B2B Marketing…Why so serious ?

by Jean Noel Lau Keng Lun

B2B Marketing…Why so serious ?

Does B2B marketing necessarily need to be boring? Not at Egencia.

Intercompany marketing traditionally focuses its discourse on products or services delivered with an institutional tone. The messages detail product features, technical advantages, and the benefits offered a company by these innovations.

As such, B2B communication addresses companies through marketing personas that represent decision makers and stakeholders. In business travel, these are business leaders in purchasing, finance, HR, etc. This marketing model reflects changes in the 1950-60s with the advent of strong brands, consumerism, mass markets and globalization. At the time, individual users became anonymous and advertisers focused on marketing segmentation, delivering messages to specific populations instead of individual human beings.

Today’s paradox is that over the last decade, B2C marketing has evolved, thanks to Internet, mobile and social networks. Today, when considering a new product, the consumer focuses on immediate gratification, and the direct personal benefit that it will provide. As an example, in 1990-2000, the key selling point for a personal computer was its processing power and technical specs.

Today, ads for personal computers are very different.

Technical specifications are nowhere to be found. The product is shown in its use context, one in which the user looks good, the life of the party.

This is the tone of voice that consumers are used to today, and it is very different from that used in most B2B marketing. The result of this trend is that messages addressing only the technical specs of a product are simply not heard, nor or they effective. Consumers are not driven to change their buying habits based on these types of messages alone.

It might be surprising for some, but a company is actually made of human beings, people like you and me. End users are human, and maybe more surprisingly, decision makers are human, too. These stakeholders also buy consumer goods and are influenced by B2C marketing every day. So why should their purchasing behavior in the B2B space be fundamentally different?

At Egencia, technological innovation is part of our DNA. We lead the “peloton” by proposing a unique business travel management model. We are also part of Expedia Inc., whose expertise in technology and marketing is known worldwide.

For the launch of our latest technological breakthrough in “Hotels”, we decided to bring innovation to our marketing as well. We broke the usual codes of business travel communication with innovative, funny and engaging videos.

The campaign, “#HotelsByEgencia: It’s not about searching, it’s about finding” is articulated around a series of short videos. These videos highlight how easy it is to find the right hotel and rate with Egencia. Distributed via social networks and supported by an email campaign, this trilogy is inspired by the sitcom tradition. It compares the experience of a disorganized traveler to the experience of an Egencia user.

https://youtu.be/14u5onj0Vos

https://youtu.be/nzB3iu_enwc

https://youtu.be/EheV8t0W4-A

Instead of listing the features and benefits, the scenario illustrates the advantages of the new platform in real-life situations. The light comedy provides immediate gratification for the viewer. The short, episode form encourages frequent engagement. The high production quality reinforces the strength of the brand and by association, the quality of the Egencia experience.

Egencia is not the only B2B company exploring this route. Several high-profile technology companies are also using this technique.

https://youtu.be/B6zVzWU95Sw

The feedback we’ve received from targeted decision makers and our customer stakeholders is very positive and encouraging. They tell us that these videos are proving to be an effective (and fun) promotional tool to promote their own travel program to their travelers. Original and quality materials build confidence and reinforce the satisfaction they receive from their partnership with Egencia. Our travelers spontaneously tune into these videos as they would any other entertainment and at the same time gain insights to our offering.

Egencia sales leaders are also using the videos as an entertaining conversation piece with their prospects. Even Egencia staff can benefit from this campaign, they can it to finally help explain to their entourage what it is Egencia actually does.

  • Egencia
  • Business Travel
  • Technology
  • Mobile
  • Innovation
  • Hotel

Jean Noel is responsible for bringing Egencia’s technology to market. His team creates the stories to promote our innovations to our current and future customers, and provides guidance to our customers on how to make the most of our offering.