In 2022, tell ‘em ‘You Do You’

Embracing individuality in B2B marketing

Agency Inc's Nikki Guevarra argues that this year, B2B marketers should embrace the individuals in their audiences. From TikToks to tokens, celebrating originality will take B2B into unchartered territory.

When I asked a small sample of business professionals ‘what’s the one thing you want to do more of in 2022?’, each of the 16 responded with something unique:

‘Call my dad more often’

‘Watch more documentaries’

‘Make people laugh’

Etc.

And while it seems obvious – individuals are unique – personal motivations and quirks aren’t always front of mind when it comes to marketing B2B propositions to wide and diverse professional audiences.

In 2022, brands can be better at celebrating originality and connecting with the individuals behind the business decisions.

Here are 3 bold approaches that B2B innovators should start experimenting with:

1. TikTok for business

The creator platform has dominated the last two years with viral Gen Z content, sparking many consumer brands to harness TikTok’s power to drive both business and cultural impact. And despite this success in B2C, B2B brands are only just taking notice. 

Sage, UK’s leading enterprise software company, was the first B2B mover to leverage the platform with a branded hashtag campaign. #Bossit2021 invited the TikTok SME community to share how they were “bossing it” through last year’s challenges, offering the winner a £5,000 reward for their small business. The result? With nearly nine billion views and one million entries, Sage set an extraordinary precedent for how B2B brands can include audiences in a playful, unvarnished and authentic dialogue. More importantly, build brand awareness across the next generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders.

2. NFTs for B2B

For those in the know, it’s no surprise that the first-ever non-fungible token (NFT) from 2014 – a digital image of a pulsing octagon (naturally) – recently sold at a 2021 Sotheby’s auction for (gulp) $1.4 million. For the rest of us, we’re still scratching our heads asking WT.. are NFTs? And what do B2B marketers need to know?

Simply put, NFTs are unique digital assets that cannot be exchanged or replicated. Like art, there’s an original creator and a single owner. NFTs aren’t just limited to art though – memes, games, and even tweets are examples of ‘digital collectibles’ that can grow in value.

B2C brands are finding new ways to offer truly personal, one-of-a-kind items and experiences to keen customers, as well as building positive brand associations through NFT partnerships. Rum brand Bacardi have partnered with purpose – working with aspiring female Caribbean producers to create limited edition mixtapes, to promote diversity and representation in music. These one-off originals were converted to NFTs, allowing avid Barcardi fans to own a unique piece of the brand’s story. In addition, these NFT buyers were given a percentage of royalties, each time their track was streamed. Now that’s how to build brand advocacy!   

With digital transformation enabling new business models, this opens doors for B2B brands to also experiment with NFTs as an expression of their value propositions.

3. Metaverse: the ultimate connected customer experience

3D spaces in the metaverse will let you socialise, learn, collaborate and play in ways that go beyond what we can imagine.’ OK, Mark. But what does this actually mean for marketers?

Hailed as the ‘next chapter of the internet’, the metaverse is an interconnected network of virtual worlds. It fuses together familiar concepts that B2B brands have long been exploring – digital twins, AR, VR and gamification – all in the name of enhancing user experiences and social interactions.

Whilst some may speculate that the future of business events will look a lot like Fortnite, Microsoft’s take on the metaverse seems more pragmatic – Excel included. Launching this year, a new version of Microsoft Teams will enable workers to conduct meetings as avatars, share files and presentations, in virtual work spaces.

If we’re to believe Big Tech, the metaverse has the potential to create infinite opportunities for businesses to be omnipresent. Curating immersive experiences can empower customers to navigate their own journeys, and foster unique, personalised connections with brands.

B2B marketers wanting to be bold in 2022 need to start first by understanding the person behind the professional. Learning more about customers’ individual motivations and quirks may open up a whole new world (metaverse?) of possibilities. So, whether it’s a TikTok or NFT strategy, one thing’s for sure – in B2B, you will be leading by example. In 2022, which B2B innovators will move first?

Nikki Guevarra is a Strategy Partner at Agency Inc, an award-winning B2B strategic marketing agency.

The opinions expressed here are those of the author and were submitted in accordance with the IPA terms and conditions regarding the uploading and contribution of content to the IPA newsletters, IPA website, or other IPA media, and should not be interpreted as representing the opinion of the IPA.

Last updated 21 January 2022