Please stop making B2B communications boring. Please. We’re begging you: ENGINE Eff Week, Day 4

Speaker: Jo Simmons

You might already be switching off at the thought of B2B comms but don’t. Jo Simmons talked us through how to make B2B as exciting and effective as talking to customers.

1. Businesses are people too

This might feel a bit like an obvious point but it’s important and we wanted to lay it out here at the top.  When it comes to B2B comms it can be very easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the business you’re talking to is some sort of grey slab. An amorphous blob that you hope will need your service. But it’s not. Remind yourself that businesses are made up of people with needs, demands and most importantly emotions. It means that a lot of the rules of consumer advertising apply to B2B even though the pull is towards understated even beige content.

2. Aim for fame

Just like advertising to customers having a fame building campaign is a strong goal for long term brand awareness. Fame will drive mental availability in the decision makers and those that influence them. You should be aiming to reach unprompted awareness in those you’re talking to.

This is a long term goal and to achieve it you need present yourself as something different and then you need to be consistent with the message. There needs to be a change in mindset, only 4% of B2B measure the impact of their marketing beyond 6 months but, according to Binet and Field, to have brand building that offers long-term growth it needs to be measured for longer than this.

By making an emotional connection you’re already winning half the battle as B2B ads are generally forgettable. Your product can be boring, but your ads can’t be.

3. Think about the people who aren’t customers but could be

The best way for a business to grow is to target those that are aren’t customers but could be. Going wider with your audience is better than hiking up your prices in the hopes you can squeeze more profit from the customers you already have. The folks that are either looking for a service likes yours or even those currently out of market.

This also applies to the people you’re talking to withing a business. Think wider rather than narrow. The person who buys the IT equipment or buys the toilet roll is likely only one part of the decision making process, you need to make sure that your brand resonates with everyone in that chain.

A good example for this is Tesla. They were looking for a new home for their next Gigafactory. Tulsa in Oklahoma wanted to be that home. They did everything they could to stroke Elon Musk’s ego, they even changed their iconic miner statue to look like him. Eventually they ended up in Austin because even though Elon was keen to Tulsa the rest of the decision makers and the people who would have to move were wooed by the cool factor (there’s that emotional decision making again) of Austin.

4. Have a balanced approach

Finally. Like the force. There needs to be balance in what you do. What can you achieve with short term comms Vs. long term, what parts of the funnel can you effectively with either or both?

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The purpose of inclusive design is clear-cut: “to make sure everyone who needs to access your service can use it”1. And while lockdown meant slowdown for most sectors, it massively accelerated demand for online services.


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