Question

Topic: Strategy

When To Give Up On B2c Efforts

Posted by rogerpricedesigns on 125 Points
Hello everyone,

I work as a marketing manager for a global company that has traditionally marketed to B2C. They have large budgets and go to beautiful locations for photoshoots. The brand guidelines are tightly regulated and social content is primarily filled with aspirational content from brand ambassadors. That's great....and looks fun.

However, my segment that was acquired by the company 4 years ago is largely B2B with little opportunity for a proper B2C connection with our current product selection.

My Marketing Manager colleagues in Australia and EMEA are wanting to build a brand awareness campaign directed to consumers. They feel that there will be a pull from the consumer and businesses will benefit. I disagree...Our products are largely install based that requires technical expertise and are not considered "upgrade" items. Building end consumer relationships is a nice idea....but I'm not sure it has the ROI to justify the big budget expense that would be required by the strict brand guidelines.

Anyone else in this same situation? How do I prove that the end consumer isn't the lowest hanging fruit?

The type of products my company sells would be comparable to the starter in your car. It is very unlikely that you know the brand of starter in your car...nor do you probably care until it breaks. Even then you are likely to rely on the recommendation of your mechanic after reviewing prices on a couple of options. Another example might be the air conditioner unit on your house. You probably have no idea who makes it.

At what point should companies embrace their B2B strategy and stop trying to e-comm/digital ad everything?
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RESPONSES

  • Posted by mgoodman on Moderator
    To keep your colleagues in Australia and EMEA from doing something that may not work very well for the business, you might consider a small/limited test that would let you measure the effectiveness and efficiency of a simple deployment of similar resources to either (a) B2B or (b) B2C.

    Without some kind of "hard proof" it's unlikely they will ever feel they "had their day in court," and they'll consider you the one who killed their great idea.
  • Posted by mgoodman on Moderator
    While your rationale for sticking with B2B marketing is logical, don't lose sight of the remarkable success a few other "B2B brands" have had with B2C campaigns. One that comes to mind immediately is "Intel Inside" to establish consumer awareness of computer chips (buried inside nameless boxes and rarely noticed by consumers who rely on them).

    I've come across a few of these in my consulting career, and I'm always impressed that the B2C approach works as well as it does. Another notable example is DuPont Stainmaster -- a nylon carpet fiber/ingredient brand. ("Do I even care what brand of nylon my carpet is made of, and how would I ever find out?")

    The key to both of these success stories lies in the compelling benefit promise and the clear communication of the reason a consumer should care.
  • Posted by rogerpricedesigns on Author
    I appreciate the insight and I would normally agree that a B2C campaign can be effective for brand building and have benefits for B2B. However, I have been pounding my head off of the keyboard for years trying to connect the dots and I just don't see the ROI in our current environment. The industry I'm in is pretty immature compared to similar industries and doesn't offer a great deal of opportunities to connect with the end consumer. The only way I can see this happening is with a new focus on consumer oriented product development and a much larger budget to market B2C. For now I think the efforts would be a waste of effort with little ROAS. On the other hand....it would be super amazing if I was wrong. *sigh*
  • Posted by mgoodman on Moderator
    I understand what you say, and you're probably right. But I came from the same place when clients asked us to develop plans to tap into the power of B2C marketing. We came back with multi-million dollar plans that we thought were pie-in-the-sky. The clients surprised us and implemented the plans. They worked faster and more dramatically than we projected. (So much for conventional conservative thinking!)

    What this means for you: Don't give up too quickly. And perhaps you can challenge your colleagues to develop the plan so you can envision what the investment and timing will look like ... along with some way to test the concept before you consider broadscale expansion.
  • Posted by Jay Hamilton-Roth on Member
    This reminds me of the "Intel Inside" campaign (https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/history/virtual-vault/articles/end-...). It led the consumer to consider the quality of the components inside a box they'd likely never open.

    The question is how often will a consumer (indirectly) need to buy your part. If it's rarely, then the amount of spend necessary to retain brand recognition isn't worth it.

    Another example is the Pharma industry - they directly advertise their products to consumers with the request to "ask your doctor" if you need this to solve your problem. But the products they are selling would be taken regularly for one's health - something front-and-center for the consumer - rather than a widget in something that works fine w/o their input.

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