The focus of most businesses is directed, by necessity, towards customers. However, the value of the B2B relationship should not be overlooked. Promotional products are a great path towards healthy business interaction.
Other businesses are still customers, and vice versa. If you provide goods or a service, you have B2B customers – if you receive goods or a service, you are a customer. Either way, brand awareness is crucial. With increasing competition in many sectors, it is more vital than ever that your branding is familiar, easily recognised, and provides information to hand. Promotional gifts and giveaways play a crucial role within these aims.
The selection of a business relationship can often end up being a little subjective. For example, if suppliers provide quotations for a service that are equal in terms of cost, delivery, and quality, then a subjective choice will come into play. A company that is well established, recognised, or has provided a promotional reminder might well be chosen over and above its competitors. In addition to new contacts, it is equally vital to maintain ties with existing businesses. Particularly in sectors of high competition, contacts can easily lapse and become forgotten if the proverbial fire is not stoked.
The aim of B2B branding is the creation of a contact network. At a basic level, this might simply distributing a range of gifts suitable for daily use – a reminder of what you provide. Mouse mats and desk sets are very popular, as they have a huge print area for eye-catching logos and information. As they are inherently useful, the retention value is high. Similarly, calendars and diaries remain one of the most popular B2B gifts year after year. The retention value is huge, given that the products last a full year, and can be personalised with a large volume of relevant information.
Trade shows and exhibitions form the ideal backdrop to promote your business. Providing giveaways at a trade stand, such as pens, keyrings, or even novelty gimmicks, will ensure that potential business contacts leave with a physical reminder of the services you offer. Similar principles apply to site visits – sales reps are still an intrinsic part of many business relationships. When armed with something more than just a business card to leave behind, a greater impression will be made. Technology-based items are increasingly popular; stylus pens or smartphone covers hold a greater relevance today than notepads and pencils! USB sticks are a canny way to make connections – not only can the casing be branded with website or telephone contacts, but the chip can be preloaded with data.
Branded gifts can also successfully be used as a tie-in with social media; giveaways as an incentive to follow or ‘like’ pages, or simply branded with the details of the social media page or hash tag. Such areas are the domain not only of B2C relationships, but also of many B2B connections.
On a similar note, whilst social media and seo are set to surpass pcc as the top online marketing methods, there is also an increasing backtrend towards more traditional marketing and networking strategies. The humble mailshot is making a startling comeback in popularity, perhaps cutting through the over-saturated digital advertising arena. Sending a direct mailer has now taken on a refreshing simplicity – adding a well chosen promotional product further focuses the attention of the recipient. Sending a pen, a fridge magnet, or a screen cloth, for example, will encourage mailshots to be opened, whilst being inexpensive to produce and deliver.
In essence, the key to B2B marketing is to maintain lines of communication, keep the relationships alive and at the forefront – what better way than with a physical reminder?