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.

I have a business, now what?

So much effort goes into creating business plans, understanding the rules (there are lots, I’m learning), how to fund your company, do you need any investment and setting yourself up with a website/social channels. But then what? Panicked posts while you frantically try to look at insights of what you post using the built-in analytics tools of each channel, spend hours trying to work out what everything means before starting the cycle all over again.

It doesn’t need to be like this. This post explores 5 top-tips for getting started online – from your website to your social feed. Start with the fundamentals.

  1. Develop an online brand – and be consistent. Ever heard of the phrase matching luggage? Well it’s essential for any business, particularly start-ups. You need to make sure the brand you use on your website is the same across your social feeds. Of course there can be a little variation on content and tone but it should all be identifiable as your brand. This includes colour palette, font, imagery style and tone of voice. Work what best represents your company and apply it to everything you do.
  2. Know what you want your website to do – and do it well. Spend some time working out what your online value proposition is. That is, when a customer comes to your website, what is the one thing you want them to do above anything else? Read your blogs? Buy a product? Donate to your cause? Knowing this can then help you design your website. Keep it in mind throughout every page design, all the content and the call-to-actions.
  3. Be strategic with strategic with your choice of social channel – make sure you look through the lens of your audience & objectives, rather than what’s hot right now. Just because the whole world is suddenly talking about Tik Tok doesn’t mean it’s going to help you grow your business. Go where your customers are and develop goals for each channel you own.
  4. Plan, plan, plan – it comes without saying that preparation is absolutely key for any business. This is inclusive of your content strategy. Make sure you have editorial calendars, spend some time block scheduling your social posts and map out where you are headed. A method I tend to find works well is looking at the full 12 months ahead, note down key tent pole moments throughout the year, then look 2-3 months ahead and start to think about some rough content ideas, then one 1 month out get a little more fleshed out and try to keep 1-2 weeks ahead of your social content. Just make sure you do have room for flexibility if and when you need to react to something.
  5. Analyse, learn and test – make sure you’re assessing your websites performance regularly, learn what works and test new things out. The same can be said for any marketing tactic you employ across all channels – search, social and display/video advertising. It is SO important to always check back and see what works and doesn’t so you can continually optimise your strategy. I recommend, depending on budget/activity levels that you keep an eye on this each week (absolute minimum and some tactics require daily monitoring) but make more strategic decisions every 1-2 months after deeper analysis. By this point you should have enough data to really understand if there are any trends.

So, I hope that helped! Marketing can seem overwhelming once you dig down into the details and too often I see companies panicking and saying things like “I need a website” before rushing to create one that aids their business in no way whatsoever. Or, my favourite is that they’re “doing social” or “trying paid search” – great!! But you need to understand why you are doing it and how it will help you reach your objectives.

Still confused? Drop us an email to see how we can help you.

The value of being Insta-worthy

If your business involves a restaurant/bar/pub/shop or any in-person events then one thing you should think about is whether or not you are insta-worthy.

Instagram is not a trend that is on its way out and it’s something you can leverage to help boost your business. Having an a venue that looks great in a picture will no only attract the social influencers of the world, but it will also help you attract regular attendees/customers AND generate free advertising.

People love things that look good and photograph well. And you can literally google “instagrammable locations” to be drowning in blog posts/articles, spanning cities and countries providing you with the ultimate locations to spice up your feed.

Then, in flock the masses, they take their pictures, upload to social, tell their friends (if you’re lucky, tag your business) and you suddenly have some free advertising. Even if they don’t tag you, the likeliness is their friends will ask where they are and so spreads the new word-of-mouth.

If you’re really savvy you’ll, next to your instagrammable location, ensure you have a note around what # to use AND which handles they can tag you at.

So, next time you organise an event – definitely think about this. And, if you currently own a venue – definitely think about this.

Either way. Everyone should think about this.

“It’s funny how on MSN we used to say BRB, we don’t say that any more. Now, we live here”

The way we view digital needs to change – it’s no longer a single channel that we just need to incorporate into our strategy. It’s a do it or die situation (in the context of a company’s bottom line), it’s a way of life now with its own ecosystem. Not just another way to reach an audience.

 I’ve seen this phrase posted on a lot of channels such as Instagram and Facebook:

 “It’s funny how on MSN we used to say BRB, we don’t say that any more. Now, we live here” 

It’s so true. When was the last time you worried about not being able to communicate online? For those in the UK, even keeping touch while in Europe has been made easier with the reduction in data roaming costs. Most mobile network providers also offer packages/offers for those travelling outside of Europe, not to mention the fact that Wi-Fi seems to be a necessity now. We’re transitioning from a world where Wi-Fi is a luxury and something you advertise, to assuming it is always there – and when it’s not, restaurants and hotels, or where ever you are use it a selling tactic (in a, let’s switch off from the outside world kind of way). We are always connected.

I remember when moving away from your friends meant only speaking to them on the phone occasionally or sending postcards etc (I am only 25 so this was not that long ago). Now, two and a bit years after finishing university I still talk to my best group of girls every single day, despite the fact we are spread across the entire of the UK, Switzerland and soon to be Australia. A bad or good day at work, a new outfit, a new date and even what we had for dinner – we all know within minutes. They know everything about my life and I know about theirs. We are all there to talk, swap stories and help each other when needed. We don’t need to schedule in time to be have a conversation – the time is always there because we are always there, online, connected, in our WhatsApp group chat.

 So what does this mean?

It means that everyone is competing against everyone. Companies no longer just have to compete against other companies. They have to compete for time and engagement against friends, family, work colleagues, media and the list goes on. Brands have to reach their audiences on devices, platforms, channels (whatever you want to call them) that are already saturated with activity from let’s face it, way more interesting sources.

Companies/brands need to be clever. They need to know the right time, the right place, what and who to target with their content. They need to be available with all the right information on whatever device the user is using. It’s no longer enough to have a website – you need to have a responsive design, your load time on mobile needs to be reduced and you need to refresh the content regularly to work with Google’s algorithms. You need to have the ability to be super analytical so you can understand who is visiting your website, what they are doing, where they leave, why didn’t they complete their transaction? You need to be on social – at the right time, with the right content and with the right team behind it ready to react when needed. You need to recognise users and their behaviour so you can deliver ads at the optimal moment that they want to click through to your website.

Think about companies like Uber, Deliveroo and Netflix. They all address one thing: the desire for cost and time effective immediacy and convenience. You can get an Uber car within minutes to your precise location with no money in your pocket, you can order your favourite food from your favourite restaurant to your own home and you can watch your favourite TV shows and films without leaving your house.

Consider this from a marketing perspective: you need to make it easy for other companies or consumers to get the information they want – people don’t want to travel, people don’t want to dedicate an hour of their time to one topic. People want to be able to finish reading an article or watching a video on their phone/tablet when they have to leave to go elsewhere. They don’t want to and don’t expect to have to wait until they reach their desktop again to resume what it was they were doing. So you need to make sure you can provide them with this.

But you also need to think about the other side of it. Yes, your content needs to cut through the noise but not too much customers feel like you are invading their privacy, their online space. Ads that appear in articles and cover your phone screen are just irritating. I couldn’t tell you what the last one that appeared on my phone was because I didn’t care – all I cared about was where the “x” to close it down was. I get irritated when I am reading something online and all of a sudden it feels like the I’m reading about something completely different – only to realise that I started reading an ad. Please just stop doing this. Companies also need to know when to stop. I bought a pair of trainers after clicking through on a Facebook ad once, but then after I had bought the trainers, I was followed by these ads for months and months. I found myself regularly telling my computer/phone screen that they were stupid because I had already purchased them (from the very website the ads were driving me to).

 It isn’t enough to just be there, online, you have to play your part in the digital ecosystem to stay relevant.

This blog was first published 27th September 2017, available here.