Read this if you’re in B2B marketing

If you know anything about me and the values of Pink Digital then you’ll know that I am passionate about breaking down the belief that B2B brands must market in a completely different, impersonal way to B2C brands. I’ve written a post previously (back in October 2017) about the importance of remembering that your customers are humans and, how the global digital disruption (oooh, buzzword), needs to be considered for all organisations when creating your marketing strategy.

Now I’m going to talk more around how people’s personal beliefs, likes, dislikes, preferences and beliefs are impacting decisions in the workplace. I.e. why you should stop thinking something won’t work for you because it’s a traditional B2C tactic and why you need to lean into content that appeals to people.

First some questions: when was the last time you can honestly say you made a decision that was completely against your personal beliefs but was for the good of your company? Have you ever stopped working for a company because of how they operate or interact with you?
Have you ever found a new company to work with because their messaging was so up your street?

The chances are you answered: not for a long time, if ever; yes; yes.

There are 2 reasons for this.

1) You have been hired by your company for your expertise, mindset and experience. This means that it is very unlikely that if something is fundamentally against your beliefs personally, that it will benefit the company. You have been hired for your opinion. You know that and so will likely exercise your right to that opinion when making decisions on behalf of the company. Otherwise, I’m sorry but you shouldn’t be in your job.

2) It is physically impossible to completely separate your personal preferences for consumption, interaction and values, regardless of what you are researching or buying for. It’s not in our nature as human beings.

This means that who your company is and how your company operate are two of the most important aspects of your marketing strategy. And, you need to have a crystal clear view of who your target audience is – deeper than their job title.

You have to understand what they like, what they dislike, what their hobbies are, whether they have children, love sports, hate sports, are into fashion. Where do they over index? What values are important to them? All of these different elements can help to inform your tone, messaging, visuals and placements. It’s also why it is so important to continue to invest in brand awareness, not just sell, sell, sell your products. No one cares if you have the most cost-effective solution if you aren’t an ethical company nor will they want to partner with a company who’s employees are not happy or passionate – for example.

B2C marketing is often seen as the holy grail of marketing and super fun to work on because their campaigns focus on people and lifestyle. But you can appeal to people as well. Make people excited about your brand. Relate to them through their interests in more than just a badging exercise – find an organic connection between an element of their persona & your brand.

Then leverage the shit out of it.

Show the people at the core of the organisations you are targeting that you are there for them, that you understand them and that you can help them. Create an organic, human connection. The sales will soon follow if your website, products & sales team can do their job.

Brands vs. People – who’s at fault for marketing campaigns gone wrong?

*This article was written in October 2017 following the uproar around a marketing campaign activated by Dove*

Dove recently came under fire for being racist. Dove. The women’s skincare brand that has always championed uniqueness and beauty in everyone. How does that happen?

 A makeup artist shared a picture (the still of a video) on the internet of their latest campaign – the internet took hold of it and went wild. It appeared as though Dove were advertising a black woman taking off her top to reveal a white woman underneath. So you can see why people thought it was racist… it doesn’t look good. I clicked the article showing the image myself thinking how can a brand get away with this?!

 For anyone who hasn’t seen the full ad yet, it was intended to show how Dove is suitable for all skin types, which is way more in keeping with the general perception/values of the brand. Though, unfortunately, the still illustrated something entirely different. Dove publicly apologised for the content and the way it had been perceived but since this, thousands of people have viewed the full ad with everything in context and subsequently supported the brand. Apparently there is no need for them to apologise – the video ad in full has a lovely message. But everyone has their own opinion. (View the ad here).

 Another example of a campaign gone wrong is the use of a # for pizza company DiGiorno – #WhyIStayed. They meant this to be used in a light hearted context about pizza being why people stay together or stay somewhere. However, this was also a # for a domestic abuse campaign. The company received a ton of complaints about being insensitive etc but of course, this was not the intention at all.

 There are even more examples of campaigns that have gone wrong here.

 What I wonder though, is how have we come to presume negative motives? How can we be so quick to judge something without seeing it’s full context? Why are we so quick to see the negative in things? Are we just wired that way?

 Last week I attended an event held by DigitasLBi called “Make the internet great again”. There were many thought provoking conversations had, mainly around how the internet used to be this amazing place and now it’s full of hate, criminals and fake news. I can’t help thinking back to some of those conversations when reading about Dove. Had the ad only been seen on TV in its full entity, would this have happened? Probably not.

The internet is a wonderful thing – most of us couldn’t last much more than a day without logging onto something – but we do have a responsibility to keep it that way. Does this lay in the hands of brands? Should they be more careful about how all the individual elements can be taken out of context and be construed in a negative way? Or should we as consumers remember to look at the full picture, get the facts and try hard not presume anything negative was intended?

 In my opinion brands do have a responsibility to culture check (and # check) everything and then, double check again for anything that may cause offence or be taken out of context to be seen in a negative light. Especially when such sensitive topics are involved. The most important thing to a brand is peoples’ perception and we as consumers love to share negative stories, so brands need to consider this. I do, however, think we have a responsibility, as consumers, to understand full context and intention before partaking in viral negativity.

I am also wholeheartedly in agreement that those who are offended/upset/angered by certain situations/comments/campaigns are within their right to feel that way and that those not in their situation have no right to dictate how they should feel.

This blog was first posted October 2017, available here.