B2B Marketing & Seasonal Celebrations
At the time of this publication, Diwali just passed, and we are approaching the Hanukka and Christmas seasons. Unless you are selling into religiously associated markets, you should maintain religious neutrality with your brand. However, some seasonal celebrations like Christmas, are celebrated by many, regardless of religious affiliation. In North America and Europe, the seasonal celebration is not exclusive to practicing Christians. For the B2C marketing space the answer is clearly, yes seasonal celebrations make sense. Marketing to consumers means seasonal, celebration and emotional appeal approaches for the different times of year. For B2B, you should use a bit of that B2C splash to put a dash of merriment into your marketing, too. Even though a big component of B2B marketing is rationally focused, part of the buyer’s journey is building trust, credibility, and rapport. That means emotional marketing is important in B2B Marketing Land – too!
P2P trumps B2B
Even in the B2B, we cannot forget that we are in P2P (People to People) marketing mode. Emotional people appeal never goes away, even in the corporate setting. Influencers and decision makers have a sense of humour, likes, dislikes, passions, things they enjoy, and those they do not. A previous post made the case for humour in B2B marketing. Go to any tradeshow, and you will find light hearted humour, B2B cartoons on brochures and videos. Booths grab your attention with elements of surprise, fun, and of course gifting. Who hasn’t gone to a tradeshow and not come back with loads of clever ‘chachka’ gifts?
For B2B sales it is important to speak to the rational side, while building rapport. You remember the marketing need for top of the funnel activities, the buyers journey, ROI calculators, benefit proof points, and so on. These basics definitely have to be covered. No one will risk $10k to $100k on a new product merely because they liked the season appropriate Christmas jingle. The core of B2B decisions are rational. There has to be a solid value proposition, ROI, and set of needed benefits meeting real world needs. There is also room for the emotional appeal, and remembering that your client is a person.
Why bother with the frills?
Once you have satisfied the rational side of the buyer’s brain, the emotional side will kick in too. Every competitor with a worthy product will have rational marketing. With equally suited competitive offerings, the emotional – personal appeal might swing the purchase decision your way. Marketing is also there to build rapport with your client. That means showing a sense of humour, a fun nature, and that your firm has trust-worthy people, just like your client. Subtleties like this are important in B2B Marekting, yet easily overlooked in favour of the rational.
Emotional engagement is important even in the B2B context. In B2B sales price points are usually much greater than B2C sales. Risk levels are higher. Decision makers and influencers have to make difficult purchase decisions. They are often putting their reputations on the line with their decisions. In major cases, they might be putting their career on the line. These are all emotionally charged concerns. Yes, there is quite a bit of rationality behind decisions. But, we cannot forget there are emotional concerns behind the decisions, too. This is where the trust, rapport building comes in, by showing your human side.
Even in a B2B setting, we are marketing and selling to people. B2B marketing is P2P marketing. Using humour, engaging emotions, and using celebrations is appropriate. Will the seasonal celebration angle close your next sale, alone? No, it will not. Will the seasonal sparkle show your B2B customers that you are human too? Yes it will. This is exactly what might make the difference in building their like and trust of your firm. That festive sprinkle might just help convert your prospect to a buyer, with a bit of human appeal.
In that respect, happy belated Diwali, Happy Hanukkah, Jolly Festivus and Merry Christmas!
About the Author:
Charles Dimov is Director of Strategy D, a Digital and Product Marketing consultancy (www.StrategyD.org). He has 20 years of experience in High Technology, with 15+ years in Product Marketing functions – having successfully introduced over 80+ new product to global markets. Charles has a MASc.(MBA), BASc.(Eng), and a BA.(Econ), and loves Photography, Marketing Strategy, and rolling up his sleeves to drive market success. He can be reached at Charles@DimovStrat.com