By Catherine Brown - 8th January 2016
2016 is the year we will see B2B marketing become truly customer-centric. That means, considering your audience first in your content creation, ahead of your company/product/service. We want them to be interested in the content first and to gain their interest in the product second. And how do we do that? By creating content that is relevant to them and that they actually want to read.
In December, I blogged about how Christmas is a prime opportunity to connect with your B2B tech audience on a human level. But Christmas is only just the start of it! Connect with your audience all year round by incorporating fun, inspiring, silly, important events, on both local and national scales. No doubt your audience will be getting involved in a few things going on throughout the year, so show them that you’re right there with them.
B2C brands relish this approach. In 2015, we had the Rugby World Cup here in England and consumer brands went nuts for it. Take a look at Samsung. They created a series of videos with England Rugby legends Martin Johnson and Lawrence Dallaglio coaching Jack Whitehall to hilarious effect. Nothing to do with mobile phones. Nothing to do with technology. But timely, relevant, entertaining content that gained hundreds of thousands of views.
Samsung created an effective brand experience close to the nation’s heart in rugby’s main moment, proving that brands can capitalise on an event without necessarily entering their product into the mix. This is what we will start to see more of in B2B.
Understanding that your B2B audience is made up of human beings with lives outside of 9–5, Monday to Friday, is imperative to capturing their attention this year. Equally, your audience want to see that you are one of them; that you are human too.
This post should hopefully give you a few ideas that you can decorate your content calendar with. Enjoy!
(As we’re based in London, a few of these are pretty London-centric!)
This month-long charity event is hugely popular in the UK with over 2 million people participating in 2015. Join in by documenting your employees’ participation efforts or create an analogy close to your company’s heart. Put a spin on your industry to relate to dry January like this tech-focused article from Make Use Of or Analox Sensor Technology. Did you know that booze tech is a thing?
On the day when everyone is mixing, flipping and eating delicious pancakes, why not try visually presenting your content as a menu or pancake recipe? Or does Pancake Day actually have an impact on your industry that your audience might not have appreciated before? FJG Solicitors tapped into this in their post on The Big Business of Pancake Day.
Pancake day itself is pretty short lived, but you can achieve longevity by focusing on Lent. Your audience may be abstaining from indulgences like chocolate or alcohol for the period between Pancake Day and Easter, so appeal to them with your communications. How about:
Have you given up chocolate for Lent? Here’s something to get you through. Download this deliciously satisfying report.
We’re giving up bad technology choices for Lent. Here’s how you can too.
Be playful but don’t go to town. This is a serious religious matter to some people but a yearly personal ritual for others. Tread carefully and be supportive of your Lent-abiding customers! They’ll thank you for your understanding.
Love it or hate it, the soppiest day of the year is a wonderful chance to express your love. Go the geeky route and shout about your love for a product, platform, program or event. Try to match the innovation of your brand in your treatment of the day, like in this article from SwipeStation, What will the tech of Valentine’s Day 2025 look like?
Find your adorable content by identifying an alternative love story in your industry. I love this post from Desynit, Making the marketing automation happen: an unlikely love story. Or get personal (or cheeky!) by sending your subscribers a suitable Valentine’s card.
Don’t forget the singletons! Try a Tinder analogy to share the dating dilemma pain. Which way will you swipe?
The world watches as Hollywood’s greatest actors hit the red carpet, make speeches, win awards and take selfies.
This glamour-dripping event needn’t be exclusive to Hollywood. Create your own “Oscars” and award the winners of your industry, even if just in a blog post.
The Pulse Oscars: awarding the greatest tech brands out there (according to us)
Your Oscars can be about anything you want! Alternatively, you could talk about the red carpet events in your industry, draw parallels from the winners or even host your own in-house “Oscars” event and document it on social media. In fact, in Scotland there is now Digital Technology Oscars which celebrates both B2B and B2C technology achievements.
Think about what you do for your own mother on Mother’s Day. Flowers? Chocolates? Breakfast in bed? It’s the one day we all do something nice for our mums to show how much we appreciate them and to say thank you. You can do the same for your audience. A lot of them might be mums or have mums that they’re thinking of on this day. Simple social media posts could go along the lines of:
To all the mums out there, you’re awesome!
Or highlight the “mother” of your company. This could be a person or a product.
The mother of all finance technology
It’s all about the pranks on the first of April. Play a little trick on your audience to tease some humour out of them. Send a spoof email or maybe just a prank-tastic subject line. Alternatively, stage something in your office and have a laugh about it on social media.
Or go the opposite way with titles like:
This is not a joke. This actually happened.
We’re not trying to fool you; these stats tell the truth.
36,000 people run the London Marathon each year and while your audience might not be participating, the hype is inescapable in London and extremely obvious throughout the media, even for those outside of London. Chances are it will be on your audience’s radar and a selection of them will have an interest in running. The marathon is a handy analogy for all sorts of things relatable to your business – campaigns, projects, product launches. You’ve got training, injury, challenge, race day, results, technology, teamwork, competition, crossing the finish line and winning all to play with. This Matillion article on The London Marathon: What Business Intelligence Technologies and the Sports Ground Have in Common does just that, drawing parallels between their business area and the real lives of their customers.
May is a glorious time in England – we get TWO bank holidays! Two long weekends! Two triple lay-ins. It’s great. So if your audience resides here, join in on the bank holiday spirit. Perhaps try appealing to what they can do with that extra day off, how they can make the most of it, something to pass the time.
While you’re relaxing this bank holiday
Make the most out of the long weekend with these three tips
Things to try this bank holiday
OR, get some motivation on the go for when everyone returns to work.
Enjoy the bank holiday? Here’s some interesting info to get your (short) week off to a great start!
Research shows that 75% of people are more likely to think better of a brand if they are supportive of LGBT+ communities, and what better time than to show support than during London Pride? Not only is this colourful cause really easy to incorporate into your branding visually, but you are definitely likely to get a good response from inside the office and out. There are some great LGBT+ campaigns out there so decide how far you want to go with it. You might be surprised how much appreciation a small bit of support will garner. Dropbox do this very nicely with their celebration of pride events around the world. Nice job Dropbox!.
Just don’t get it wrong like these guys…
Just like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day is a time for saying thank you and recognising that the offices our audience works in are full of dads and people with dads they love. Unlike B2C brands who can offer special Father’s Day promotions, in B2B we have to think a little more outside of the box. You could interview an industry professional about their career and what they learned from their dad, or talk about the Father’s Day experiences of your colleagues. Feature the ‘top dad’ in your company and run an article on them. Celebrate the dads!
So here are some events in the first six months of 2016 that your business audience could be involved in and might appreciate your acknowledgement of. You know better than us who your audience are and what they’ll appreciate in your communications and what they won’t (if you’re unsure give us a shout and we’ll help!).
The thing to remember is that your B2B audience are not robots, they have lives going on outside of the office and will appreciate you getting to know them. Hopefully you like some of these ideas! Let us know in the comments below if you have any more!
Part II: July to December coming soon!