B2B, AKA People 2 People.

Why we approach B2B marketing a little differently.

By Blackdog - one year ago


As an agency, we’ve worked in the Business to Consumer (B2C) world for many years. Knowing what motivates people to buy stuff, day in, day out for retailers and brands, such as Tesco, has meant we’ve cut our teeth at the coalface of the shopping experience.

Shoppers on the whole like to find what they want quickly, without fuss and for the best price possible. They also mostly want to be inspired. Even to occasionally buy things they didn’t know they needed.

That description also matches up with people who work for businesses that need services or products from other businesses.


So, when we spread our wings to move into strategic B2B marketing, including digital marketing for B2B, we found our People to People approach transferred very nicely.

Of course, some elements of B2C differ to B2B marketing strategies: target audiences and paths to purchase will vary, and often there are many more stakeholders along the way in B2B marketing. Trust has to be earned and the stakes are often higher, with more considered purchases being made.

But that doesn’t mean that the techniques used in creative marketing for consumer brands are widely different in the business sectors.

It’s pretty much a given that people ‘buy’ people in any industry. Deals are won and lost on the amount of chemistry between seller and buyer.

The C-word

But another reason that even the biggest businesses can lose a contract or pitch is lack of clarity. Clarity in what a business’ USP is or what that business can really offer to benefit the other business.

Amongst our B2B clients is DHL. DHL is the leading logistics company in the world, operating in over 220 countries and territories globally. They occupy the planet’s major industries, including aviation, healthcare, technology, engineering and automotive to name a few. If a major business is thinking about who can handle their logistics for them, DHL won’t be far from their minds, and they’re usually a top 3 contender for the pitch.

So, beyond price, it’s vital a company gets a handle on what a corporation like DHL is bringing to their table. Why should they work with them over somebody else? Clarity wins again.

How we do it

At Blackdog, part of our B2B marketing strategy is an inclusive process that we have developed, which involves major stakeholders agreeing on the answers to the big questions from day one. Left and right strategic turns are made early doors, and agreement is achieved on the key things to say to win customers. We’ve found that often businesses try to say too much. That means brilliant differences to competitors are lost in a quagmire of copy and messaging. Internal alignment is so important. Many vast organisations have a heritage and slow-to-change outlook, so getting agreement on strategy before creative execution makes a campaign watertight.


Along the way we construct a campaign pyramid, built to include sector or industry campaign pillars (the most important messages to convey) and that all important single-minded proposition. We’ve successfully used this way of working with DHL, The Institution of Engineering & Technology, Ricardo Rail and Nexus Fleet Vehicles.

This process means that the final creative output is engaging but, most of all, effective. It means internal and external expertise is factored in. And it means that the human, often emotive reasons we choose to work with people can shine through.

Finally at the top of the pyramid sits a customer-facing message (or CFM to throw in another abbreviation). It’s the culmination of discussion, inspiration and alignment. In a nutshell, it’s the thing the potential customer sees. The thing that brings clarity to the complex.

B2B marketing shouldn’t be boring. And whether you’re a marketing agency for B2B, B2C, D2C or any other marketing where people buy products and services, it’s worth remembering that at the heart of it all is the idea of People to People.

Because to activate people, whether in the business world or the retail space, you have to Captivate People. And that’s what we do.