Opinion

Does the holiday season matter for B2B?

 As we are now squarely in the run-up to Christmas and preparing our digital strategy for upcoming key moments like Black Friday, Cyber Monday or boxing day, e-commerce businesses are operating at full speed. For most of those businesses, especially retailers, these few months are key revenue drivers and can represent up to half of their annual revenue.

 B2B companies are not usually that excited for the holiday season – they depend on products and services, and the purchase journey from prospecting to converting can take a year or more, so it can be seen as more of a disruption than a celebration. In my last blog post, I mentioned that more people across all levels of an organisation are getting involved in decision-making, making it harder to convince more people who are already distracted at this time of the year. Not helpful when you need a lead on your conversions!  

So with the holidays on the way it’s easy to see why it may not be easy for B2B companies to make a decision on how to approach the ‘most wonderful time of the year’ – ‘should they push in digital, or not?’

Most of them may choose to continue with their current initiative as they try to reach that leads target. Of course, if their products are relevant for this time of the year then it makes sense to push them. For example, a PC manufacturer will push its products in Q4 because whilst pushing to individual customers, it can also target businesses that would potentially order new PCs for next year if they have budget to spend.

But is this the right way to deal with the holiday season? I would argue not! If there is budget to do something during the last quarter, businesses should seriously think about it and not be lazy making excuses that Q4 is all about B2C and not B2B!

 Some facts:  

  • Online searches grow during the holiday season. E-commerce is predicted to grow this year by 16% in Europe alone.  Granted, people may be looking for a jumper, tablet or a gift card rather than a new content management system, but people are researching, albeit for a gift or something else. THEY ARE THERE on the web. So why not take advantage of this?
  • In 2015, 60% more time was spent on YouTube than in the previous year. This is a perfect opportunity for companies to work on content for this time of the year. A few years ago, Intel Corporation had a video on Santa’s next CIO. It’s an example of a piece of really entertaining content and a great way to get some traction using a Christmas-related theme.  The bottom line is that people will remember later on when they need to think about big data, thus doing some brand awareness doesn’t hurt if you do it in a smart way.
  • B2B prospects can also take advantage of this time and do some research and plan ahead whilst it’s potentially a bit more quiet. It is now that is becomes important to reach out to those people who need ideas to help them plan.
  • New Year, New You! People are inspired as they look to the start of the year. They are often in the mood for a fresh start and are looking at new solutions, efficiencies or innovative ideas!
  • Social networks are on fire during this time of the year. 85% of millennials use social channels to research products and services for their company, 72% of consumers share content online, and 2 in 5 users aged 18-34 will share more content during the holidays***. This is yet another opportunity to get noticed.

In summary, I would highly consider doing something with a digital focus during the holiday season, even if it’s not a key period for your business. Although this will require budget and some great content ideas to get right, it will help you in the long run as part of the nurturing process.

Sources:

*https://www.twenga-solutions.com/en/insights/e-commerce-europe-2016-facts-figures/

** Demand Gen Report; McKinsey

*** Radium ONE Data Report 2016 - Unlocking the value of the holidays

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