Grow Your B2C Audience With These 3 B2B Marketing Tools

Business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing often comes more naturally to marketers than business-to-business (B2B). It’s in our nature to relate to other people – to draw from our emotions, passions and other human tendencies – which is what B2C is all about. It feels less natural to appeal to whole organizations rather than the individuals within them – to rely on numbers and logic more than shared experience.

These differences have given B2B an unsexy reputation in the marketing world, distracting us from a surprising truth: B2B and B2C are more similar than most of us are willing to admit.

Though their end goals are seemingly different, running a successful B2B or B2C strategy means knowing your audience. And most audiences’ decisions are shaped by information they receive through multiple platforms –platforms customary to both B2B and B2C strategies. Adapting certain traditional B2B tactics to a B2C strategy can help to meet your audience at multiple points in their lives.

Consider using these three traditional B2B tools to fortify your B2C marketing strategy and up your chances of broader audience penetration.

  1. LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a great tool for both building trust in your organization and diversifying your social media audience, especially if you’re marketing to millennials.

Younger audiences are often mission driven in their behaviors. They’re looking for organizations whose beliefs reflect their own, and they want to see those beliefs put into action through products and advocacy. On LinkedIn, you can draw audiences with in-depth content that unpackages complex, mission-focused topics and helps build brand authenticity.

Further, while you’re more likely to reach women on channels like Instagram or Facebook, LinkedIn leans slightly toward men. If professional males are a segment of your audience that’s proven trickier to connect with, you’ll have better luck finding them on LinkedIn.

  1. Inbound Marketing

Inbound is typically a B2B tool because it’s great for marketing anything involving a high price point or long-term investment. Products such as business information software, machinery and consultation services have longer sales funnels, and leads spend more time weighing their options before they buy.

But prolonged sales cycles happen in B2C, too, with expensive products such as cars and homes – or long-term investments like meal kit subscriptions. Successfully marketing these consumer-facing products means nurturing leads through the awareness and consideration stages all the way to final decision.

Take our client GOGO Band, which specializes in tech-based solutions to childhood bedwetting. While our work with them is primarily B2C, their product includes complex electronic equipment and a recurring subscription model – a pricey, long-term investment. So we’re guiding prospects steadily through the sales funnel via email workflows, educational e-books and other lead-nurturing methods.

Remember that B2C inbound marketing should focus on anticipating your audience’s questions and answering them before they even ask. Rather than addressing these major questions in business-friendly formats like white papers and hours-long seminars, do it with bite-sized content like social media posts or newsletters.

  1. Longform Content

I know, I just said to keep things brief. But longform content lets your brand unpackage complex, often data-driven topics in a way that engages the consumer’s whole brain and helps them identify with your business objectives.

Our client Worksite Labs provides quick-turnaround PCR COVID-19 testing for business, travel, events, schools and other purposes. While testing is a high-demand product (especially during the recent Omicron surge), the inner workings of the test product – and the disease it addresses – are highly complex and scientific in nature.

By producing a three-part B2C blog series that explained COVID-19 immunity, preventive practices and treatments, our team helped Worksite Labs speak its audience’s language and educate them on a complicated, widely misunderstood topic. In turn, these blogs emphasized the importance of Worksite Labs’ product and concretized the company’s healthcare expertise.

Whether you use traditionally B2B or B2C tools, you can connect with your consumers if you take the time to understand them. Depending on your product and your goals, you can send different value props to different audiences or the same value prop across multiple platforms. Whatever you land on, be consistent. At the end of the day, it’s consistency that drives consumer decisions.

Are you looking to broaden your audience and meet prospects where they are? Our team of creative, content and brand strategy experts will develop a framework that can help your ambitious brand do more business. Click here to reach out.

Is Your 2022 Marketing Strategy on Target?

Here are 3 questions mid-size brands should ask themselves to find out.

Growing a middle-market brand is no small feat. You’re often competing in markets that are dominated by big players and saturated with energetic startups.

Many of our clients come to us looking to solve this challenge through marketing, trusting we’ll turn their promotional budget into maximum ROI. An iron-clad marketing strategy is key to keeping any organization afloat, but how do you ensure lasting impact over time?

By always understanding your audience.

If you don’t know what matters most to your key demographic, and how they learn and consume information, you will lose your relevance. Why should they keep you on their radar if you cannot empathize with (and solve) their problems?

My goal is to help our clients ask the right audience-first questions to keep their marketing strategy on track. So, let’s run through the three questions you should ask yourself when putting your own strategy under the microscope.

Are you driving value for your audience?

The entire purpose of a product is to solve the customer’s problems. If your customer-facing content doesn’t focus on how your product can ease their burdens, you will lose their attention, fast.

And that would be a simple charge if you served just one audience, but that’s often not the case. Organizations need to spend the time to understand each audience (their hopes, obstacles, and behaviors), understand their potential impact to your organization (lifetime value), and prioritize marketing spend accordingly.

Thankfully, if you’re already in business, you likely have ready access to your customer base. If you ask them to help improve your services, they’ll often be more than happy to oblige.

An in-person or online customer survey is perhaps the simplest branding “health check” you can conduct. Ask customers whether you’re meeting their needs and, if not, what you can do to fix it. (And it never hurts to offer participants a small incentive as a thank-you.)

Is your message relevant to your audience?

There are two types of relevance to consider: cultural relevance and industry relevance. As the speed of business and culture continues to quicken, it’s important to show customers that you’re in touch with what currently matters in a way that separates you from the competition.

Culturally relevant brands share their messages in a way that customers resonate with and understand. This extends beyond simply using keywords, phrases, and concepts your audience is familiar with; you should mirror their values as well.

A brand’s cultural involvement drives a whopping 25% of the average consumer’s purchase decision. If your brand gives back to the community, supports social issues, and otherwise conducts itself in a way that matters to customers, they will notice.

Brands should also maintain industry relevance by taking note of major changes, challenges, and opportunities in the marketplace. A brand that adapts its messaging to respond to its audience’s excitement or concerns about these changes will come off as trustworthy and well-adjusted. COVID-19 is a great example of this – brands that pivoted to meet their audience during this unique time earned brownie points in dividends.

Marketers can pursue both cultural and industry relevance by simply keeping a steady eye on conversations in the news and on social media. It also helps to study the discourse between your competitors and their audiences to determine what works and what misses the mark. Brands that want to stay in the know should consider regular assessments of competitors’ websites and social channels to gain a quick view of market conversations and untapped opportunities.

Are you using your audience’s chosen platforms?

Every brand has a customer base that interacts with the world in a unique way. We know millennial moms are oftentimes driven to the stimulating visuals of Instagram while their boomer parents tend toward more traditional social channels like Facebook. When you focus the bulk of your budget and energy on your audience’s chosen mediums, you can maximize your marketing impact.

Also ask whether your activity on those platforms is driving the actions you want in your business. Are your customers being led to your website? Does that, in turn, lead them to make a purchase or ask for a quote? Conduct quarterly and annual analyses to see whether your strategy is yielding the desired business outcomes, not just marketing outcomes.

An effective marketing strategy requires dedicated attention to many different aspects of your audience and brand. Asking yourself these three questions – on a daily basis, not just once or twice a year – is critical to identifying diverse strategies and creating holistic solutions that may be grounded in marketing but are revenue-generating – which is the ultimate goal for all middle-market brands.

Announcing PR Daily’s Content Marketing Awards Finalists

For its lead-generation campaign for Tech Knowledge Associates (TKA), Dotted Line has been named a finalist in three categories of PR Daily’s Content Marketing Awards. The agency is up for Content Marketing Strategy of the Year, as well as the year’s best B2B campaign and best use of content marketing for the purpose of lead generation.

Continue to PR Daily.

12th Annual “Best Places to Work” List

Dotted Line snagged the #62 spot on Virginia Business’ 2022 Best Places to Work list in the small-employers category. Its selection was based on employee surveys that benchmarked Dotted Line on a list of core values, including leadership, corporate culture, work environment and overall engagement. The agency competed with more than 200 companies to be included and is one of only five advertising, PR and marketing companies in Virginia to earn a spot on the small-employers list.

Continue to Virginia Business.

Lauren Sweeney of Dotted Line: 5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became a Founder

Since starting Dotted Line in 2014, CEO Lauren Sweeney has learned countless lessons as she built the company into a mid-level marketing agency. She shares how finding A-player team members, sharpening her influence skills and reframing her relationship to failure have shaped her into the leader she is today.

Continue to Authority Magazine.

Getting to Know: Marci Schnur with Dotted Line

In her 25-plus-year career, Dotted Line Managing Director of Client Services Marci Schnur has led numerous large-scale campaigns and built lasting relationships with diverse clients. She reflects on her most significant learning experiences, her best and worst business decisions, and offers her insights for the industry’s current and future challenges.

Continue to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Winning Ad Themes from the Super Bowl

The 2022 Super Bowl featured two unexpected teams that reinvented themselves and evolved throughout the season to get to the big game. Similar to the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals, businesses looking to take advantage of the hype around this perennial celebration of broadcast advertising prowess approached this year a little differently, operating with a greater level of intentionality to make sure their message reached their target audience. And with the price for a :30 spot crescendoing this year at a cool $6.5 million, it’s no wonder big brands took the time to ensure they were leveraging their media dollars in the most strategic and effective ways.

Below, we have outlined some of the most prevalent themes and highlighted an ad or two that we feel did an exemplary job of following through on the execution of each.

Not Joining the Party

Sometimes the best move is not to play at all. That’s what Hyundai thought at least. Given timing uncertainty around whether the Ioniq 5 would be on the market in time for the game, the longtime Super Bowl advertiser opted to stretch beyond the edges of the nearly 4-hour telecast with several smart tactical moves. While it still produced two smart (and epic) spots – check out History of Evolution – with familiar brand spokesman Jason Bateman, it was able to leverage the NFL playoffs and consumer focus on ads during the big game to its advantage.

In the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, the brand focused its media relations message about the decision to sit out, citing the need to balance its marketing priorities. Being based in Los Angeles (where the Super Bowl was held) and leveraging its existing sponsorships with both the NFL and SoFi Stadium, the brand opted for OOH (Out of Home) paired with a product placement on the ABC sitcom Black-ish.

Know Your Audience – Part I. Millennials

Although Gen Z commands much of the silver screen these days, there is still a fervor within the advertising world to engage with the juggernaut generation: millennials. No brand capitalized on that opportunity more than Expedia during the big game.

A core value of most millennials is valuing experiences over possessions or purchases, so in Expedia’s Stuff spot, they cast Ewan McGregor to speak specifically to this sentiment. Over the :60 piece, Ewan poses a philosophical question around consumerism and the impact of those items on our legacy…setting the brand up as the hero that can provide its audience with the things that matter.

In addition to speaking directly and effectively to their audience, Expedia also hit the nail on the head by capturing the anguish that many of their prospective clients may be feeling from not being able to travel freely during the pandemic, strengthening an already persuasive message.

Know Your Audience – Part II. Gen X

No, the Super Bowl advertisers haven’t forgotten about you, Gen Xers. In fact, this demographic was the main target in what most are viewing as the best ad of the 2022 Super Bowl. The spot that sits atop this throne is Dream House with Anna Kendrick and Barbie from Rocket Mortgage.

Just as Expedia tapped into a core value for many millennials, Rocket Mortgage crafted a message that struck the nostalgia chord for Generation X and also spoke to a relevant topic most in that demographic are familiar with: how gosh-darn-it to buy a house these days.

As USA Today commented, the brand left “no stone veneer uncovered,” attempting to solidify its top ad position from several angles. By casting Anna Kendrick as a celebrity spokesperson (and having her tweet consistently in the lead-up to and during the game) and pairing her charm with a comedic, yet realistic view of the current housing market, Rocket Mortgage was able to ring the pop culture gong in their :60 spot and keep them talking long after the game had ended. Another lead-up activity included an Easter egg listing on the Rocket Homes site, and then the brand brought it home at the end of its spot with a fixer-upper castle on the Homes sub brand.

Going Beyond

More so than in years past, advertisers focused on how to expand their messaging through third screen experiences. From omnichannel offers to in-app experiences and contests, brands wanted to leverage their audiences’ fractured attention spans to capture engagement in as many places as they could.

No Super Bowl advertiser did that better than Coinbase with their bouncing, multi-colored, screensaver-esque QR code. Also making a nostalgia play that harkened back to prestreaming DVD days, Coinbase’s low production spot (whose simplicity was shocking unto itself) paired the gamification of chasing the moving target with a contest tie-in. And other brands took notice…quickly and comedically playing off the messaging.

(Captain Morgan was one such brand that shortly after tweeted out a black screen with a floating Captain Morgan logo bouncing around and changing colors à la the Coinbase QR code.)

While not necessarily a fan favorite, Coinbase’s ad has drummed up a lot of excitement and their success is quantifiable. Curious internet sleuths quickly broke down just how successful the ad was in the first day since it aired.

Ad Cost: $14M

• 117,000,000 people watched the spot

  • 20% scanned the QR code (The site had 20M visits in the first minute)
  • 10% signed up
  • 20% linked their bank account – which equates to ~500K new customers

500K new customers are worth a lot to Coinbase. But exactly how much?

According to their last quarterly report, the average customer generates $90 in revenue per year. If the customers who came from the Super Bowl spot are even 50% as valuable, then we can assume $45 of annual revenue from each. 500,000 new users x $45 = $22.5 million. That certainly covers the cost of the spot, and then some.

Creative Spotlight

In lieu of a fifth theme, we opted to highlight one of our Creative Director’s favorite spots from the Super Bowl, a throwback to his childhood, in Irish Spring’s Welcome to Irish Spring.

Over the decades Irish Spring, a very utilitarian consumer packaged good, has always been unabashedly over-the-top, even stereotypical, with its “Irishness” and laser focus on getting you clean and smelling fresh. Their first foray into Super Bowl advertising is no different. But they’ve taken it one step further. Along with their nod to the Emerald Isle and hyper focus on the importance of smelling fresh, they’ve added a cult, led by a white rabbit, that believes in ridding the world of all things smelly. The result is a twisted and funny touch of spring.

The Bottom Line

While Super Bowl spots are an opportunity for brands to briefly steal the spotlight from one of the nation’s most-watched annual broadcasts, smart advertisers are using the moment to extend beyond :30 or :60, attempting to form authentic connections with their most important audiences and sustain that electricity well past Sunday.

Dotted Line Rounds Out Executive Leadership Team with Key Hires and a Promotion on the Heels of Record Growth

Dotted Line’s leadership team has grown to include Managing Director of Client Services Marci Schnur and Creative Director Jason Anderson, while Emily Shane has been promoted to Strategy Director. They’re lending 60-plus years of combined marketing experience to help develop highly effective solutions for clients while bringing a clear vision and passion to the agency. 

Continue to AdForum

The Leap Podcast: A Vision Driven Mindset

Lauren Sweeney was recently featured on The Leap podcast with host, Tim May, where she detailed the origin story of Dotted Line and the powerful metamorphosis of her mindset from being singularly goal oriented to being vision driven.

Listen to the full episode here.