Experience marketing is widely considered to be a new phenomenon, especially in B2B circles. However, B2C brands have been implementing experience activations for years.
Wrigley’s and Pabst (products presented at the 1893 World’s Fair with experiential tactics and seasonal events such as events, music festivals, and the Super Bowl) have provided brands with the ideal environment for customer engagement for decades.
People love the news, which is one of the reasons why pop-ups, mobile tours, and similar tactics were so successful before COVID-19. Now people crave connection and virtual events offer visitors the opportunity to leave home, so to speak.
B2B shoppers are also consumers, and the same experiential activation techniques that work for retail brands can also boost B2B sales – engaging design elements, experiences that stimulate people’s physical senses, and authentic interactions.
While the current COVID-19 pandemic has largely disrupted major brand operations, experimental marketing will resume when the world is safe. Meanwhile, B2B companies looking for new ways to reach and convert buyers should study B2C branding companies to learn successful engagement tactics.
With the three tactics below, buyers can tangibly experience brands, even when it is impossible to communicate physically.
- Invoke a brand story
Modern buyers want to know the companies with which they do business. This trend is perhaps even more evident in the B2B world, where customers often see suppliers as partners (and vice versa). B2B companies must therefore take advantage of opportunities, such as sales teams and sales meetings, to speak more than product specifications and case studies. They must share stories about the company’s heritage and origins or discuss core values, such as sustainability or innovation, to build stronger emotional connections with buyers.
An attractive brand story need not necessarily be about the brand itself. It can be any story that points to a broader purpose and shows the company’s values. Skittles was an excellent example of the history of brands during the celebration of Pride Month in partnership with GLAAD. The bakery, known for its rainbow-colored sugar bowls, took all the colors out of the box throughout the month to face “the only rainbow that matters in June.” While LGBTQIA + nonprofits struggled to generate donations during the pandemic, Skittles pledged to donate $ 1 to GLAAD for each of the colorless Pride packages sold.
- Make opportunities interactive
The isolating impact of the coronavirus pandemic has made it even more important to facilitate connection and engagement through interactive content.
The core activities provide consumers with access to commercialized brands, regardless of whether these products are available physically or digitally, in virtual or augmented reality.
For example, in June, the pharmaceutical company Argenx (a client of my company) held a two-hour virtual event to celebrate the launch of MG United, a platform created by the company that connects people with autoimmune myasthenia gravis. Participants were able to discover a new educational platform designed to help patients with MG, participate in an interactive question and answer session with the producers of a film to be released soon about people with the disease, and virtual participation in the art therapy session.
For B2B companies that sell software or products that may not be as “interesting” or accessible to the average person, implementing an exciting and affordable activation can help a company stay in the minds of potential buyers that they may consider buying. Buy competing products.
Companies can offer practical hands-on training opportunities or offer virtual tours of their manufacturing facilities or offices. It shows the innovative thinking and technological assets that B2B buyers will associate with the company’s product, even if it is not advanced technology.
- Generate genuine commitment
Modern consumers, especially the younger ones, want authentic brands. The same is true for B2B buyers, and experience activations provide the perfect environment for authentic interactions with potential customers.
But what about genuine commitment?
Unlike traditional product demonstrations or sales meetings, which are usually conducted through formal question and answer sessions and tend to focus on a predetermined outcome, experiential events can allow for spontaneous interaction that is not always directly related to an outcome.
In other words, effective experience events are not rich in incentives that encourage visitors to make a purchase. Instead, they help to align the attitude between buyer and seller. This is because customers who identify with a brand in terms of values, perspectives, and expectations do not need the same incentive as those who do not.