What can the wildly successful craft beer industry teach B2B marketers?
From storytelling and keeping content fresh to making corporate campaigns delightfully crushable, there’s plenty the B2B marketing world can learn from taking a look at the craft beer industry and its emphasis on customer delight, engagement, and more.
While the pandemic has slowed the growth of the craft beer industry with the largest disruption to the industry since the days of Prohibition — leading to an 8 percent decline in sales among small and independent craft brewers — its trajectory over the past decade has been undeniably admirable.
The global health crisis has forced the craft beer industry to change, including an expansion of direct-to-consumer sales in the face of closed taprooms, yet there’s still much that B2B marketers can learn from the long-term ascendancy of the craft beer world.
Let’s hop right in and take a look at a selection of the top things B2B marketers can learn from the craft beer industry.
Find Your B2B Tech or Finance Freshies
Among craft brewers, the fresh-hopped variety of seasonal beer features hops used as close to the time they’re harvested as possible, and the resulting India Pale Ave (IPA) freshies are highly desirable among hoppy beer fans, but they don’t retain their initial taste qualities long enough to be a year-round offering.
In B2B marketing, we can make the equivalent of content freshies by offering existing and prospective customers any type or format of digital assets that don’t fit into the unchanging evergreen content category. Timely content can come from many sources in the B2B marketing world, however some of the most successful features elements that often revolve around:
- Virtual or real-world conferences
- Twitter chats and Reddit Ask-Me-Anything (AMA) sessions
- Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces audio-based calls
- Current events and so-called hashtag holidays
- Timely social media polls
- Live-stream events
Whether you’re in the B2B technology, finance, or another business industry, give your customers a generous pour of virtual freshies by including a fresh mix of seasonal and unique content in your marketing blend, to augment your evergreen information that doesn’t necessarily change throughout the year.
Make Your Corporate Channels Crushable
Crushable beers are generally considered easygoing lower-alcohol beers that make customers want more, a phenomenon that is also quite well-suited to B2B marketing.
Crushable B2B marketing content isn’t bitter or hard to consume, instead focusing on providing customers an experience so smooth and pleasant that they’ll want to come back for more, whether it’s by subscribing to your brand’s newsletter, liking its LinkedIn company page, or becoming a regular listener to your firm’s podcast.
Here’s a list of just a few of the elements that help make your B2B marketing content crushable:
- Easy-to-digest content that’s well-written and pleasantly positive
- Contains enough helpful information to make it relevant
- Makes it easy for customers to subscribe or otherwise get more of the content they find crushable
Sometimes the craft beer industry also considers crushable beer to have a session beer component — tying it in to a social occasion over a specific period of time, or session.
Session content, similarly, gives customers an easy flow from one piece of information to the next, such as in the popular social media stories format, where text, images, and video all play in sequence, with little effort required on the part of the customer.
Don’t be afraid to creatively use the stories format for B2B marketing content, and to serialize other forms of digital content — from B2B podcasts that customers can binge on while listening, or brand video playlists that can auto-play for binge watching.
Give the People More of What They Want: Humanize Your Customer Relationships with the Cheers Factor
The craft brewing industry fully recognizes and puts to good use the “Cheers” factor — a key selling point of pubs and taprooms going back centuries, long before the hit television comedy “Cheers” popularized that sense of camaraderie and desire to be “where everybody knows your name.”
B2B marketers have made substantial inroads when it comes to personalizing both content and communication, yet in the post-pandemic landscape marketers looking for new ways to differentiate their brand would be well served by focusing even more on fostering the human connection between brand and customer.
Some of the ways B2B marketers can make more personal connections include:
- Talk like a person and not a jargon-filled corporate chat-bot
- Feature your team in content
- Make your customers your superstars
- Harness the power of content co-creation with influential subject matter experts
Miri Rodriguez, storyteller and internship program head at Microsoft, recently explored how B2B marketers can use storytelling and empathy to move past numbers and facts, which I covered in “Microsoft’s Miri Rodriguez on How B2B Marketers Are Embracing Empathy For Better Customer Storytelling #B2BMX.”
Our senior content marketing manager Joshua Nite took a closer look at the increasing importance of adding more of the human touch to B2B content, in “5 Ways to Humanize Your B2B Content Marketing – And Why It Matters,” and I also offered up several insights into the subject in, “28 B2B Marketing Insights To Energize & Humanize Your 2021.”“You really have to think about how you build a long-term committed relationship with the user – it’s not a one-and-done. There’s never really an end to it. It’s continuous and iterative.” @amandatodo Click To Tweet
Brew Better Storytelling with a Chill Haze of Communities
Another successful tactic employed by the craft beer industry that B2B marketers can learn from is the powerful messaging that comes when we explore the stories of the people behind the face of the business.
Asking questions is a great way to begin, such as, “Who are you? What makes your brand, your people, and your story stand out?”
One take on storytelling for B2B breaks down the work story by letter, with the S.T.O.R.Y. model including:
It’s a definition our content marketing manager Nick Nelson explores in, “Your Guide to Effective Storytelling in B2B Content Marketing.”
Just as in the craft beer industry they say that every beer and beer-drinker tells a story, brand storytelling offers a wealth of opportunity for B2B marketers to create content that makes a brand’s story — and that of its customers — come to life.
Be The Best Answer & Learn From Craft Industry Success
By engaging and delighting customers through serving up brand freshies, creating crushable content, and humanizing customer relationships with hopped up storytelling, your B2B marketing efforts will be poised to celebrate new levels of success.
Creating award-winning B2B marketing content that delights and engages takes significant effort, which leads more firms than ever to choose working with a top digital marketing agency such as TopRank Marketing. Contact us today and let us know how we can help, as we’ve done for businesses ranging from LinkedIn, Dell and 3M to Adobe, Oracle, monday.com and others.