Down with B2B, YEAH YOU KNOW ME


I have been doing B2C Digital Marketing for years and originally became intrigued with B2B practices years ago when I took a contractual position with a company. I see a lot of confusion from people online about the two so I figured why not clarify some of this confusion up. So here is where my research started with B2B marketing practices – My first day on the job at this firm, I did a quick scan of their social media presence and realized the company was missing out on some golden opportunities. It’s an oversight that I believe many companies make but after writing up a detailed report and reading “B2B Digital Marketing” by Michael Miller, I wanted to share some of the information I learned.

First, what do you think of when I say the term “B2B” (Business-to-Business)? Chances are you think of the picture below; one business trying to get another company’s business or one business interacting with another business.
Wrong.

In reality, it’s much more like this picture …with humans. We’re all human and we crave interaction. Buildings don’t talk to each other, humans do so build a relationship and watch that foster into increased traffic, new business relationships, etc.

Second, so I just treat business customers like my everyday average customers that buy my products? Wrong.

B2B Digital Marketing is different than B2C because customers make decisions based off emotion whereas business customers make decisions based off logic. It takes different approaches to appeal to a certain kind of customer. Think about your favorite fast food place. Ok, you’re healthy I get it but honestly just think about a quick fast food place you like to go. Now check out their presence on Twitter. Chances are you’ll see them interacting with their customers: retweeting, replying, “favoriting” tweets, and so on.

Now look at a company, like Pfizer Inc. on Twitter. You see the difference? Pfizer uses Twitter to inform their mix of customers about new clients, awards won, company information and Pfizer still does it with a sense of humor – #LetsGetOld. This is just one B2B approach to digital marketing because just as there are many different social media platforms, there should be different techniques for each one.  Unlike B2C where you are trying to sell a product or appeal to a consumer, B2B strives to create a long-lasting, beneficial relationship with other business customers by showcasing what their company can do for you.

Third, where do I begin? You begin by stepping away from traditional media and realize that digital marketing works in a way that traditional media can’t with B2B. Digital marketing allows for a two-way conversation which means when a potential business customer reaches out via Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. you, the company, can respond back and create a conversational relationship. Sure, you may still find traditional media works for you but you can’t talk to a newspaper; well you can, but it doesn’t talk back – trust me.

B2B Digital Marketing is not going away so I encourage anyone interested in social media or digital advertising at all, to check out Miller’s book. It’s a great read and one strong statistic I want to throw out before I end this post is that “71% of B2B purchases started with a web search.” (Marketing Sherpa) That’s a strong figure. So if you’re a company and not targeting other companies with relationship-focused methods using digital marketing techniques, you might want to take a look at some of your competition because chances are they’re following this approach.

The $6 Million Dollar Tweet

Celebrity endorsements are used to enhance a brand’s image and can cost anywhere from $100,000 to $50 million and more. Beyonce’s recent Pepsi deal is one of the highest endorsements to date but there’s a fine line between paying a public figure to promote your product and stealing an image of a public figure who happens to have your product in hand – and then turning it into a promotional advertisement.

Katherine Heigl, an actress known for roles like 27 Dresses, The Ugly Truth and Knocked Up, is the latest person to be caught up in a social misleading marketing campaign. Heigl was shopping at a drugstore, like people do, and when she was leaving with bags in hand from Duane Reade, the company saw it as an opportunity to promote its brand via Twitter.

What the company failed to understand was the line it crossed by turning a “normal” photo into an advertisement. Imagine seeing the below photo in a media publication with the caption,
Katherine Heigl signs deal to star in sequel to 27 Dresses entitled Get Married Already.

You wouldn’t think twice that Duane Reade and Heigl had any type of business relationship. Now take a look at really happened below:

Duane Reade did not pay Heigl or her agent or use the company’s marketing budget to pay for this type of promotion. Heigl is now suing the drugstore company for $6 million stating “unauthorized use of her image.” If your argument is that the picture falls into the category of earned media (a method of getting your brand or company into the media for free rather than having to pay for advertising), then you are wrong. Earned media is something you have no control over. Duane Reade took the photo and took control of what to do with the image.

Now if the photo had been used in a magazine or online publication for example, no harm would have been done. Duane Reade would have gotten some free advertising (earned media) and the company wouldn’t be in this current mess.

A smart brand will take time to research a public figure to make sure the individual is a right fit for the brand or company’s image. Likewise, a public figure should also do his or her research on the brand or company before being attached to it. If either side is uncomfortable, then a deal isn’t made. It’s quite simple but when one side doesn’t do their homework or takes shortcuts (cough cough, Duane Reade), you get in trouble.

Social media is quick, fun, and it can reach a wide group of people making mass marketing that much more effective when paired with social media. However, social media is still relatively new that some Engagement Directors, Social Media Executives and Community Managers don’t understand the tactics of proper social marketing. I encourage anyone remotely related in the field of social marketing to think of the consequences and don’t get sucked into the fast-paced nature of social media. So many companies have learned the hard way that once something is out there, it’s out there.

Three Big Brands Using Social

Social marketing is here to stay and it’s only going to get bigger.

Why?

People use social media for many reasons but in my opinion, the common denominator is a connection. The world is crazy, busy, always going but it feels good to say something or have an opinion that someone else can relate to or add to somewhere out there. The brands I’m going to talk about understand this idea but each one also has its own approach based on its purpose.

1.) Pfizer “Get Old” #LetsGetOld

No one likes to think of getting old. But why? In my opinion, we’re scared to talk about it. Ignoring or shying away from situations doesn’t make things better but instead it makes you anxious for what’s to come.

Pfizer, a pharmaceutical company, came along and started the conversation in a non-intrusive manner. Not only did Pfizer get people of all ages talking about getting old but it worked with other leading organizations, like National Alliance for Caregiving Association, Men’s Health Network, Society for Women’s Health Research and more to help add to the conversation.

Pfizer isn’t pushing its products but instead becoming an authoritative voice (or thought leader) in the “aging” space. Sure, there’s AARP and other organizations dedicated to the more mature, but Pfizer included everyone in this campaign, used multiple touch points and lightened the mood around aging. Some examples of what people were saying range from “I want to stay healthy for my two daughters”, “I plan to get old with joy, strength and vigor” or “I want to get old having fun.”

Originally started by SS+K (Shepardson, Stern & Kaminsky) agency with an integrated approach. Current AOR: Edelman continues with its PR efforts.

Platforms: Twitter, Facebook

2.) Lowe’s “Fix in Six” #LowesFixInSix

Who hasn’t been picking up or cleaning when you thought to yourself, “Ugh, there’s got to be a better way to do this!”

Lowe’s, a retail home improvement store, showed us how we can turn every day items into problem solvers through video. BBDO worked with Lowe’s to create Vines (six second videos) and with the promotional hashtag #LowesFixInSix.

Some of my favorite tips include using a hair dryer to get rid of stickers on purchased items, lemon juice to get rust stains off knives or pillow cases to house your sheet sets.

Again, the company isn’t dominantly pushing its product but hopes to come to the top of your mind next time you think of doing some home improvement. And hey, if you need some home improvement materials why not head to Lowe’s? It’s a non-forced entry into our every day lives and it’s helpful information. Win win.

Agency: BBDO and Meagan Cignoli

Platforms: Twitter, Facebook, Vine

3.) Dunkin’ Donuts

Dunkin’ Donuts is a brand that is just doing it right all around. I remember my senior year in my Social Media in Strategic Communication class, we organized ourselves in groups to work on a final project. Each group chose a brand and created a mock social plan. While our group chose CPG (consumer product goods) and certainly noticed Dunkin’ Donuts in this space, we went with one of its competitors for two reasons: we wanted to show through our research that we acknowledged an area of weakness, had a solution and gave examples of execution. Plus we like a challenge.

I wanted to tell that brief story because Dunkin’ Donuts has the reigns of their social engagement from Facebook, Twitter, Vine, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and counting. What makes them stand out is the fun nature of its engagement.

Dunkin’ Donuts uses campaigns like any other brand would, such as #MyDunkin, but the personal or thoughtful posts of people sharing stories or experiences around Dunkin’ Donuts continues with or without these campaigns. Pictures of products, videos of recipes, and personal stories are just some of the ways the brand draws you in and gets you to take notice.

So there you have some of the top brands I’ve been noticing in social media. Remember to have fun with it!

My Fave Cannes Festival Winners

I’m continually inspired every day by the new experiences I have here in Cincinnati and today was no different.

I had the privilege of attending a Cannes Luncheon hosted by AAF Cincinnati and sponsored by USA Today. A group of Ad Club members and professionals in the area got together for some brief networking, a delicious lunch and to watch the best of the best advertisements from around the world. It was interesting to find some of my favorites came from agencies I visited in New York City in March 2013. (for more information, click “Mike Does NYC”)

Now before I go into my favorites, I have to give a shout out to my alma mater, The University of Kansas for offering a bi-annual etiquette dinner because I definitely put what I learned to good use yesterday. I have been to business luncheons before but they have always been so casual. While I didn’t have to bring my top hat and cane, my colleague Brad and I were sitting at a table filled with attorneys and partners. So here are a few quick things I remembered from Erin Wolfram, master of etiquette at KU:

  • Bread goes on your left, drinks on your right. If you forget, make a circle with your index finger and your thumb. Have your other fingers stand up straight. You have a “b” on your left hand and a “d” on your right hand. Boom.
  • When buttering your bread, only tear a piece off at a time and butter each individual piece as you eat it.  This was most frustrating at the etiquette dinner because I was so hungry that night!  But they say patience is a virtue – obviously said by someone who doesn’t love butter and bread as much as I do.
  • If you get up to use the restroom or use your phone, put the napkin to the right of your plate. If you are leaving the event for good, it goes on the left. You can think of it as: Goes on the right for coming “right back” and goes on the left for “leaving for good.”

NOW FOR SOME OF MY FAVES:

“Dumb Ways to Die” Metro Trains
Agency: McCann, Melbourne

 

Why I liked it: It’s logical and catchy. The Metro website has an interactive site where you can participate yourself. And to cross channels, Metro has an app where you can explore the characters one by one and try to protect them from dumb ways to die.

“Real Beauty Sketches” Dove
Agency: Ogilvy & Mather, North America

Why I liked it: It’s no wonder that this campaign was the most viral advertising video shared, as of May 2013. The message was strong and something I often wonder about myself – why women are so hard on themselves. To make it viral though, Ogilvy did careful planning around top media sites, bloggers, and other PR efforts that certainly paid off. It’s not enough to just put your stuff out there, but to strategically plan where.

“Why Wait Until It’s Too Late? Say Something Wonderful Today” Dela
Agencies: MediaValue and Ogilvy & Mather, Amsterdam

Why I liked it: This is something literally all of us can relate to and it was highly integrated. Online commercials, billboards, print, and taking over a cable channel for an evening – were just some of the ways the campaign spread to the public; such a strong and positive message.

What I noticed through watching all these advertisements earlier this afternoon, was that most of the winners at the Cannes Festival did not even mention an actual product. The campaigns were emotional, tugged on your heart strings and were positive – plus the messages were highly shareable across devices and channels. So there you have some of my faves and as always, I try and leave you all with trends or tips I notice in the industry or just in my random life so here it is, Thunderclap.it. It’s a free platform that allows you to amplify (or if you’re a visual person, picture the effect if you were to clap your hand and the waves of sound spreading at lightning speed to everyone you’re around) your message at one, instantaneous moment. The first brand to use this platform was The White House. Check it out.

Thanks for reading and hope you leave today feeling inspired!