Sometimes, I like to lean back on the reclining chair, that my company of internship has been so kind to provide me with, and reflect on an imagined conversation between IMC (Integrated Marketing Communication) or the Branding and the B2B (Business to Business) divisions of a company. For the ones mostly unaware of the jargon in the world of marketing, and to be fair to them - most of the jargon are like fads, or mayflies - like I like to call them, (most of them die soon after they have been invented and served their purpose) - it's an allegory. B2B and IMC aren't real persons, per se. It's an awkward arranged marriage at best. The couple has a hard time understanding what they need from each other. Compare that to the unbelievably passionate IMC - B2C (Business to Consumer) couple that have had a whirlwind romance, straight out of a fairy tale. They fell in love the moment they met, married young and are passionately in love (they fight nasty as well, like every good couple on God's green earth - note to self: use the reference in the next mild disagreement we have); they live upstairs and make sleeping at night incredibly difficult for the awkward couple staying right beneath tier floor. (*ahem*) The point is, they have never really got along and they still use outmoded forms of conversation like - official electronic mails and sales persons that pitch in the organisation' s B2B offering to the clients. Compare that to the intelligent campaigns on social media channels, the TV advertising, the print media that organisations use to involve their customers/consumers. And why not? The B2C division of the organisation is the more dynamic and outgoing sibling between the two of them. Not without reason though. The B2B market is mostly niche and involves a small target market. You don't need brand ambassadors like an Amir Khan or a Virat Kohli to reinforce your positioning statement or the customer value proposition (CVP) that you are offering to the customer. B2B is more of reputation, reigniting old relationships and nurturing them over months or sometimes, years - until a deal reaches fruition. It's like the parents of either party looking into the history of the couple to find out the origins - tentative and cautious at best. B2C and IMC don't really care much about their past. An expensive market research that helps study the consumer preferences and define the market segments. You zero in on the target segment and bang - the positioning is ready and before you realise you are designing campaigns for your brand.
My point is - it doesn't have to be that awkward. It's okay, you can come out of the closet now - says the smart couple to their cautious counterparts. Let's take a look at Maersk. They are strictly a B2B organisation at best. And yet, they have consistently designed intelligent marketing campaigns aimed at well, anyone who's heard of the brand. You ask me, what's the point of a promotional (digital) campaign aimed at petty and irrelevant consumers like you and me? It increases brand presence, I say. It familiarises a brand and its offerings. If Maerskline launches a campaign that encourages individuals like you and me to upload images and use hashtags (#wintermaersk, here) - it encourages us to explore the brand and its diverse offerings. That is effective. Because the moment I require my organisation to contact a shipping company, I will fondly think of Maersk. They, incidentally won the social media campaign of the year. That, coming from a strictly B2B organisation. Here's the campaign - http://jonathanwichmann.com/2013/10/07/ ... ial-media/
I mean, it's out there for the grabs! Use Twitter, Facebook and Instagram! Lap up the hashtags that are raining around you like they are God's gifts. Get that customer like he's gold! Reply to his tweets and re-tweets and make him feel special. I mean, when Parmesh Sahani of Godrej retweeted my tweet - I was over the moon. That's the effect an organisation can have on an individual customer. Whenever I think of interesting content, I seriously mull over the possibility of tagging him in it. You overwhelm a customer, an individual customer - and you have him hooked for life.
If you are selling interior solutions for office spaces, ask the individual office goer, how would he like his office to be! Launch a massive online campaign to ask them to design solutions that you can offer; reward him when he comes out with a solution. Involve the press, use hashtags and flood the walls with pictures. Leads are rare when it comes to online campaigns. It's like spraying bullets all over the target-pad. Eventually one or two might stick.
Hey, it's free!
Cheers, much love. Somak.
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