Ever since I heard my first jingle broadcast on local radio during work experience week when I was 15, I was hooked on building brands and seeing how content can connect and resonate with people.

Fast forward 20 years and I’ve turned my hand to delivering marketing strategies for just about as many big brands as I have countries. From Lion Nathan in New Zealand to Mount Gay Rum in Scotland, Westfield in Australia to Coca-Cola in London, Amazon in Luxembourg to Microsoft in Seattle – my Big Brand Energy extends further than just my surname.

In 2021 I decided I was ready for the next challenge in my career and wanted to flex my marketing muscles in a new way. I joined Flintfox International – a global intelligent pricing business – with the brief to help build a brand identity and differentiate it in the market. By applying the B2C mindset to the nuanced challenges of tech marketing, my team and I breathed new life into the Flintfox brand,  transformed the messaging and launched a content strategy that exceeded all our expectations and helped us sign a record number of new clients.

Here are my top five learnings that I hope other B2B marketers can apply.

Throw out the corporate marketing playbook – it’s all about P2P

Having grown up in the world of consumer marketing, which is highly emotional and designed to play on the heartstrings of the end consumer, one of my pet peeves is the idea that B2B marketing lacks the same opportunity for creativity and storytelling. You’re still communicating to a person through your content, no matter whether they’re in their personal or professional capacity. We used this principle when overhauling our brand messaging and visual identity a few years ago at Flintfox.

Like many other B2B brands, we fell victim to the classic tech-marketing cliché of complex, jargon-heavy communication. But by deconstructing our own technology and replacing vague terms and phrases with simplified language that got straight to the point, we were able to connect with our customers in a new way and demonstrate our value.

Use a customer-centric approach to fostering a community

B2B brands need to create real, meaningful relationships with the customers they market to, because often a lot of business leads will come from within a specialist community. These customers want to feel like you truly understand their world and simultaneously share their excitement and interest in their industry. The customer-centric approach of B2C marketing, addressing unique pain points and aspirations, is a valuable mindset to embody when interacting with your business’ community.

Don’t underestimate the power of entertainment

Tapping into a B2C mindset is also helpful when creating content that allows your customers to connect with your brand. B2B buyers are real people who seek entertainment, laughter and respect, so B2B marketers shouldn’t overlook the emotional side of their audience. This year at Flintfox, we launched a punchy fortnightly vlog series, ‘Power to the Pricing People’, which distils everything happening in the world of pricing into bite-sized digests, perfect for our time-pressed audience. We’ve seen a big jump in the number of leads and social media engagement scores off the back of the series, a testament to the value of retaining the entertainment factor in our content.

Strike the balance between entertaining and informing

Often the stakes involved in B2B purchasing decisions are high, investment is required and customers need to justify and defend their decision-making to other stakeholders.  Marketeers need to assure their customers that they can feel confident in their decisions – it’s not about FOMO, it’s FOMU (fear of messing up). The job of B2B brands is to give customers confidence that they’re in safe hands. This should be reflected in the language and the formats of content in your marketing mix. Striking the balance between entertaining and informative content is the winning recipe for B2B content marketing success.

Think outside the box with resourcing

Along with having less room for error, B2B marketing functions typically have fewer team members, less budget and can’t access the economies of scale that their consumer counterparts have. B2B marketers must become masters at doing more with less, looking to consumer brands for innovation and cherry-picking the best ideas for their own businesses. AI can be used strategically by B2B teams to maximise the efficiency of their resources. More than just a tool that can produce marketing copy, we’re only just beginning to see the potential of AI and how it can analyse customer trends and data to inform strategic marketing decisions. Getting under the skin of AI’s potential is a particular passion point of mine and we’re currently on track to use it for 50% of our heavy lifting over the next year.

Making the switch from the world of big brand marketing to B2B only enhanced my love for understanding the DNA of brands and connecting with customers in new, meaningful ways. By humanising audiences, balancing informative and entertaining content, understanding details and constraints, and thinking creatively, B2B brands can connect emotionally while still reassuring customers of product value. Though stakes are higher, marketing is still marketing, and people are still people. With the right blend of strategy and empathy, B2B can capture hearts, minds and budgets too.

Cath Brands, Flintfox International
Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer at Cath Brands, Flintfox International | + posts

Cath is the Chief Marketing & Innovation Officer for Flintfox International, the intelligent pricing software provider that helps retailers find magic in their margins. Born in New Zealand, Cath's career has taken her to every corner of the globe from London to Luxembourg. Over the last 20 years she has turned her hand to leading teams in just as many industries as countries, working for some of the world's largest FMCG, retail and tech names, including PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Amazon and Microsoft.

In 2022 Cath featured in CMO Australia Magazine's Top 50, which recognises the country’s most innovative and effective marketing leaders. When she's not spearheading a rebrand, or shaking up the retail tech space, you'll find her chasing her small children, or competing in an Ironman... for fun!