Now that our calendars have flipped over to November, we all know what to expect from marketers. Our inboxes will teem with tinseled evergreens. Santa will peek out over seemingly every banner and lightbox. Red and green will dominate Facebook’s purple. Every marketer who racks up big sales for Holiday will open the floodgates.
Many of my esteemed colleagues have great advice for enhancing Holiday emails and other addressable media. However, I’d like to address another group: what do you do when your brand doesn’t celebrate Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa or anything else in December? After all, not every brand relies on big Holiday sales to make a living, but they still gotta remain relevant in digital channels somehow.
If Guinness World Records had a category for Most Confounding Marketing Audience, I’m pretty sure that small businesses would win.
I’ve worked on countless projects for large businesses that can’t afford to call on small businesses (SMBs) with traditional sales staff and try to use digital marketing to fill the gap. When asked for more detail about these prospects and their motivations, the marketers tend to shrug. At best, they can give a size range of businesses that fit into the SMB categories. Sometimes, firms with 50 or fewer employees make up the SMB category; other times, they run up to 99 employees. In addition, some marketers recognize the SOHO, or small office/home office category (1-5 or 1-10 employees) as a separate group entirely. Or not.
Defining your business audience as “businesses with 5-50” employees helps about as much as defining a consumer audience as “people aged 5-50,” which is to say, not at all.
In the absence of more definitive firmographic data (business type, region, firms’ customer type), time actually describes the small business audience better than employee count.
Trippy, but he makes a point
Small businesses don’t have time, and the marketers who cater to this lack of time will succeed.
When we set out to solve marketing problems, we often try modeling, as in “how would another brand solve the problem?” More often than not, I think we use sexy brands–Apple, Nike, Starbucks and so forth–because they usually get their marketing right.
However, I suggest that you stop thinking about what’s sexy. After all, most marketers don’t have the resources of these brands nor can they always take the big risks that those brands have taken.
So, instead of sex, try toilets.
As in, ask yourself, “what would we do if we were trying to sell toilets instead of our brand/product?” Turning your strategy exercise into an exercise of selling toilets has three key advantages:
We’re going to try something new on the blog: “Behind the Numbers.” I want to show marketers how to interpret surveys and data by applying things they already know and–when appropriate–a healthy dose of skepticism.
The invaluable eMarketer newsletter shared a survey from content marketing firm Eccolo Media on popular content throughout the B2B technology sales cycle. Among other data points, Eccolo shared this one about what kinds of content these buyers want right after purchase:
In descending order, these customers want content relating to thought leadership (36%), tech support (30%), new product info (25%) and customer stories (9%).
The data tell a good story, but they don’t tell the whole story.
Collectively, marketers have spilled a lot of ink around content marketing for the past few years. However, a lot of marketers still don’t seem to understand how to use it. For those marketers, I offer a quick analogy: B2B marketers can use content the way B2C marketers use humor.