What Do Matching Socks, IBM, Beer & Pizza Have in Common?

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Elizabeth Williams is currently the brand and communications director for ADP Canada. She has also worked with Rogers Communications, Bank of Montreal, Aon, 3Com, The Beer Store, MGI Software and Marketrend Interactive, as both an employee and as a consultant.

We had her answer the 5 big B2B questions from her home in Toronto in advance of the Sales People Are From Mars…or Possibly the Zombie Apocalypse event on the April 21st:

Big Question #1: What do you see as the biggest difference between B2B and B2C?

Elizabeth Williams: Socks. B2C people don’t have to wear matching socks. In fact, it’s cute when they don’t. In B2B a stunt like that is career limiting. Also, B2C has shorter selling cycles so they get to test and learn much faster than B2B. Does that sound bitter?

Big Question #2: If you had an extra 500 dollars to spend on marketing an awesome B2B product where would you invest it?

EW: I would buy my sales team a whole ton of pizza and beer and lock them in a room until they can sell that thing to Vladimir Putin on 30-day terms.

Big Question #3: B2BNN bills itself as the voice of the new B2B. How is today’s b2b marketing different from 2000?

EW: Ah, yes. 2000. The age of long lunches, pretending your internet is too slow to send that brief and standing up a web page is enough to get you promoted. Now it’s a nasty chicken wrap gulped down in an elevator while you try to figure out the keyword buy for next week and explain to your boss why a SnapChat filter for your industrial solvents isn’t going to be a great use of budget.

Big Question #4: What’s your favourite B2B campaign?

EW: I am really liking how IBM is using thought leadership to explain big data to terrified marketers. Outside the marketing industry, I think Cintas is doing a marvelous job with its Ready for the Workday campaign.

Big Question #5: What should B2B marketers do less of? More of?

EW: We should do less email marketing, especially in Canada. CASL just makes it sad and lawyerish, and there’s already too much email in the day. What we should be figuring out is video. I think the challenge now is to find a balance between production values the brand can live with and the teeny budgets we work with.

Video is a natural medium for explaining complicated stuff to distracted Millennials.

Image credit Jon Evans

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