by Rob L
In today's world of business-to-business marketing, the prevailing wisdom is that professionalism and formality are key to winning over sales agents. However, when you shake up the status quo by injecting humour and playfulness into your reseller marketing messages, you end up standing out from your competitors and winning over sales agents in the process. We're seeing this approach work for our clients' partner channel marketing across a range of different B2B categories, from travel companies selling to travel agents to pest control companies selling to pest controllers.
Sometimes, a brand's guidelines can be adhered to in a very rigid way across different audience segments. Usually, the consumer channel gets all the focus, and sales agents see a repurposed version of the consumer campaign with different benefit messaging. This seems like good marketing practice – using established brand assets to tap into preexisting brand awareness that the secondary audience hopefully has, then leverage those cues to slip in a new message for the B2B audience. But, if the primary consumer creative idea has been developed for the consumer audience, then how can it really do an emotional job on the sales agent audience if it's not communicating a single-minded proposition designed to answer their biggest fear, frustration or desire?
A travel agent who is part commission-based isn't lured by a glossy destination brochure; they need to know what new experiences you've got on offer and how easy you make it for them to sell your holidays to their customers. They also need to know how well you deliver those experiences so their customers come back happy. Their reputation is at stake as well.
We've worked with Globus Family of Brands for the past few years, helping them connect with their reseller audience of travel agents. Our objective was simple – get the agents excited about all the experiences Globus Family of Brands have developed for the year ahead. This agent-centric brief has allowed us to create some really fun campaigns. Our first one was a gameshow for travel agents to show off their knowledge. This campaign was highly effective for the client and won aCMA: Global Content Marketing Award for best face-to-face event.
This year we created a campaign around giving agents their own superhuman support person to help them sell more Globus holidays easily. The support person is a new brand character we created for this audience only called the Geni'us – one part genie, more parts Globus – and we tied it with a win three wishes promotion for agents.
This humour and human-centric approach works just as well for our Syngenta Pest Control Product client. Their B2B customers, pest controllers, and their customers both want the same thing – eradication of the problem. However, the pest controller wants one more thing – not to be called back to a job.
We created a new brand asset, a lovable but hapless pest controller called Bob. He's doing his best without using the product, fighting a losing battle against the pests. This charming character has wooed their audience of pest controllers and charmed the other Syngenta teams around the world who love this very Aussie approach. Bob's been so successful that we brought him back for one last episode.
With both of these brands, we recognised that the sales agents we were trying to reach were people, not just businesses, and that a more human touch was needed to make a connection. We broke with category conventions in respective industries, eschewing formal language and serious messaging in favour of humour and levity. By doing so, we were able to create a more memorable and engaging message for sales agents, who are bombarded with a sea of serious sameness from competitors.
We think most are but one category that's ripe for this kind of reseller marketing approach is finance. A quick audit of the tier 1 and tier 2 banking sites and B2B channels shows the same consumer channel creative being reused with a messaging tweak for mortgage brokers. We know, probably nearly for a certainty, that brokers aren't motivated by home purchasing cues and imagery. The first brand that breaks with convention here will find it quite easy to win the hearts of the humans behind the job title of mortgage brokers or financial advisers. If that's your brand, we're game if you are.