The older, the more traditional, the sexier.
Friends often ask me why I’ve always stuck to B2B communications (with the exception of my time in Airbnb doing internal communications). Well, I think B2B marketing is sexy. The older, the more traditional, the sexier. And this week, I met someone who thought the same.
Anders Bjorklund, CEO of global marketing agency Zooma, addressed the Marketing and Communications team of Ericsson Networks. It’s no easy task to talk about marketing in a room full of marketers, especially when you’re donning the agency hat. And Anders kept it real.
We’re back in the mode where you’d give a keynote presentation right after hopping of a morning train from Gothenburg to Stockholm. We’re meeting IRL; context switching at a different level.
Marketing challenges and ironies
“Smaller companies tend to know more about their customers. Big companies find it harder to implement cool things, for good reasons,” said Anders. His sharing reminded me of the Brand Builders lunches I organized with Joe Escobedo, CEO of Esco Media, back in Singapore, where marketers put their heads together to solve common challenges.
Anders also pointed out how many B2C companies tend to spend lots of money on transactions that don’t make them that much money. Whereas in B2B companies, it’s mostly the case of just needing everything in PowerPoint format. “B2B companies struggle to become modern and to understand,” Anders related. “They tend to think that their business is super complex and that it takes super long for it to become a deal.”
What do B2B customers want?
Perhaps B2B marketers are overcomplicating or overthinking things? Maybe it’s all about focusing on something as simple as teaching a client how to dial into a virtual meeting. Which begs the question, “what do B2B customers expect from companies?”
In a project that Zooma explored, they ran a script through reports to get some answers. What they found was that B2B customers are looking for (1) speed and answers, (2) guidance to relevance, (3) knowledgeable help and (4) proactive service. Perhaps not scientific truth, but it does give us an inkling and simplifies what others are looking for.
Digital readiness. How ready are you?
“Which of the 3 are you?” I raised my hand for the right-most option.
Mostly because there’re just so many questions like “does that technology make sense for me to adopt?”. Sure, I am happy to give it a try. But if it’s not going to make a difference in my life or work processes, it’s just going to add complexity to my day. I am also rather lazy and impatient — not a good combination for any clunky tech experience.
Relevance, change and personal preferences
“Change is happening, but not at all at the speed and pace that keynote speakers and consultants claim.”
So while we dove deeper into change, digitalisation and expectations, I thoroughly enjoyed the discussion around “what company treats you exactly like you want to be treated?” Surely, witty ones in the audience have guessed the answer to be “no company”.
Brands like Nespresso and HelloFresh surfaced. I was making a case in my little group for Skatteverket (Swedish Tax Agency) and Systembolaget (government-owned chain of liquor stores in Sweden). They were my top choices for 3 simple reasons: they are clear (information), succinct, and always reachable.
A team mate shared about how one of these agencies actually apologized to them for their mistake. That genuinely shocked them. The agency/company wanted to understand how my team mate came to making that mistake, so that they can improve and avoid having other customers come to the same misunderstanding. Brilliant.
In his wrap up, Anders left us with a content tip — to use voice, text and video — the entire gammut, for anything that you create. If you have a podcast, add a transcript. If you have a blog, get the author’s voice and let the voice software give you an audio version of the blog.
Watch the below video to hear Anders’ closing remarks on testing ideas, personalization and his thoughts on influencers in B2B marketing.