A lot of B2B brands in the AV space focus their marketing on the dealer. Makes sense — after all, dealers are the ones buying the products. But a growing number of manufacturing companies are finding success reaching dealers a different way: through the end user.
Benefitting from a broader reach
We learned about this approach from Katye McGregor Bennett of KMB Communications, whose company specializes in PR, copywriting, and content development for AV brands.
She brought up Screen Innovations, a client of hers: “Over the last year and a half, they’ve implemented a robust B2C strategy to support their B2B partners. What they are achieving is that now there’s a consumer audience that’s aware of the brand, that is now pulling the brand back into the integrators’ face.”
Screen Innovations is finding that by talking to the end consumer and meeting them where they are, they can reach integrators, too.
The thought behind this approach is this: there are more consumers than there are dealers.
By making consumers more aware of products like Screen Innovations’, they’re more likely to request them from the dealer, or specifically seek out dealers who work with that brand.
Looking at the buyer’s point of view
The auto industry provides an interesting comparison here. Like AV brands, car brands sell primarily through dealers.
Head to Mercedes’ main website and you’ll notice the cars’ specs are not front and center. No mention of dealer perks, either. This is because Mercedes knows that drivers care most about the feeling of luxury the brand offers.
Instead of detailing the tech in the dashboard, it points out that drivers can say, “Hey, Mercedes, it’s cold in here” and the system does what you need it to. Instead of talking about the mechanics of the suspension system, it says, “Each wheel tackles bumps on its own for composed comfort.”
Instead of a picture of the engine on the homepage, there’s an image of a classy sedan driving on a bridge.
This is all designed to do one thing: help potential buyers imagine themselves in the car.
Brands like Screen Innovations are taking the same buyer-centric approach to their marketing. Land on their website and the focus is not on ease of installation, specs, or dealer perks. The focus is on families enjoying the use of their products.
What do your buyers care about?
By switching focus to the average consumer, brands connect with those consumers better.
End users care less about specs and more about how it improves their daily life. This often means simplifying how brands talk about their products. But simplified language doesn’t mean presenting products as simple or generic.
Instead, it means putting your message in terms that non-technical customers understand and care about.
“We get so wrapped up in the nuances of our (AV) language,” McGregor Bennett says, “and we create a performance-driven conversation that consumers really aren’t inspired by.”
“Consumers rarely will say (or search for), ‘I want a high performance home theater,’ so why do so many websites then rely so heavily on [phrases like], ‘We specialize in high performance home theaters’? Nobody’s searching for that.”
So what do these average consumers care about?
Different people will value different aspects of your product.
For example, with Screen Innovations’ window shade products , some customers value protecting artwork. Others want to keep bugs and the heat of the day out of the house. With SI’s screen products, some want to imagine family movie nights and a big-screen experience at home. Others want to stop glare caused by sunlight hitting TVs.
By highlighting benefits — rather than technical features of their products — Screen Innovations creates a story that helps consumers imagine their product in their home.
A focus on benefits gets people to stick around and read more when they see your website, social media, and ads.
As an added bonus, by incorporating terms that consumers are actually searching for, more of them will find you on Google.
Consider a new focus
Paradoxically, one way to market to integrators is by bypassing them altogether, focusing instead on consumers.
A focus on consumers helps your products show up in their searches.
The right language helps consumers see how they benefit from using your products. And clear benefits make them more likely to request your products by name to their integrator.
This helps the integrators, too. If they recommend a product the consumer already knows and trusts, it simplifies the process for the integrator, and makes them look good.
And it helps brands attract new dealers. If brands can tell dealers, “We have this much reach with consumers and this many inquiries for dealers in your area,” it makes an even more compelling case for dealers to partner with them.
It’s hard to get this approach right because this industry’s products are so specialized. But a focus on the consumer can make your marketing even more powerful.