‘Tis the Season to be Marketing

4 B2B Marketing Ideas for a Merry Christmas

Christmas is only a few weeks away. It might not yet be snowing outside, but the festive season is already in full swing – at least in the advertising industry. With Christmas being the most anticipated event in the annual marketing calendar among consumer brands, retailers have already released their major Christmas campaigns.

Taking a look at this year’s releases in the UK, it comes as no surprise that advertising spend for this Christmas season is forecast to hit a new record-high of £6bn, with £2.1bn only accounting for TV advertising. One of the highlights is the annual long-awaited John Lewis TV ad, which has come to signal the start of the Christmas season in the UK. It features the story of an unlikely friendship between a little boy and a seven foot monster called Moz. The advert is definitely worth a watch for every marketer.

But what about B2B brands? As I was trying to think of B2B Christmas advertising, the only thing that came to my mind was the box of Lindor chocolates our own marketing agency sent us last year. To me, the sheer absence of memorable B2B Christmas marketing is definitely a sign that B2B businesses should be doing more. It doesn’t always have to be a fully-fledged campaign, but the right kind of content and a little gesture go a long way. Sure, B2B brands are somewhat limited due to the fact that their efforts are not targeted at the Christmas gift buying consumer, but this doesn’t mean that there is any less ROI to be generated.

The Christmas period is an ideal time to re-engage with your customers, but also to generate new leads. As a research study by Gartner suggests, B2B customers are more loyal to a brand whose marketing messages are directed at customers’ personal needs, rather than just their business needs. What better time to engage with existing and potential customers on a more personal level than in the run up to Christmas?

If you are struggling to come up with suitable ideas, here are our top 4 suggestions:

  1. Personal giveaways: Christmas is the time of present-giving. Why not take the idea further and get your top customers and leads a little bit of something? Remember, socks aren’t usually high up on the wish list. Make sure your present is useful to your particular target audience and something that makes your brand visible all year around. At B2B International our annually distributed desk calendar has developed into a client favourite – even so that clients approach us wanting to find out whether there will be another one coming out this year. If you have the time and resources, a hand-written Christmas card gives your present a personal touch. Whatever you decide to give, make sure that you familiarise yourself with your recipients gift-giving customs. The appropriate value can vary strongly between different countries.
  1. Christmas events: The run up to Christmas is often a busy period for organisations, projects need to be wrapped up and strategies for the new year need to be thought through. Therefore, reaching your target audience can be tricky. While your clients slowly start to wind down towards the backend of December, they might still be receptive to the opportunity of having some fun. A Christmas themed get-together with your key accounts and most promising prospects will not only bring them into the Christmas spirit, but also provide the opportunity to network in a more personal and relaxed environment.
  1. End-of-year reviews: As the year draws to a close, remind your customers of all the great things you have done throughout the year. Were there any outstanding articles you have published, any performance goals you have reached and want to share? Even if you have done the best you could in promoting the message the first time around, the selective attention of your target audience will have stopped a large proportion from registering it. And even if the majority of recipients did receive and take in the message, pushing the information again will only bring your brand to the forefront of their minds.
  1. Forecasting industry trends: What are the big opportunities and the major challenges threatening your clients’ industries in the coming year? Towards the end of Q4, every business will be busy taking stock of their annual performance and starting to think about what’s to come next. Compiling a piece of well-researched and detailed content featuring a comprehensive summary of what is to be considered and how to keep the competitive edge will without a doubt make for popular content. Plus, it‘s another great way to position yourself as a thought leader in your industry. Don’t forget – many B2B websites and publications are constantly on the lookout for great content and may be eager to publish a repurposed version of your article – a great way to extend your audience to the wider readership of your chosen publisher.
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