It starts with Halloween and continues on until New Year’s Eve. It’s the holiday marketing season. It has become so ingrained in American culture that the initials “BFCM” are widely understood to mean Black Friday and Cyber Monday. While generally considered the domain of B2C marketers, B2B marketers can play too. With everyone in a buying mood, why not plumb the festive spirit in the name of forming new relationships that may bear fruit immediately, or in the future? B2B holiday marketing can make a lasting impression.
In fairness, it is true that the buying cycle of most businesses is longer. Purchases often involve considerable sums and often represent long term commitments. Then there is the chain of approval, from departments to senior management to ownership. Quite different from the impulse driven behavior of consumers.
In B2B Holiday Marketing, Purpose Is Paramount While Patience Is A Virtue
Try to keep in mind that the action does not necessarily have to happen immediately. Sweeten the holiday mix with time-limited gift cards and deep discounts. Entice action with introductory memberships, free software trials, or bonus points for credit card use. For those who respond, prompt thanks and well-timed follow up keep the flame lit. All businesses need advice. Publish an eBook and give it away. Offer free consultation or installation.
The key to successful B2B holiday marketing is to do whatever it takes to foster good will with your most desired prospects during a season when normally pragmatic business people are more open to acting like…people. Perhaps by encouraging participation in a good cause. That’s what Giving Tuesday is all about. Many businesses have, or support foundations that do universally acknowledged good work. Matching fund drives help businesses feel good about contributing to something meaningful. The holiday season offers many ways to foster relationships that start with a positive vibe.
Here Are Some Proven Approaches:
- Gift the gift of a better work environment. Attractive B2B holiday marketing offers for new office furniture, technology products, printing services, anything that makes a business hum a holiday tune can resonate more vividly at this time. Sweeten the holiday mix with gift cards, deep discounts, double points, special memberships, free software trials, whatever it takes to foster good will with your most desired prospects.
- Whatever you do, PERSONALIZE. Nobody will warm up to an offer of anything that begins with “Att: Business Decision Maker”.
- Monitor the Social Media spaces for trends and memes. See what your prospects and contacts are seeing. Be prepared to act quickly and decisively to provide the answers to everyone’s wish list.
- Make a holiday appearance on LinkedIn with branded content. Put an entertaining spin on the company story. Or just wish all your connections a joyous season (with a little incentive thrown in.)
- Create Instagram Stories showing how awesome your company is, all year but especially during the holiday season. Cast employees and even products in a new light. Show how great it would be to work together.
Ideally, create a multi-channel holiday campaign. Reach your prospects and customers with emails, printed pieces, web units, SMS and phone greetings. Be sure to frame any message in the holiday spirit, and only then tender an offer that may be of interest.
Segment your B2B holiday marketing lists to tailor messages to current customers, past purchasers, and profiled prospects. Use only well vetted, accurate business data. Not even the holiday spirit will cause a business person to respond to a message that isn’t personal and does not make it clear you have a grasp of what they need.
This is the time of year when people in business are apt to view things through a consumer lens. They think about what have wanted all year for their business. Some are necessities, while others are wanna haves. Either way, after a long year of working to succeed, many business decision makers make feel deserving of something new, something with a measure of emotional value mixed in with the rational. Astute B2B direct marketers can create new relationships during the season of togetherness.