B2B Marketing - 7 Marketing Ideas for Manufacturers and Distributors

B2B Marketing – 7 Marketing Ideas for Manufacturers and Distributors

Growing a B2B business requires mastery of promoting sales to organizations that are in the supply chain as well as end users. Here are seven marketing ideas for manufacturers and distributors that can help.

7 Marketing Ideas for Manufacturers and Distributors, Courtesy of a Coca-Cola Video on YouTube

Manufacturers and distributors often find themselves in the unique position of needing to create demand among their buyers’ buyers to establish demand from outlets and resellers. For instance, when soft drink icon Coca Cola® wants to sell more classic Coke®, they don’t run commercials targeting distributors and retailers, they run ads targeting consumers.

Likewise, visit Coca Cola’s (U.S.) Facebook page. It’s not filled with posts that would interest distributors and resellers, it’s status updates are meant to engage U.S. consumers.  The same goes for their YouTube channels, where you’ll find videos like the one below which will make you smile – and which their advertising team hopes will make you associate that feeling of joy with Coca-Cola® itself.

We decided to take this video and dissect it in order to glean marketing ideas for manufacturers and distributors who want to create more demand for their products at every point in the supply chain, right down to the end-users, be they consumers or B2B buyers. When we did, we found these seven supply chain marketing takeaways.

Marketing Ideas for Manufacturers and Distributors

7 Supply Chain Marketing Takeaways from a 60-Second Coca-Cola Video

1. Demand Starts at the Bottom

Most marketing plans start with defining the products and services that will be sold. Even though identification of target audiences and definition of buyer personas follows closely on its heels, there is a tendency to think about marketing and advertising from the brand down. In reality, marketing should start from the end-user and work backward.

  • What is their life like – how do they think and feel?
  • What motivates them to take action?
  • When do they need the product or service?
  • Are they aware of the products or services or only the pain point?

The video demonstrates an important point. Coca-Cola® isn’t marketing to thirsty people (at least not in this case). They understand that thirsty people have a lot of options. Instead, they are implying that Coca-Cola® can resolve an emotional pain point, or at least that it stands for the resolution. Since an end-user experiencing a similar emotional pain point isn’t likely to be aware of this product as a solution, the video tells a story so that it clearly connects the product to the pain point’s resolution.

2. Ads Must Create an Opt-In

End users must that the characters used in marketing and advertising collateral are understandable. They must be able to relate to them or empathize with them in some way. The characters have to draw the end-user in so that they become open to and interested in the message.

3. Aesthetics Aren’t Created in Words

Music, sound effects, colors – much of what is conveyed in a marketing message is non-verbal. The non-verbal aesthetics create the mood and tell the audience how to feel in this video, not the words spoken or seen on the screen. From scene to scene, the video uses music and sounds to take its audience from the negativity of the pain point to the happiness of its relief to the inspirational conclusion as the audience is told how they can make the world a better place – all in 60 seconds.

4. Cohesion Creates Plausibility 

Great marketing connects the dots. In the first few seconds, this video manages to communicate a very specific end-user point of pain. Having captured the audience with a problem that nearly everyone in today’s society can relate to, they then tell a story that makes it plausible to believe that a spilled soda – a happy accident – could produce societal change.

5. Real Life Scenarios Demonstrate Relevance

Audience members have to feel like the scenario played out in your marketing story is happening, has happened – or at least could – happen to them. The video displays several different scenarios – people using social media, a middle aged man in an office, a young technician working all alone in a massive computer server center, a room full of customer service techs working away, a middle aged couple in bed (she’s asleep, he’s on a tablet), a young woman with tears on her cheeks waiting for a bus all alone, a completely recognizable meme and a young teen riding the bus to school all experiencing the negativity that is all too prevalent on social media, television and throughout society.

Chances are you’ll find yourself somewhere in this video. Even not, you’ll recognize its truth that “we’re all in this together” since we’re all connected to digital media in some way.

6. Intrinsic Value Can Be More Powerful than Features and Benefits

Coca-Cola® is a beverage, and we do see the young tech working all alone in the server room take a drink – right before he spills the remainder into what must be millions of dollars’ worth of computer equipment. However, the message of the video isn’t about drinking Coca-Cola®, it’s about – ultimately – how we all have the ability to turn digital media into a force for good in someone’s life. The message becomes one of advocacy, with the brand telling you it stands squarely behind this important value. It gives its audience a reason to connect emotionally with the brand and to feel proud of their connection.

7. Invite People to Do Something   

From the words displayed at the end to the song playing in the background, audience members are invited to join a movement to “show love” to their fellow man. Using the hashtag #MakeItHappy, the beverage maker’s ad debuted during Super Bowl 49 in order to champion positivity toward one another online and in the real world. Audience members were invited to become part of this movement out of the feeling of inspiration conveyed by the ad and its tagline: “The world is what we make it.” This invitation is the ad’s call to action, if you will, its invitation to do something and the instruction the brand provides as to what the audience member should do next.

Regardless of whether an ad is instructional, entertaining or inspiring, it can’t end with the emotion. Audience members need to know how to channel that feeling into action. For manufacturers and distributors, this might mean instructing end-users to contact retail outlets (such as ads where the audience is told to ask for a certain brand name beverage by name, so that retailers or restaurants will be prompted to stock it) or to call a phone number or visit a website to find local sellers.

Supply chain marketing is usually a multi-layered proposition. Ultimately, understanding how to create demand among end users could be more impactful to your brand’s sales than promoting it to distributors, retailers and other resellers. These seven marketing ideas for manufacturers and distributors describe how a brand can create demand among consumers or B2B buyers in order to stimulate more sales throughout the supply chain.