(And we do not mean “You don’t pass the ball only a yard from the goal line”.)
For B2C marketers, the Super Bowl is, well, the Super Bowl of ads. The commercials have become a phenomenon of their own, having audience’s anticipations high for exciting new content. With 30-second spots going for a record-breaking $45 million this year, brands used everything in their arsenal to extract the most value of out their time. Here at motum b2b, we think there is a lot B2B marketers can learn from the energy that these B2C ads generate.
After all, B2B is still marketing to other humans, and the same strategies that work so well for B2C can apply to your marketing as well.
A big theme of this year’s Super Bowl ads was high-emotion. Toyota and Dove, for example, pulled heavily on the heart strings with ads about fatherhood, using testimonials from men talking about their children. It can be easy to access emotion and it gets a big response from the audience. B2B marketers sometimes forget the human element in their marketing, but the opportunity is still there to create an emotional connection with your buyers. Think: stress reduction, time savings, looking good in front of the boss or ease of work.
In fact, the nature of B2B purchasing lends itself to this strategy more than you might think. “When a personal consumer makes a bad purchase, the stakes are relatively low”, according to Sam Nathan and Karl Schmidt of Think with Google. “Best case, it’s returnable. If not, it might require an explanation to a spouse. Business purchases, on the other hand, can involve huge amounts of risk: Responsibility for a multi-million dollar software acquisition that goes bad can lead to poor business performance and even the loss of a job. The business customer won’t buy unless there is a substantial emotional connection to help overcome this risk.”
Engage in the event
A lot of brands went beyond the Super Bowl, thus extending the communication opportunities and further establishing a relationship with the audience. Doritos did a great job of commenting on other brand’s Super Bowl commercials, thus engaging in the event as an audience member and content driver simultaneously. These tweets further heightened their profile surrounding the game, and expanded on their investment return significantly. This idea of meta-commentary can easily be replicated at a trade show, conference, or internal event and is a great way to engage with an audience to keep open lines of communication for what is typically a longer and more complex sales cycle. The tone has to be playful and non-threatening to have maximum impact.
Something B2C marketers do very well is use customer demographics. It might not shock you that Carl’s Jr. used sex appeal to sell burgers in this year’s Super Bowl spot. That’s because they are advertising to young, hungry guys aged 18-34, and are willing to somewhat ostracize other market segments to gain favour in this one. This can also be applied to B2B. Even with the typically very narrow customer base, B2B marketers can still tailor their message to create sub-segments based on customer purchasing history. Are your valve buyers more concerned with budget, or accurate metering? B2B brands that participate in conversations, listen and respond to their customers have a larger layer of influence in their purchasing decisions than those who don’t.
The Super Bowl reminds us that marketing is exciting! It’s a chance to not only inform your audience, but delight them. Take advantage of every opportunity you have when engaging your customers to do so in the most engaging way possible.