The distinction between B2B, B2C and Internal comms was invented by agencies who wanted to offer a specialism. But to us the distinction serves only as a distraction and all too often can get in the way of a great idea and limit the potential of an unforgettable experience.
As the automotive sector shows us, it’s possible to be three audiences at once – dealers are consumers, business owners and an internal audience. So we encourage all our clients to think in terms of B2P – that’s Business to People. After all, even senior executives go to the movies, binge Netflix and queue for festival tickets. All audiences share the desire to be surprised, entertained and appreciated, no matter the context.
Expectations around professionalism and the ‘business context’ often result in a lack of personality and humanity being applied, which in turn drains the effectiveness out of B2B events and experiences. So the sooner brands empower business audiences to bring their whole selves to an experience, the sooner they can engage with them on a more meaningful, authentic level.
In short, brands looking to drive deeper engagement and more meaningful connections with business customers should take some inspiration from consumer activations and experiences.
Embrace people’s passion points
If you understand the things your audience cares about, you can initiate a meaningful conversation with them based on a shared interest or passion point. Don’t expect them to automatically care about your priorities.
Meet them in their world
Try to find ways of getting out into the world and bringing engaging experiences to your target audience, rather than expecting them to always come to you. Alternatively, consider the pressures and priorities they may be juggling, and make it easier for them to participate in your experience.
Remember they’re people first, professionals second
Forget ‘it’s not personal, it’s just business,’ because all business is personal. And – as we know – people buy people. We need to stop using ‘business’ as a reason to be cold, formal and impersonal – everyone wants to be treated as a person, rather than a prospect, and they don’t stop caring about their personal passions and interests when they’re at work.
Be willing to listen, rather than lecture
Knowledge sharing is a key component of B2B events but, all too often, organisers neglect to engage the audience in the conversation. Your target audience is itching to give you valuable insights, you just have to give them opportunities to share them.
Don’t expect to be part of every conversation
We create experiences to give audiences the chance to spend time with our brand, but they’ll be unwilling to do so if we insist on making ourselves the primary focus of every narrative.
See your role as being the host of a party – everyone’s here for you, but they don’t expect you to be in every conversation, just to make the introductions.
Set the tone and them curate their own experience
Audiences have come to associate premium experiences with personalisation. By giving them choice and the chance to determine their own journey, we can let them know that they’re important and valued.
Entertainment isn’t filler, it’s the reward for paying attention
B2B events don’t have to be all business. In fact, entertainment and recreation are essential tools in creating a more enjoyable and memorable experience. As well as rewarding your audience for their participation, it gives them time to digest, process and reflect on the other content in your agenda.
Remember their time is precious and they could be spending it elsewhere
When any audience chooses to spend time in your company, they’re doing so at the expense of the other activities in their diary. Plan your events accordingly, ensuring that they’re as long as they need to be, but as short as they can be.
FOMO is universal, so exclusivity has real value to audiences
We all fear missing out on something unique or special. So limiting places or making your event invitation-only will make it feel more exclusive and affords those that do attend bragging rights over their peers.
So there you have it, the ten rules of engagement when it comes to B2B activations. Audience-first thinking is key to every event so don’t let a crowd united by industry get anything less than your very best event planning.