Valentine’s is a busy time in consumer marketing. But does Cupid ever fire his arrows in B2B? Traditionally, no because in B2B, we’re serious, we win the love of our audience through our thought leadership. In fact, forget love—we want their respect, their money. Love can wait.
But it’s 2016 and believe it or not, love is in the air for B2B brands. We might not be sending out Valentine’s cards, but we are getting friendly with our audience in ways we haven’t seen before.
What we’re starting to realise in B2B, is that our audience is not just a collection of humans staring at a computer screen in an office. Funnily enough, they are real people, with real lives; they exist outside of 9 to 5. They maybe even have a date for Valentine’s. So we marketers have to get to know this side of them. Let’s get to know our audiences. Let’s date them.
You probably don’t need dating advice from me, but if you talk about yourself all night, wrapped up in a self-obsessed bubble, your date will lose interest. You’ve got to show that you’re interested in them, in their life, in their interests.
Find out what they like. What they do in their spare time. What events they’re looking forward to. By tapping into these areas in your content, you create a space in which your audience can interact with your brand in a truly positive experience.
Take last year’s Rugby World Cup for example, consumer brands went absolutely nuts for it. Samsung, Landrover, O2, all brands that have nothing to do with rugby, but had the self-awareness to recognise that their audiences do. They each created content close to the nation’s heart in rugby’s main moment. They shared their audiences’ excitement and ensured their brand was at the heart of the action.
B2B needn’t shy away from getting friendly in this way. In our “always on” world, the dichotomies of consumer and business marketing are becoming blurred and B2B brands are getting more and more brave at venturing into this B2C territory. They are appealing to interests that sit outside the traditional business scope. They’re getting past the first date.
Prove to your audience that not only do you understand them, you have things in common. They can warm to that and warm to you. So let your hair down B2B brands and have some fun with your content. Take your audience relationships beyond Valentine’s Day and you could be headed for a whole Summer of Love.
Originally published in B2B Marketing Magazine