There is a clear disparity between B2B vs B2C christmas campaigns, so what can B2B organisations learn?
At Skout, as you may have seen on our social feeds, we’ve already got our Christmas campaign in full swing! And no doubt, many other B2B companies will have also set the cogs in motion to capitalise on the festive season, whether that involves developing a creative festive-themed campaign idea, or simply using it as an excuse to show clients and customers some love.
However, when it comes to campaign planning, B2B marketers can often feel limited; trying to tie activities and messaging in with existing company comms while linking it back to the product or service. As the business often has a niche focus, ideas can easily become stunted and the Christmas theme can feel shoehorned in as an afterthought.
The world of B2C, on the other hand, is renowned for its creativity and ability to think outside the box when it comes to festive campaigns. The TV adverts, especially, never fail hit the headlines and get everyone talking. As well as effectively promoting seasonal products, they usually feed into a wider message or cause. John Lewis’ Edgar the Dragon promotes a message of inclusion and understanding, as the excitable character eventually finds a use for his fire breathing capabilities and wins the hearts of the villagers. Others are memorable and widely loved because they simply make us laugh. Aldi’s Kevin the Carrot has made a heroic return for the third year running, as he fights off the Leafy Blinders and Russell Sprout with the help of his friend, Tiny Tom.
Christmas packaging, seasonal products and special promotions are also key B2C festive features; helping to connect and reinforce their branding and messaging to fight the fierce competition for sales. In the last week alone, I’ve not only seen Kevin the Carrot on TV, but adorning the packaging for my Aldi carrots, and throughout the store, both on signs and as huge soft toys in the aisles!
These campaigns are big budget, but incredibly effective. According to Kantar, UK consumers spend about £30bn in the ‘golden quarter’ leading up to Christmas. The investment in Christmas campaigns certainly pays off for John Lewis, as a spokeswoman for the retailer told the BBC, “Our ads always deliver an excellent return on investment at a time of year that is critical for us, generally delivering 20 times the return on our original spend.”
So, with this in mind, what Christmas campaign lessons can B2B take from B2C successes? For those of us that don’t have millions to spend on our festive marketing efforts, there are still plenty of options – beyond simply posting out company Christmas cards to clients. Here are just a few ideas:
- Targeted adverts – Fun with Christmas adverts isn’t just reserved for B2C. Using social media, you can create highly targeted adverts to get the right messages out to the right people. You can select your audience based on their age, sector and job title (to name just a few!) and manage the campaign with a controlled budget. But just because you’re a business hoping to target another business, don’t forget that you’re appealing to other human beings and don’t be afraid to have a bit of fun with it! Think Russell Sprout and the Leafy Blinders – people will appreciate a more light-hearted approach at this time of year than the hard sell.
- Special offers and sales – While your customers may not be unwrapping one of your products with their family on Christmas day, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t offer special promotions and sales around this time of year to boost sales. In the run up to Black Friday, we received an email with an offer from research company, Vason Bourne, and the subject read, ‘Black Friday is for B2B too…’
- Christmas packaging and delivery – Christmas is a time for giving, and who doesn’t like receiving gifts? It’s the perfect opportunity to give your clients and customers a little something back, and at this time of year, you can afford to have fun with it! It doesn’t necessarily need to be a big fancy gesture – a little creativity goes a long way. And why not ask for a bit of social media love in return? Whether you ask recipients to share pictures of their gifts or join in the conversation using a particular hashtag, this can boost your engagement and spread your message even further.
- Thinking broader – While we’re all looking forward to winding down for the Christmas holidays and spending time with our loved ones, there are so many people that aren’t as fortunate and have bigger issues to contend with around this time of year, like where they’re going to find their next meal or how they’re going to make it through another night on the streets in freezing temperatures. As businesses, we’re incredibly lucky to be in a position to give a little something back, whether it’s arranging an event to raise funds for a good cause or volunteering our time to something worthwhile. Our client, 100% Group, recently took part in the Centrepoint Manchester Sleep Out, raising over £2000 for the youth homelessness charity. They also took a charitable approach with their gifting, and we were lucky enough to receive an incredible Advent of Change calendar, which supports a different charity every day with a generous donation.
What is your business doing for its Christmas campaign this year? Let us know!