Chief Creative Officer Curt Schreiber was recently featured in SmartBrief with his piece, “What B2B Marketers Can Learn from Luxury Brands.”
His piece explores how B2B marketers can tap into the same tactics used by high-end consumer goods to create stronger brands and relationships.
Read the intro below, or click here to read the full article.
Consumer marketing tactics are frequently regarded as irrelevant by business-to-business sales operations. B2B, after all, is all about thoroughly educating customers and forming deep sales relationships. And it typically has a longer sales cycle than applies to most consumer marketing.
But there is one category of consumer products that faces very similar challenges to the B2B space and may provide a roadmap for how to create more demand: luxury.
Luxury products are outliers in the consumer marketing realm. Just like B2B products, they too require significant differentiation and relationship-building. However, unlike many B2B organizations, marketers in the category heighten this relationship with strong brand-building and enhanced customer experiences—not just to acquire new customers, but to turn people into super fans who purchase repeatedly and consistently advocate for these products.
I believe these tactics can offer a wealth of opportunity to B2B marketers.
A personalized touch is a hallmark of both luxury and B2B. Both types of buyers want to be recognized by name and expect special treatment. Whereas B2B often relies on the salesperson to personalize interactions, luxury starts this journey of meeting personal needs much higher in the funnel.
Highly specialized and personalized communications from the start go a long way toward establishing a transaction further down the line. In many ways, it takes the pressure off the salesperson of having to build the relationship from a cold start, warming the customer with a sense that the company as a whole understands them and their needs. But more importantly, it claims some of the loyalty for the brand itself.
From the earliest marketing interactions, successful luxury elevates the perception of being a part of something bigger than one’s self—something that sets you apart from the masses. Whether it’s a cologne with a slightly odd smell or an interior with an unexpected combination of styles, or even a handbag that might be perceived as gaudy, luxury products demand your attention and impart that attention on the buyers themselves. It essentially changes the conversation from “Should I buy this?” to “How can I live without it?” The customer arrives asking the salesperson not how you fit into their life, but rather how they fit into your world.
B2B can easily employ similar tactics. From adding unexpected, custom-feeling design elements to your product to upgrading packaging for a luxury feel to inviting your customers to an exclusive event, B2B marketers have a wide range of opportunities to enhance the look, feel or other memorable element of either the product or the marketing. The result is a vibrant and enjoyable product experience that helps buyers justify their choice, motivates other employees using the product, and boosts their reputation among their peers.
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Curt Schreiber is the heart of VSA design. He currently guides VSA’s creative philosophy, and is responsible for establishing the office’s design standards and offerings. Throughout his 30-year tenure with the company, Curt has been essential in the agency’s transition from a boutique design firm to a brand-led customer experience agency. Curt has decades of experience working with internationally-recognized global brands, and his client list includes VSA’s most prominent clientele. He also serves as an influential thought leader within the creative industry. Most recently, Curt was named one of Chicago’s most influential designers and included in AIGA’s This is Chicago. Curt’s work has been recognized by more than 100 international design and communications organizations, publications and competitions including the AIGA, Cannes Lions, Cooper Hewitt, Communication Arts, Graphis and the Society of Typographic Arts. His work is also included in the permanent collection of the U.S. Library of Congress.