October 10, 2023

Five Ways For B2B Brands To Win With B2C Marketing

Jonathan Ronzio, CMO, Trainual

The average American is glued to their phone for a staggering five hours and 24 minutes daily. The sheer frequency of interaction is mind-boggling. Every single day, people are touching their phones up to 2,617 times and unlocking them around 150 times. 

As of August 2023, mobile traffic continues to dominate desktop, boasting a market share of 65.67% compared to desktop's 32.89%. And where is this attention predominantly directed? The top three mobile apps by total downloads last year were TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. 

The world's attention is firmly on mobile social media. Your B2B audience is on these platforms, too, in and out of the office. So it should make sense that most B2B brands are embracing paid social media to  crush their goals, right? Wrong. 

Organic social is notoriously difficult for B2B brands to wrap their heads around and execute against a well-crafted, community-building content strategy that isn’t all about short-term ROI and self-promotion. But surely paid social advertising is an easier channel to dial in. Still for the most part, no. And here’s why.

Despite their best intentions, B2B brands are plagued by the following patterns:

  • Interruptive and obvious ads: Standard, uninspiring promo graphics are a surefire way to get scrolled past. Stuff that feels like a TV commercial in an Instagram feed is instantly easy to ignore. 
  • Forcing the Fit: A generic one-size-fits-all ad strategy, devoid of context, is a recipe for invisibility. It’s obvious when you see a sponsored Story or Reel that was not initially shot to be a Story or Reel. It’s apparent and off putting when the ad does not fit into the trending content types of the platform it’s running on.

Here's how to succeed with B2C marketing tactics for B2B companies.

Storytelling is better selling

This feels like a cliche to say at this point but it must not be loud enough yet for the people in the back. B2B marketing too often leans heavily on functional needs over emotional desires. Feature technicalities trump the aspirational end state of the buyer. But what if we flipped the script? By focusing on emotional desires and finding humor in common pain points, B2B brands can craft narratives that resonate deeply. Here’s an example of how Tainual got better with story telling. Two words: Montell Jordan.

Embrace “low-pro” ads

That stands for low-production value. Who said impactful ads need a blockbuster budget? At Trainual, some of our most effective ad content has been shot on an iPhone during an Uber ride or while walking down the street. Instead of thinking you need to pay 5-6 figures for an effective ad, try the following:

  • UGC (user-generated content): Genuine reviews from customers are relatable and trustworthy. If you can get your customers to record videos about why they love your product or service and then edit those videos together into a fun fast-paced montage of social proof, it will work well.
  • Screen-recorded demos: Try using a tool like Loom to record yourself and your screen as you share a demo of your product and speak to the use cases and impact for your target customers. This is an easy, authentic way to show what you do.
  • Use your team: Encourage your employees to create candid selfie videos or be a part of any of your productions, showcasing the human side of your brand. Here’s why we don’t hire actors for commercials:

             --It’s more fun to make stuff with our team

              --Our team is more excited to celebrate and share the content they are in

              --Our team is more excited to celebrate and share the content their peers and friends are featured in

              --It’s more authentic to lead with who we are (even if viewers don’t realize it’s us)

              --Sure, it’s cheaper, but why not give your people a shot at being performative first

              --The bloopers are gold to share at company all hands and events

              --It’s a break from the norm and a fun opportunity to push our people beyond their comfort zones, which gives them the confidence boost of succeeding at something outside of their usual scope of work

Leverage the power of influencers

Influencers aren't exclusive to B2C. They're a goldmine for B2B too, but the key lies in strategic selection. Micro-Influencers: A smaller, engaged audience can sometimes outperform massive followings. Do some digging to find niche podcasts speaking to your audiences, or creators who have 10-50k followers that align with your value prop and can promote you authentically to their audience. Strategic Celebrity Collaborations: At Trainual, we partnered with 90s icon, ‘This Is How We Do It’ singer, Montell Jordan, to release new music and campaigns about how Trainual helps small businesses say, “this is how we do it.” We’ve also created content with Shark Tank’s Daymond John and the cast from The Office. These are scroll-stopping collaborations that work for our audience because they make sense for our product. It's about aligning with the right star, not just any star.

Influencer-Driven Advertising: If you’re already working with an influencer, you can ask for them to grant you account access in Facebook Ad Manager for the ability to run ads from their profiles instead of your company which has the potential to generate more trust, engagement, and awareness.

Create contextually for the channel AND the placement

Be more selective with your placements. Facebook will default to turning on the “audience network” and Google will default to also opening up your placements to “Google Search Partners.” These networks are garbage and waste your money in short order. Avoid these non-performing placements and get very focused on specific placements you want based on where your audience spends their time and how they actually use the platforms you’re advertising on. Tell me the last time you clicked a right sidebar ad on Facebook desktop. I’ll wait. 

Don’t forget to make medium-specific creatives. You want to run YouTube ads? Then study what works for YouTube pre-roll. What are the best practices? How can you get your main message and company name/logo across within the first 5 seconds before being skipped? Just because something is working on Facebook does not mean that performance will translate to YouTube. Whenever you add a platform to your advertising mix, create for that platform.

Don’t exclude existing customers from seeing your ads

You’re not wasting money by showing your top-of-funnel ads to your existing customers. You’re building brand equity. These ads are often your most creative and entertaining or educational, and it’s here that you have the opportunity to continue showing your users why they tried and ultimately fell in love with your product in the first place. It’s also amazing for your ad performance if those existing customers chime into the comments with positive social proof.

Don’t hit snooze on this alarm

The B2C vs. B2B debate is a thing of the past. The new marketing frontier is about understanding and connecting with your audience on a human level. It's about weaving your product into their daily narrative and presenting it in a way that resonates. 

As B2B marketers, our challenge is to be authentic, creative, and present where our audience is. And right now, that's on their phones, scrolling through their favorite social apps, sending memes to their friends and coworkers.