How to Take Advantage of B2C Marketing Lessons in Your B2B Campaigns

Posted by Josh Turner in B2B Lead Generation & Sales Insights, LinkedIn Marketing Insights

For years conventional wisdom has been that B2B and B2C marketing require completely different approaches.

The thinking goes: the audience and context is different, therefore, your approach needs to be different.

B2C marketing campaigns need to appeal more to the emotional side. B2B the more logical side.

B2C needs to be fun, entertaining, memorable. B2B needs to hit the facts.

These make for great talking points and I won’t deny that the context of WHY someone would purchase as a consumer or as a business is different, but at the end of the day, in both circumstances you are selling to people.

And as people, we look to reduce (or avoid) pain, and increase pleasure.

Because of this, we've seen many of the traditional lines between B2B marketing and B2C marketing blur over the years – which gives us plenty to learn from how B2C companies market their products and services.

Let’s take a look at 5 Lessons from B2C Marketing to include in your B2B Campaigns.

Focus on Niche

Large B2C brands are experts at marketing to their niches.

They know how to appeal to a specific target in their marketing messages.

Let’s look at Microsoft’s Surface Pro.

A computer/tablet that has tons of audiences that can use it. But Microsoft being the smart marketers that they are have broken out some specific users they want to target and feature the use cases of those niches in their advertisements.

Check out this example targeting students:

When we start working with clients in our business the first place we always start is by developing the Prospect Profile.

Who is it that you want to target?

Don’t fall into the trap of saying, ‘I can work with ANY business. And ANY industry.’

While that may be true, we see the best results when you can create some client avatars who are the MOST ideal users.

Oftentimes we’ll start by looking at our client’s current client roster and see what similarities we can find.

Are there similar company sizes? Are there industries they work with that have an easier sales process? What job titles in the organization are making these buying decisions?

Anything we can do to narrow down on the exact prospect and to eliminate the prospects that aren’t as profitable.

It’s the 80/20 rule in action. Focus on the 20% of prospects who will make 80% of the difference in your business.

Cut Fluffy Jargon

“Market leading”, “first in class”, “disruptive”, and other terms are vague at best and inconsequential to the decision-making process.

Your prospects aren’t making their decision based on you being a ‘market leader’…they want to increase their effectiveness in their role, save the company money, make the company money, avoid headaches, save time, and avoid pressure from their bosses.

Nowhere in there is their number goal to work with a market leading vendor.

How do you solve the above issues for your prospect?

Be direct.

If you want to share your bona fides, be specific. And tie it to outcomes that your prospects desire.

Which leads us to the need to…

Build Authority

At the grocery store you might refer to this as ‘Name Brand’; the brand that everyone knows and trusts.

So the question is… how do you become the ‘Name Brand’ in your industry?

That is, how do you become the person that your prospects know before they even speak with you the first time?

Some of the basics of PR certainly help (guest posting, podcast appearances, etc.), but beyond that we find that building a community that appeals to your prospect’s interests is step #1.

We call these Authority Leadership Platforms and they are one of the strongest ways to get your foot in the door with your prospects.

Aside from running a group, you want to be visible to your prospects elsewhere.

That means using your group, along with your profile and or business page to post content that is of interest to your prospects…not just you.

AND…

Create a Personal Connection with Your Prospects

Whether that is on LinkedIn, email, or in-person meetings, you need to start relationships with the decision makers you are targeting.

By relationship I don’t mean reach out cold and try and sell them or book them into a consult right away.

You want to be a bit more strategic and intentional in your outreach.

You want to systematically warm them up before offering a sales appointment or consultation.

On LinkedIn and email we do that with our Multi-Touchpoint Messaging Campaigns, but we also utilize content (workshops, webinars, blogs, videos) to provide value to our prospects that they can use whether they move forward with us or not.

You might be thinking… how do BIG, splashy B2C marketing campaigns do this?

And the fact is, there are a number of ways they do that: from showcasing the smiling faces of their employees at your local Target outlet to the more common approach at “relationship building” by utilizing the power of the spokesperson.

A company will take a personality or celebrity that has a strong connection with the general public and use that to help promote their product or service.

One of the most prolific spokesmen of the last decade, Peyton Manning is a prime example.

He’s known as a generally likeable figure and when consumers see his face in a Nationwide commercial, they bring their relationship or experience of Peyton Manning and apply it to the product he is selling.

When he tells you “Nationwide is on your side”, it has an effect of social proof. While he likely isn’t a close friend of yours, it is a similar effect of thinking this person that I like and or trust believes in this product, so maybe I should look into it more.

Turn Customers into Advocates

If you are a sports fan, you’ve likely seen the following scenario play out in a post game interview after a Super Bowl champion is crowned.

Interviewer: ‘You just won the super bowl…what are you going to do next?’

Super Bowl MVP: ‘We’re going to Disney World.’

Now in cases like the above, there is likely to be some promotional agreement between Mickey and the athlete, but it’s a prime example of an advocate for a consumer product.

Or for another common example, have you ever been out to eat and seen a promotional offer on the table telling you that to “Check-in to Our Restaurant on Facebook and receive a half-price appetizer today!”

This is just another advocacy program built-in to many restaurant chains.

But in the B2B world, what does it look like to turn your customers into advocates?

This means asking for testimonials and referrals outright. The best time to ask for these things is when your client shares some good news they’ve received.

Don’t be afraid to ask. Today’s buyers (both consumers and corporate) look for social proof and recommendations. Here’s one way to ask your clients for a testimonial:

“Hey John,

We're gearing up for a big new program launch in a few months, and I'm looking to pull together some new testimonial videos.

The team and I obviously thought of you because we're looking for some success stories to feature for some of our clients who have gotten great results.

Would you be open to doing a testimonial?

Just let me know if you're open to it, and if so I'll send you some more info on the format and next steps in the coming week.

Thanks!”

The process to ask for referrals is very similar. All it takes are a few slight changes to the text above, asking if there is anyone they know that might benefit from the product or service you provide. Now, you may even decide to sweeten the pot by offering your client a discount on their monthly billing for any clients they refer.

Giving them an added incentive is always a stronger play to get more results.

Now in all these circumstances, the key is in making a connection with your prospect. People these days are sick of bulk email and robo-calls and the results from those types of campaigns are decreasing across the board. You need to show them you’re a person who can help and you need to treat them like a person as well, not like you’re speaking to the steel walls they work in.

So the more you can give them the opportunity to engage with you one-on-one the quicker path you’ll have to the sale.

To sum it up, in all marketing situations (B2B or B2C), you NEED to know:

  • Who is making the buying decision?
  • What pain points does this prospect currently have OR what problem are they trying to solve?
  • What goes into their decision making process?

This last one is often overlooked, but it’s a question we’ll often ask outright in a sales conversation. Before we get too far into the sales process, we want to ensure we’ve got the right person on the phone.

Do they have a committee of people that make these decisions? If so, what can we do to get the committee involved in the process? What do they need to hear?

Or is it something they alone have the authority to make the call on? If so, great! Let’s dive into it.

If you’d like to learn more about how to get a list of qualified prospects delivered direct to your door with all the training in how to systematically move them into a consultation or appointment, click here to see if you’re a fit for our Linked University Rocket Launch program!