What is the $30 Billion Brand Trying to Commercialize B2B?

14 Jun

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The 3M Company claims that the average person is never more than three meters away from its products (hence the name). They may be right. 3M is a $30 billion business with 91,000 employees. It does business in 200 countries with an expertise in 46 different tech platforms.

The 3M personal life group, famous for Scotch tape and Post-it notes, is 15 percent of the 3M company. However, the industrial business group is the largest generator of business by far. On the B2B side, this arm of the company works beside the energy and electronics arm, which works alongside health care, graphics and safety. Products include many things from bus wraps to respirators.

3M is looking to publicize this part of its business in the same way that the average consumer knows about Post-it notes. The company is looking to rebrand its institutional clients as customers in a way. Although 3M is used by some of the biggest medical, legal and engineering companies in the world, 3M wants these people to know that they are consumers as well. The other huge goal is to show that everyone is encountering 3M everywhere, of course.

The Wonder Campaign

By humanizing the 3M brand, the company is taking the entire B2B industry into new territory. The campaign is called the Wonder Campaign, and the first rollout will be in 13 of the companies that 3M does the most business in.

3M built the campaign from its own proprietary analytics. The company surveyed more than 14,000 people in at least 14 different countries. It found that most people are not very familiar with the sciences that help their lives every day. This is true of consumers and businesses. The Wonder Campaign aims to create a more open knowledge of how science works in the everyday world, and it will do this by consumerizing the B2B space.

The questions that the campaign asks include things like, “What if roads could take to buses?” “What would happen if homes could help around the house?” In framing the questions this way, 3M acknowledges that the campaign should be focused on solutions, not 3M products. People are not looking for tape – they are looking for the tools that will help them achieve the next big thing.

B2C & B2B – Converging Worlds

Technologies that were once only sold to international businesses are now in the pockets of the everyday consumer. Marketing to these two segments is becoming more similar than different. 3M has found this statistically and quantified it – it is no longer just a nice sounding mantra.

The company employs a huge agile marketing department with a focus on creating a clear path through the customer journey. When data comes back to the company, they can change it in real time. Basically, this data is trickling down in the same way that technology is. When it does, we can expect to see a much different kind of marketing in the commercial world. Look to other companies to follow in the path set by this innovative marketing campaign to bring consumers into the high flying B2B world.

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Should Augmented Reality Be Part of Your Digital Marketing Strategy?

12 Jun

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Augmented reality became really popular a few years ago when Pokemon Go came out. It was the first time that an augmented reality game was available and popular. Since then, there have been a lot of advancements in the augmented reality space. People are even watching live sports games from their living room and seeing them as they are there with virtual reality devices. Because of how popular augmented reality has become, is it time for you to add it as part of your digital marketing strategy?

What Are Some Potential Uses of Augmented Reality?

Augmented reality is not just reserved for use in apps or for live sporting events. Every business is different but if you get creative, then you can think of the best way to make augmented reality work for yours. You can use it in three main ways including:

1. Information Overlay – You can add even more to an experience of viewing something by using augmented reality to overlay additional information. An example of this already in the market is a museum adding virtual reality to add in more information about specific pieces of art on display.

2. Virtual Objects - You can allow people to view virtual objects in reality, much like Pokemon Go did. However, for a business, you could easily allow people to see your available products, such as furniture, in their own home before buying anything.

3. Digital Packaging - If you want to make your packaging even more fun, you can make it come to life with digital packaging. This is something that Starbucks recently did during the holidays to make their cups come to life.
How Can Your Digital Marketing Strategy Benefit From Augmented Reality?
It is not only good to know how you can use augmented reality but it is also good to know how your business can benefit from it so you can better determine if it will be worth your time. These are some of the main ways your business can benefit from it:

  • Increase customer engagement – Even though augmented reality isn’t new, it is still something that really captures engagement because it is not widely used quite yet. You can not only capture the attention of your current customers but you can also get more attention from others just because you are using a new technology.
  • Get more customers and increase brand awareness – When you use something as innovative as augmented reality, you can easily get the attention of others via social media. This will result in an increased brand awareness which will also turn into more customers as a direct result. The more people that are drawn to it, the better your business will benefit from it.

Augmented reality is not the right choice for every business or company but it may be the right option for yours. Now that you have a basic understanding of what it can look like and how it can benefit your business, you can decide if it is the best thing to add to your existing digital marketing strategy.

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3 Content Marketing Trends to Pay Attention to This Year

8 Jun

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Marketing is something that is constantly changing. If you are not changing along with it, you can easily be left behind. Content marketing is no different. If you want your strategy to keep up and stay on top of content marketing trends and on the front page of Google, or perhaps get there for the first time, these are the 3 main areas to pay attention to this year.

More Content

If you are running out of content that you want to use as part of your strategy, it is time to go back to the drawing board. That is because there will be an even bigger focus on more content this year. In fact, the expectation is that there will even be more content created this year than there was last year. So if you have not been putting out a lot of great content, then it is time to take a look at your content calendar and start filling it up. Otherwise, you will quickly lose your authority in your field.

The Move Away from Text-Heavy Content

This is not something that is new to the arena but it will become even more dominant this year. You should already know a little bit about the move to video but if you do not, you basically need to start learning about it. If you are still focused on only text-based content, this is the year to change. This is what people want and what they are drawn to. If nothing else, you should at least explore some other options, even if it is not video yet. You should look at stepping up your graphics or even creating slideshows instead of just text. Learn how to implement both and you will be on your way to more success in the coming years.

Build More Trust

For the most success moving forward, you have to have trust from your readers. People are getting more and more ads that they didn’t ask for and they feel like they are being sold something left and right. While you still need to try to sell so you can make a profit, you should focus more on actually building trust. This will result in better sales for you later on but you need to have that trust. On the internet, trust will start to become even less abundant as time goes on so building that trust now can make all the difference in your success several years from now. Focus on content your users want, not content that will sell. This will pay off for you later.

Content marketing is still a very vital part of your entire marketing plan. However, you need to be looking forward and paying attention to trends if you are going to be successful this year. Without a plan in place that will take you to the next level, you could just be spinning your wheels. These are the top three trends and the ones that you should focus the majority of your time on this year.

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Is There Room for Emotional Marketing in B2B Circles?

5 Jun

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The world of B2B is stereotypically based on an overload of reason and logic, almost to a fault. The stereotype comes from a good place – orders made to scale cannot afford to be wrong. Companies are spending more money, they are trying to find long-term supply chain partners, and the purchases have larger customer facing implications as well.

However, the concept of relationship marketing has found its way into the B2B market. Individual prospects are not the only customer type who wants personalized service from an accessible partner. Other companies are looking for this kind of treatment as well. After all, the largest company is really only a bunch of individuals.

Let’s take a look at whether emotional marketing should play a part in the B2B landscape.

Prospects Admitting Emotion Plays a Part in Large Purchases

Long-term business relationships are built on trust-based marketing. Most people do not consider “trust” a true emotion, at least in the traditional business world. Supposedly, trust can be quantified and based on past performance. However, as we get more data on the subject, we find that trust is one of the most emotional states that a business can take on.

At the beginning of the B2B customer journey, a business cannot truly quantify the quality of a potential partner. Nor do many companies have the time or the budget to test every competitor in the market. What does this mean? The partner that a company eventually chooses may or may not be the best choice based on quality, but that partner somehow made itself known and trusted despite a lack of information on the total market.

Building Brand Trust

It seems research tells us that emotion in the B2B market is more about building a trustworthy brand than it is about closing a sale. B2B emotions are not the same as B2C emotion, either. Individual consumers are directed and influenced by things such as excitement, nostalgia, desire, happiness and spontaneity. These are not the emotions that business marketers want to cultivate between companies – one, because it doesn’t work, and two, the emotions that build trust are more long term.

Stability and credibility are more along the lines of what a B2B marketer wants to cultivate. These better communicate long-term value and a strong personal connection than short-term emotions such as excitement. Potential business prospects also don’t like to feel manipulated. Long-term emotion allows a B2B prospect to connect with a potential partner while still basing the final decision on rational thought and product performance.

Keeping Engagement Strong

The B2B buying cycle is much longer than the consumer buying cycle. This means sellers must keep prospects engaged for a longer period of time. Long term emotions are a great way to make this happen.

As a prospect vets partners for quality and service, keeping an open line of communication-based on trust ensures that customer will always give the potential partner a chance to answer questions, overcome objections and offer a better sales package.

Is there room for emotional marketing in B2B circles? Absolutely. Is it the same type of emotional marketing that B2C circles use? Absolutely not. Learning the difference between the two journeys is essential to B2B companies that want to keep potential customers engaged.

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3 ways to update your trade show booth displays without completely replacing them

31 May

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Here’s a quick question: what’s the first thing that trade show attendees see? Answer: the trade show booth displays of the various vendors who are there. Your booth is your way of making a good first impression on those people whose attention you’re trying to attract. If you aren’t ready to completely overhaul your trade show booth this year — or if doing so simply isn’t in the budget — there are ways that you can freshen it and give it an updated look. Here are three that you can implement:

1. Change up the lighting

The lighting you choose should accomplish two primary goals. It should create a welcoming environment that leaves an attendee with a good impression of your company. The right lighting also highlights your brand’s message in a positive way that’s easy to remember. Use an oversized brand sign that’s suspended from the ceiling and that lights up to attract attention from afar. Combine that with lightbox graphics and pendant lights over product displays or meeting areas to create an environment that welcomes attendees who find their way to your booth.

2. Focus on Graphics

Graphics can become outdated quicker than you might think. Rest assured, though, that people who attend the trade shows that you’re at will notice. Did you know that the trade show visuals have a lifespan of about one year?

If you can use only one strategy to update your trade show booth this year, invest in its graphics. This is an especially good option if you’re already happy with the overall structure of your trade show booth. Because the dimensions and location of the graphics are already laid out, the only thing you need to decide is the best look for your brand.

3. Add portable displays

Portable access is an innovative strategy that instantly increases the appeal of your booth. Add portable displays such as an iPad stand, a literature rack or a kiosk that’s emblazoned with your brand. You can also use these custom trade show displays to highlight the details of a new product or service launch. Adding these creative visuals to your trade show booth is a cost-effective method of updating it.
Just because you’re not ready to completely overhaul your trade show booth or it’s not in this year’s budget doesn’t mean you can integrate some freshness into your brand’s display. The three ideas are creative solutions that pack a powerful punch while still remaining budget friendly.

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