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B2B Marketing

Taking Lessons from B2C

5/11/2023 | Gregg Emmer, Marketing Matters

According to many sources, budgets for marketing automation including AI enhanced communication and data development will see increases of 20% or more this year. That does not mean that advertising and marketing budget totals will grow, only that more will be allocated to this area than before. 


The motivation to move investment to automation is a result of significant advertising by businesses that sell marketing automation systems and computer software. Using impressive results from B2C as a basis for their sales pitch, it sounds like an easy decision to put the same technology to work for the Business to Business (B2B) sector.


Podcasts, streaming audio, video and other online activities are presented as must have activities for your (and your clients/customers) business. But once you get past all the information presented by  people that want to sell you their services, you will find a little discussed subject called “Screen Fatigue”. 


Screen fatigue has both physical and emotional components. The physical including headaches, vision problems, dietary issues and others are well known. There is plenty of information on how to counter the harmful effects of too much screen time. The emotional aspects are just now getting any attention. It appears that people of all ages are less likely to give online advertising, corporate sponsored blogs and other content the attention they did only a short time ago. Instead, their screen time is more directed to the social aspects of the interned.


Using ad blockers or simply the delete key is common. This leaves  B2B marketers with a big problem delivering their messages. 


According to a recent (4/21/23) Forbes article, the solution is “Memorability”. Consumer advertising has used many methods to be memorable including high profile personalities delivering their messages, entertaining and/or funny ads, musical identity and others. But how many times do you remember the ad but not the brand?


It is quite ironic that what the greater advertising and marketing world is desperately trying to achieve, is the foundation of our incredible Promotional Products Media.  


You may not remember the name of the insurance company with all those humorous TV commercials but the one that gave you the coffee mug you use every day is just a phone call away. 

Promotional media can change “push” advertising to “pull” and drive engagement to much higher levels. The same content on a client’s web page is far more effective when a customer decides to check it out rather than having it pushed on them. Utilizing promotional products to keep a business identity and website information in front of customers long term will lead to increased conversations and sales.


Keep in mind that B2B clients are the same people that B2C advertising pushes ads to all day on computer screens, TV, radio, billboards, print, point of purchase, sponsorships - and many other media. These people when surveyed stated that the process of the buying experience is as important as the product or service being sold. 


So again, promotional products media takes the lead! A buying process that includes interesting, fun, clever and useful items as the vehicle for marketing message delivery is certainly a more pleasant experience than most other business transactions. 


One area where consumer and business advertising don’t have much to compare is economics. A consumer makes a personal buying decision and completes the action. A business, seeing promotional products media as an investment, will need to look at other available and practical media to evaluate the potential ROI of our media. On client acceptability, CPM (cost per thousand ad impressions) and Memorability, no other media comes close. 


The inexcusable truth is that people love promotional products. Most consumers might think about promotional products as souvenirs, mementos or gifts but virtually every wedding, fundraiser, school athletic team, etc. use and embrace our products and see them as physical reminders of important moments. This emotional aspect is a powerful element of a conversation with your business client. They might be investing in the growth of their business, but they are still just people. 


Gregg Emmer has managed Kaeser & Blair’s marketing, catalog publishing and vendor relations for more than 30 years. Prior to arriving at K&B in 1991 he owned and operated a graphic communication company featuring promotional products and full service printing. Today he helps K&B dealers with NDAs and agreements needed to operate successful merchandise programs. Emmer’s outside consulting work provides marketing, public relations and business planning consulting to a wide range of other businesses and has been a useful knowledge base for K&B Dealers. If you are interested in growing your business (or privately commenting on articles) contact Gregg at gemmer@kaeser-blair.com.
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