B2B marketing is, by its nature, focused on helping brands to sell their goods and services to a commercial buyer, not to the ‘end user’. A holistic B2B communications approach however will always consider the customer’s customer. When promoting a product to a business, it’s important to also think about how that business will go on to convey the benefits of your product to their customers.
Here’s an example. One of the fastest growth applications in the digital wide format sector is wrapping. You can ‘wrap’ virtually any solid object, but one of the most commercial applications is vehicle wrapping. Those of us who are steeped in this sector have been evangelising the benefits of wrapping – and the capabilities of new-generation self-adhesive vinyl products – for a good five years.
Ask the man on the street about vehicle wrapping though, and my guess is that you’ll find that most have never heard of it. Someone who is involved in corporate branding, or who has ever been involved in applying graphics to a commercial vehicle, MAY know what you’re talking about (though they’ll more likely think decals, rather than a full wrap). But your average punter will stare blankly (I’ve tested this).
Even the petrol-heads in my orbit, who spend (too) much of their time obsessing about their treasured piece of metal (or one they have their eye on), raise a questioning eyebrow. Tell them that a full vehicle wrap could give their prized possession a unique look that can’t be bought in the showroom, or that they could affordably transform a tired-looking or unfashionable exterior into something utterly desirable, and they light up. Remind them that they could also be protecting their resale value by keeping the underlying paintwork pristine, and they’re all a-quiver.
My local wrap specialist offers a range of over 30 colours, as well as special metallic effects. Their web site tells me that a full wrap takes about two days, and the wrap will last several years with the right amount of TLC.
The generally-accepted British guru on all things vehicular, Jeremy Clarkson, recently blogged about the value of wraps here, and an episode of Top Gear broadcast in February this year saw the presenting trio attempt to wrap three vehicles themselves, with inevitably amateurish results. I suspect, however, that only a small fraction of the 5 million typical viewers will have since considered a full wrap for their own car.
A friend of mine recently leased a brand new top-of-the-range car from a German manufacturer, but bemoaned the limited choice of paint colours available. Did the leasing company not miss a trick? They could have offered a wrap for the duration of the lease, giving him the customer satisfaction of a bespoke vehicle, and themselves the security of knowing that this would effectively eliminate wear and tear on the original paint job. Did they even know it was possible?
It’s a reminder that most B2B marketing plans ought to include a strong element of support for the customer as part of a conscious pull strategy to stimulate end-user demand, sell the benefits and – in an ideal world – encourage customers to specify your product. Without it, even when your customer buys from you, you’re only halfway there.