6 B2B Marketing Lessons I Learned from Traveling

For the last ten years of my life I have been living in an eight mile radius right outside of Boston. I went to undergrad, earned my masters, worked for two different organizations and lived all in that small vicinity. I recently made a “big” life move and headed for the suburbs (i.e. about eleven more miles outside of the city). To say I am hesitant of moving would be an understatement. However, despite my reluctance to permanently leave the Route 128/ Massachusetts Turnpike belt, I love to travel.

I’ve tasted wine in California, skied above the tree line in British Columbia, and waved to the Queen in London. My most recent adventure in September brought me across the pond to Ireland. Like all previous travel experiences, my trip to Ireland required researching, planning, and budgeting. However, one of the most important elements of traveling (which is my favorite part), is the desire to communicate and interact with people I haven’t met before.

As I’ve settled back into the reality of my 9-5 life, I realized many of the interactions I experienced while abroad can be applied to the marketing world as well.

Here are 6 marketing lessons I learned from traveling:

  1. Make people notice you.

My name is Breda O’Connor. In the United States this is a unique name; in Ireland there is one of us in every pub. Sometimes it is difficult to stand out in a crowded city, such as Dublin. But thankfully, my boyfriend’s father wore his Red Sox cap every day. Many of the locals recognized the “B” and it was an instant ice breaker. Whether they had been there before or hoped to visit one day, this was an easy way to stand out and start any conversation.

Similarly, it’s important for your business to stand out from the crowd. Take B2B marketing solutions, for example. There are currently over 3,800 marketing technology solutions, which makes it a lot harder to distinguish your brand from competitors. What is your value proposition and how does your organization compare to others in your space?

Standing out in a city full of O’Connors
  1. Counteract stereotypes.

Once a local was tipped off by the Boston Red Sox cap and realized we were from the states, there were two questions we were always asked: Why did Tom Brady let the air out of the footballs? And do you think Trump will really win the election?

At first, we were surprised that the locals were so informed about these two events, specifically TB12, and eagerly entertained their questions. However, it soon became apparent that they were associating all Americans with a laughable government and a sport with cheaters. There was rarely mention of our beautiful landscapes, world-renowned hospitals and schools, or business excellence.

Your potential customers may also embrace incorrect stereotypes about your business, products and services. They may even dismiss you because they have outdated or false information. It’s up to you as a marketer to neutralize these stereotypes. Instead of ignoring them, embrace your qualities and tell people why it makes your organization great. Furthermore, challenge any stereotypes you may have about your audience. Dig deeper to find out why people love you (and don’t) to gain a new understanding of your best buyers.

Challenging stereotypes about Boston sports
  1. Good things come to those who wait.

According to the company, it should take about 119 seconds to pour a Guinness. That’s almost two minutes, which is a very long time to wait for a beverage, if you ask me! However, the 1980’s ad “Good things come to those who wait” capitalized on the famous two-part pour perfectly.

Just like the perfect pour, timing is key in marketing as well. Over the last few years, B2B buying behavior across virtually every sector has changed dramatically. Today, buyers don’t want to be sold to. Rather, they search the web, form their own opinions and eventually make their choice. Buyers are influenced by whoever manages to engage them, and the timing must be right. Whether it’s determining when to send an initial email or when to start promoting an event, timing is everything for marketing campaign optimization.

Guinness slogan at their Dublin factory
  1. Provide unexpected surprises.

Despite the 119 second wait time, I had my fair share of Guinness while in Ireland. Each pint was poured with the exact same level of precision until we arrived in Dingle. Dingle was like many of the other towns we had visited with touristy shop and Irish rebel music sounding through the streets. But at one particular pub, the bartender did something a little bit different. Although the first part of the pour was standard, he finished off the pint drawing a shamrock on the head. It was a subtle gesture, but was very much unexpected.

The level of detail that the bartender put into every pour was a delight for each visitor that came into his pub. Small surprises like this do not have to cost you a lot of money or time, but they will go a long way in loyalty and referrals. For example, here I am writing a blog about Foxy John’s in Dingle! So, think about what would make your product or service more enjoyable for your customers and improve their overall experience with your brand. With the right market intelligence solution, you can easily uncover detailed information about target customers such as previous employer information, professional certifications, web references, and more.

Shamrocks on beers
  1. Make it familiar.

One of the main reasons we planned our travel in September was to catch the Boston College vs Georgia Tech football game that was being played in Dublin. Over 40,000 people attended the game, most of whom were Americans. Walking down the unfamiliar streets of Dublin, you would see a BC or Georgia Tech flag outside of some pubs. Once you saw the familiar colors of your alma mater, you felt more at home. Many of the pubs stocked up on Budweiser and the bands came prepared to sing American classics, such as “Take Me Home, Country Roads.”

Whether gone for a week or a year, tourists enjoy a taste of home in a place that is unfamiliar. In the same regard, if your business is complicated, you may want to make your audience feel more at ease. Use case studies to show how your business has helped other customers so they can easily understand the benefits. You may also want to steer clear of product details, as not everyone can appreciate the technology. Rather, focus more on end results and tell them how it can help them improve their bottom line or surpass their yearly goals.

Something looks familiar here!
  1. People want to know that you care.

As mentioned before, one of my favorite parts about traveling is interacting with the locals and this time was no different; throughout our trip you could feel how much the locals cared about the tourists. Considering tourism is the number two driver of their economy right behind agriculture, Ireland has definitely perfected how to accommodate tourists. And because of this positive interaction, I can’t wait to visit Ireland again.

In the same regard, it’s no secret that personalization is the bedrock of modern marketing. In fact, ITSMA reports 75% of executives will read unsolicited materials that might be relevant to their business. Once you know who your buyer personas are, the more you can learn about them, and the better you will be able to tailor your content and engage, pulling them further down the funnel. By going the extra step on a personal level you will be able to directly affect the bottom line of your organization.

The most caring, genuine man we met in Killarney

Now where should we go now?

I think in life and in business, it is truly about the smaller interactions. Whether you’re asking for directions in a new city or sending an email to a prospect, there are simple nuances that can be applied to help you stand out and make the other person feel valued. With the (business) world as bustling as it is, people will greatly appreciate you taking the extra step.

Ready to cut through the noise, connect and transition qualified prospects to sales opportunities? ZoomInfo can help! Contact us today to find out how.