I like stuff, a lot. While I know this is not the most insightful introduction, it is true.
As a consumer, customer, shopper, fan, and brand loyalist, I am certain that I am targeted by some very savvy B2C marketing professionals and am prime persona for some of these brands. Target and J.Crew definitely have my number … but so do Marketo, MarketingProfs, and a lot of other products and services targeting B2B prospects.
But what about the companies who have both?
It is not news that all marketing is to a person (while I do agree with the bottom line of true engagement being our common denominator of being people, and talking like people to other people). The B2P/H2H epiphany B2B marketers made a few years ago is not the point of this particular story. Because there are many organizations who have feet in both sides, if you will—both marketing to people, but with very different variables on either side.
From energy utilities to healthcare insurers, here are three tips to leveraging the duality of your B2C/B2B brand to your advantage:
1. Consistency is key.
You can have your professional side and your fun side with mass appeal, but your values, personality traits, and purpose need to be consistent and truly embodied across the company. Products and offerings may vary but your brand is the common denominator. For example, Rolls-Royce may come to mind as a luxury car brand but in truth, much of its core brand has always been about aerospace engines. While there are two different websites and very different key audiences, the focus on timeless reliability, innovation, and perhaps most importantly, the brand promise of “trusted to deliver excellence” rings true for both businesses.
2. Pay attention to the journey.
While the buyer’s journey may take longer for a major service implementation at a Fortune 500 company than it does to sell a tablet to a tech-enthusiast, celebrate the similarities. You may find that the thing that gets a person from discovery to considering you is closer than you think.
People, at work or at home, are unlikely to set aside time to read branded content, but they do find time to read. So share engaging stories. If you think major content is only for long-funnel services sales, think again. According to a survey by Content Marketer and Marketing Profs, B2C content marketing increased 10% from 2015 to 2016.
3. Don’t underestimate millennials.
The generation that changed marketing and technology is far from limited to their influence in the consumer sphere. They shop and make personal purchasing decisions differently than those before them, and this applies to business as well. In a 2016 survey by Sacunas, 72% of millennials had at least some influence in purchasing decisions (with 34% being the sole decision maker.) These numbers will only continue to grow as millennials are expected to make up 44% of the U.S. workforce by 2025.
Now, more than ever before, the brands that are most effective at making change, in business or the consumer marketplace, are those that communicate who they are—consistently, throughout the sales cycle, and to all generations.