In our ever-changing world, one thing that remains constant is that audiences love a good sale. People appreciate the novelty and potential savings, and it’s something they can prepare for — and look forward to. In recent years, Black Friday and Cyber Monday (the Friday and Monday following Thanksgiving Day) have served as a time when brands across the spectrum promote deep discounts and sales.
For B2C (business to consumer) businesses, Black Friday/Cyber Monday (BFCM) are the biggest sales days of the year… and have traditionally helped companies nudge balance sheets over the “hump” as they attempt to reach annual sales targets.
But what about B2B (business to business) companies? B2B purchasers typically buy in bulk quantities and often plan their purchases in advance — in the form of “Winter Buys” instead of just-in-time.
So, is it possible for BFCM to be a magic bullet strategy for B2B businesses the same way it is for B2C? We think it can be. Consider this type of customer event in branded ways — designed to delight and surprise your prospects… as well as your loyalists.
Why B2B Companies Should Leverage BFCM Marketing
A BFCM-type “event” can be an effective way to differentiate your brand. And help you get a leg up on the competition. If your company sells materials as widely available as flooring, decking, surfacing, or cladding, BFCM marketing provides a great opportunity to grab an audience’s attention.
The reason these sales experiences are so successful is that the deals are always enticing. And quantities and/or timelines are limited. Customers don’t have time to ponder their purchase. Or think about markets and the supply chain — they are incented to just act. While you may not want to limit your supplies (no contractor wants to start a project with a product they can’t get more of), offering exclusive, discounted pricing to companies that agree to purchase a certain quantity of product within a specific time frame is a proven way to inspire quick action.
While sales move slower in the B2B channel, low-cost/specially-priced offers to your buyers can encourage brand loyalty… and build excitement for your products that lasts year round.
Building product companies can use the occasion (at a time when audiences are looking for brands to do things a little bit differently) to offer exclusive sneak peeks of new products targeted to loyalty program members or highlight important company initiatives, outstanding employees, or new product launches. Or, perhaps, call attention to corporate social responsibility projects, such as community food drives and home building initiatives. For example, REI has closed its doors on Black Friday since 2015, giving its employees a paid day off to explore the outdoors — a great way to boost employee morale and spotlight the company’s values.
How Building Product Brands Can Execute a BFCM Campaign That Delivers Results
With the right marketing agency and the right strategy, BFCM can work as well for B2B brands like building products as it does in the B2C arena — it just requires a little extra finesse. With planning and forethought, B2B businesses can use these sales events to excite their customers, even without traditional ‘door buster’ deals.
LinkedIn is one of the best platforms for B2B marketers, and BFCM is no exception. As much as 80 percent of B2B leads come from LinkedIn and it’s 277 percent more effective for lead generation than Facebook or Twitter… so it should be one of the first platforms to leverage when promoting a BFCM sale. Why not create an offer and send it via direct message in LinkedIn? Publish an article with a call-to-action and/or status updates with a link to the offer? If you’re already promoting discounts or special offers, adding the words “Black Friday/Cyber Monday” will give your efforts an extra boost.
Building product brands might also consider starting a YouTube campaign leading up to Black Friday… or that runs for the entire holiday season. Audiences consume online videos more than ever and Cisco predicts video will account for 79 percent of global internet traffic by the end 2020. Building product companies have a lot of expertise to share, and creating a video that is fun and informative will keep your brand top-of-mind when trade customers are ready to invest their dollars.
A great example was Lowe’s Black Friday “Escape Room” video series. In the video, Lowe’s created an escape room in a vacant warehouse, and hid clues and tools throughout to aid in the contestants’ escape. The contestants — two professional contractors and two YouTube do-it-yourself-ers — were each allowed to select one tool. They then entered the escape room. And were provided only a single hour to get out. The video follows the teams as they work together, relying on each other’s skills to problem-solve their way through the puzzle. These kind of video series are content gold and highly sharable.
Reaching out to your customer base during BFCM is a great way to break the ice. Even if your audience is hesitant to spend money during your promotion, you can still start building a long-term relationship with them. And don’t forget to follow up with an email marketing campaign.
Looking for more impactful marketing strategies and tactics to help elevate your brand as we near the end of 2020 and look toward the new year? Contact Steve Kleber at email@example.com to learn how we can help your building products brand grow awareness and revenue.