With industry conferences and live events now off the table because of COVID-19, business-to-business marketers are busy looking for new avenues and new methods to help them connect to prospects and current customers.
If we continue to run the same plays in B2B, filling inboxes with unopened emails and throwing up banner ads, we are only contributing to a go-to-market strategy that is noisy, flooded, and at risk in terms of its ability to make an impact. We must instead take a page from consumer brands, going a level deeper, and taking the time to think about how we can develop a meaningful relationship at the right level with our customers as people.
At NI and other enterprise technology companies, the tech matters. But why does it matter? It matters because it helps to solve real problems for real people. So much B2B marketing gets lost in the specs. This appeal from NI does not.
Reach People Where They Live
Cheetah Digital’s vice-president of content and data Tim Glomb puts it more bluntly in The Drum: “We’re talking to people, not machines.” When his team was looking to promote the virtual Signals conference and its supporting ad campaign, he says the main thought was “how can we fucking jazz this up so it doesn’t feel like work?”
Glomb also promoted his agency’s event with an article that he wrote for AdAge, where he argues that #ZoomFatigue became its own pandemic this year.
The solution for Cheetah Digital was to hire Mötley Crüe’s Tommy Lee and his wife, Brittany Furlan-Lee. Glomb reasons, “If you tell your audience your education series will turn them into marketing rock stars, it helps to have one of the biggest rock stars on the planet teaching them how.”
I might have put that differently. There are no marketing rock stars, for one. And the only thing that I would care to learn from Mr. Lee is how to play drums.
You Are Always Competing for Attention, So Make Sure That You Compete
Joe Rivas, CEO of Omnicom’s B2B specialist, Doremus also spoke to The Drum about the need to appeal to human beings.
The worlds of B2B and B2C have been on a collision course for some time now. At any one moment, you can be a mom, a CMO, an organizational leader. And as work and home continue to blur, B2B brands are having to compete for time and attention with not only their direct competitive set but all B2C marketers.
In other words, when you ask for someone’s attention, it’s a big ask. An ask that demands an elegant solution and work that veers from the expected, which is always a high bar to clear.
It’s always a high bar to clear because the person on the receiving end is running a business, and managing all of the other day-to-day realities of life during Covid-19 that can easily overwhelm a person. There’s such a narrow window of opportunity to be noticed and heard. The message from the above players in B2B is clearly don’t waste it.