B2C Marketing In 2017: What Can B2B Marketers Learn For 2018?

Mitchel White,


2017 was a good year for B2C marketing.

But what can B2B marketers learn from B2C campaigns to improve marketing performance in 2018?

2017 was a year of change.

The rise of Jeremy Corbyn, Brexit and the invention of VIPoo by Airwick. All important issues in the UK, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Has B2C Marketing Become More Personal?

Brands became more connected with consumers in 2017 and it’s something B2B brands can learn from. Something we see even now in B2B marketing is a lack of personalisation, emotion and storytelling – instead focusing on technical details, product specifications and corporate messaging.

Whilst this has worked in the past for B2B marketers, the lines between B2C and B2B have become blurred. After all, all decision makers within businesses are consumers too. People.

In this piece, we look at how 5 brands made the most of B2C marketing trends in 2017 and how that can help B2B marketers improve their marketing strategy in 2018.

Spotify: Marketing Personalisation

spotify b2c marketing, Wrapped 17

Spotify is perhaps one of the best examples of marketing personalisation done right.

This year, Wrapped 17 by Spotify got even more personal. Sitting on its own branded domain, the site allows you to see your most loved tracks and artists.

Why does it work so well? Everyone loves feeling special and social sharing is at the core of the campaign. Allowing Spotify users to share what they have been listening throughout the year.

I’m sure you have scrolled through Twitter and Facebook and seen people sharing there Wrapped 17 playlists. The campaign gives users of Spotify the chance to share a little bit about them in a fun, easy to access way. It’s a chance to escape from the shocking year that was 2017 and is 100% personal to them.

What can B2B marketers learn from the Spotify campaign?

Personalisation has never been more important in B2B marketing. Ensuring your message and marketing is personal to each audience segment is vital to ensure the success of your campaigns.

Coming up with campaign ideas that aren’t directly linked to sales can help raise brand awareness and coverage online – leading to more link backs to your site. Not everything in B2B needs to be middle of the road and sales focused.

Jaguar Land Rover: Integrated Marketing Approach

jaguar integrated marketing campaign

I’m a little biased on this one as I bought a Jaguar in 2017, but the Jaguar Land Rover group is one of the best examples of how to do British manufacturing marketing. A brand which only 5-6 years ago was struggling to sell cars has seen a revival.

In an attempt to appeal to younger car owners, in 2017 Jaguar tried new marketing strategies.

Every touchpoint we see is on brand, from the coffee bar at showrooms to the printed brochure you receive in the post once you’ve requested one online, right through to the immersive digital experience they launched to promote the new Range Rover Velar SUV which uses Virtual Reality to make you feel as if you’re sat in the car. All of these touch points are consistent and coherent with the new younger brand positioning.

In 2017, Jaguar focused on creating more distinct ranges and all of their marketing channels reflected this, for example in the recent launch of the new Jaguar XF Sportbrake the brand combined printed direct mail with social media and paid advertising to increase the reach of the campaign – all of which had consistent messaging and design.

What can we learn from the JLR integrated approach?

Jaguar Land Rover is the perfect example of integrated marketing.

B2B brands need to ensure that their offline and online channels are “joined up”. People often talk about the death of print or email marketing. Jaguar is the perfect example of how this isn’t the case and that using multiple marketing media (offline and online) improves the ROI of marketing campaigns.

Jigsaw: Talking Bigger Picture

Jigsaw b2c immigration marketing campaign

This year clothing brand Jigsaw focused a B2C marketing campaign around one of the most divisive topics of the year. Immigration. In a year where Brexit was everywhere, it could perhaps be seen as a bit of a risk.

The premise of the Heart Immigration campaign is that “British Style is not 100% British,” “There is no such thing as 100% British.” The brand published their manifesto in a full-page advert in national newspapers alongside a take over of Oxford Road tube station – a bold statement.

But, why is a clothing brand talking about immigration?

The campaign tries to create positive emotion and talks about something bigger than the design and production of clothing. The campaign has won praise from human rights groups, the press and more importantly the majority of consumers.

What can B2B businesses learn from Jigsaws message?

Businesses shouldn’t shy away from talking about the issues that matter to them. B2B brands have become more human in recent years and 2018 will see that going further.

As more brands look to talk about the things that matter to them – what can your B2B business talk about? It doesn’t have to be something as divisive as immigration, for example one of our clients Ribble Packaging is talking about the plastic packaging problem. Something they are passionate about and have a lot of knowledge on, whilst being topical.

Samsung: Investing In Marketing To Grow

samsung b2c marketing

Samsung had a pretty bad 2016 with their exploding Samsung Galaxy Note 7 PR disaster.

How did they move on?

They accepted responsibility by apologising and ran B2C marketing campaigns to explain their quality testing processes – being transparent and honest with consumers meant they could control the conversation around the issue.

In the months after disaster they increased TV advertising spend by 60% rather than shying away from the issue, they talked about it openly and focused on how they would improve things in the future with emerging technologies.

Using video, TV advertising and print marketing the brand was able to not only deal with a big PR disaster but increase sales by 20% in 2017 and increase profits by 72%. Showing that transparency really does work.

What can B2B brands learn from Samsung’s turnaround?

When things are going a bit rubbish and sales are declining, it can be tempting to cut costs – including marketing budgets. Samsung did the opposite, instead doubling down on marketing investment to rebuild its reputation, sales and brand equity.

Increasing marketing spend and trying new marketing strategies might be one way to turnaround a decline in sales.

The Labour Party: Storytelling & Emotion

Embed from Getty Images

The summer of 2017 was taken over by Corbyn mania. Glastonbury was awash with Corbyn t-shirts. But how did The Labour Party create such a frenzy?

In a shift in focus to appeal to younger voters, The Labour Party focused on aspiration, emotion and storytelling.

One reason for the success of The Labour Party General Election campaign was the conception of grassroutes group Momentum. The group used digital marketing and offline campaigning to connect with younger audiences.

Social ads run by Labour and Momentum during the 2017 General Election focused on real stories of young people living in the UK and the issues that are facing them. This focus on storytelling allowed people to engage online with the movement. The party invested heavily in promoting #forthemany on Twitter – young people joined in the conversation which increased the reach of the campaign.

What can B2B marketing learn from The Labour Party?

The Labour Party demonstrated the power of storytelling and emotion in their Election campaign.

B2B brands can follow suit by talking about real life problems their prospects and customers might be facing. Customer case studies also help other businesses connect with your brand. Using video to capture an emotion is something all B2B brands should be thinking about in 2018.

B2B Brands Can Learn A Lot From B2C Marketing

Hopefully you have taken some inspiration from the B2C marketing campaigns run in 2017.

People talk about the distinction between the two but the same marketing principles apply. We’re all human and connecting with people on a personal level by striking an emotion is the most powerful way to market your B2B business.

If you have any questions about B2B marketing or you’d like to speak to one of our B2B marketing specialists, give us a call on 0161 871 7428 or drop us a message.

Back to Blog