just a plywood maker to being an enabler of beautiful works of wooden art.
2016 won’t be any different and ‘Content Marketing’ would be at the driving seat. “Creating more engaging content remains a top priority for marketers (72 percent) with 41 percent seeking better story tellers,” said the latest report from Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs.
Visual content isn’t being left out. The trend evolved in 2015 for B2C; brands left no opportunity and churned out some of the most amazing visual content with a cool connect to the brand. Read: The 27 Winning Brand Connect Visuals Of 2015.
B2B is going to do the same in 2016, after all humans are conversing with humans, even if they are sellers or business partners. “Having a better understanding of what content is effective and what isn’t remains important to 65 percent of those surveyed while 51 percent said creating visual content was important.”
Facebook as a network has played a small role but B2B marketers are re-looking the network. “Benefits for Facebook – 90 percent say increased exposure, 77 percent citing increased traffic as a plus. Additionally, 68 percent agreed that Facebook provided marketplace insight with 65 percent saying it generated leads and improved search rankings,” informed the Social Media Examiner report 2015.
There are challenges too – the biggest one being Adblocking which has hit the marketers real bad. Adblocking (the use of apps to remove unwanted ads that kill the user experience) is a problem created by advertisers themselves. B2B is not going to be spared and mobile will only make the landscape more challenging in the coming years.
India is yet to be hit by the Adblocking tsunami but the only thing that could save marketers is the adoption of content marketing. Definitely ‘Content is the King’ and content marketing is here to stay and evolve for B2B as well as B2C players.