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Why B2B Marketers Can Learn From Black Friday

By Nick Price

It’s the time of the year that reminds us to be thankful for family, friends, life and love. Thanksgiving also marks the beginning of the holiday season.
If you watch TV or surf the internet, you have already been inundated with holiday advertising that encourages you to spend, spend, spend. Whether it is Walmart’s witty commercials with Craig Robinson or Best Buys’ ads about “winning the holidays”, you are being encouraged to spend. B2C marketing seems to tell you one thing: get out and line up outside the stores early in the morning to battle for products. The thing is, these aren’t scarce resources. Once they sell out, they’ll be restocked. Nothing really sells out these days.
As a B2B marketer, I recognize these gimmicky marketing techniques with more clarity even though I enjoy Craig Robinson’s jingles, I am not so easily swayed. What’s more, as an ad-blocker, I don’t even see ads on my PC. The ads that do sneak around the corners are the same: spend they tell me, spend.
This kind of thing does not work for B2B. Still there are lessons for a B2B marketer if you look closely enough, especially with regard to Black Friday.
Black Friday teaches us about “doorbusters,” deeply slashed prices that encourage customers to line-up. This doesn’t translate directly to B2B, but consider reframing the idea. Reframe a “doorbuster” as a holiday “gift.” If you offer some sort of service (i.e. SaaS model) think about offering free trials built around an email marketing campaign to spread the word.
A “gift” that offers a prospect a peak under the hood is a great start. You can also consider giving your prospects expert consultation. Set up a time for them to talk with a product manager, not a salesperson. Promise the insight not a pitch. This will help customers that have been on the fence by allowing them to make the most informed buying decision possible.
This is a gift to your customer, but it is also a gift to you as a marketer. A hands on experience is the best way to show your customers that your product is superior to your competition. This gift can help your prospects make a buying decision with less apprehension.
Whether you rely on display advertising, email marketing, or cold calling, there are always ways to motivate prospects. Q4 may be a time that many companies are looking to lock down as much revenue as possible. However, Q4 is also a time where many departments are looking to spend remaining budget and what better way to make yourself stand out by offering what others aren’t. Positioning free offers as gifts demonstrates that your company not only believes in its technology but appreciates your customers.
Image via John Henderson

Nick Price

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