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If I Could Turn Back Time: Nostalgia in Marketing for B2B

Anyone who engages on social media channels has likely seen the #TBT. Call it what you will-throw back Thursday, turn back time-we love sharing glimpses into the “good old days” through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  There is a reason we love comparing the years past with where we are today, and as the Beatles crooned it to us via the old record player, we often long for yesterday.

But does nostalgia in content marketing work for B2B? Or does it make more sense to focus on the current times and use that to drive customers through the sales funnel?

Here are some ways nostalgic marketing tactics are much like days gone by, and how B2B marketers can use the old days to their advantage.

  1. 90s Rap Songs (Increased Sales)

Notorious B.IG. rapped it to us in through our boom boxes: the more money we come across, the more problems we seem to have. Not so with nostalgic marketing; Slideshare cites research that suggest nostalgia causes an emotional engagement, favorable views toward ads, and increased brand retention. And as a recent study shows us, the feeling of connectedness as a result of nostalgia causes people to value money less and spend it more freely.

There is something that stirs up in us when we go back 20 years; memories are evoked that have nothing to do with money. If content marketing is developed in such a way to create a sense of comfort and good memories, potential buyers can be drawn in and stay there. When an audience is engaged on a multi-generational level, a wider group is reached. As a wider group is reached, so too is the potential for engagement and sales. And for the B2B industry, mo’ money does not translate to mo’ problems.

  1. KFC Colonel and the McDonald’s Hamburglar (Responding to People)

Any child of the 80s who loved Happy Meals will remember the hamburger thief, clad in black and white stripes, who tried unsuccessfully for years to outwit Ronald McDonald. Although not successful, the bandit has made a comeback in recent months in order to promote a new burger.

Although the Hamburglar has not been welcomed back warmly by everyone, consumers are paying attention. Negative publicity is still publicity, after all. Even if you don’t eat fast food, you could probably pick out the Colonel and Ronald McDonald as symbols of the companies they represent. As a B2B marketer, you have a story to tell. People will respond to your content marketing approach when they know there is a person behind the message. Using nostalgia in your marketing adds to the story you have to tell. B2B buyers are people, too.

  1. Stonewashed Jeans (Tailoring the Message to Your Audience)

Business 2 Community recently posted that millennials make up about 25% of consumer purchases and that the number is expected to rise as time goes on. Social media affords B2B marketers an opportunity to understand an audience and connect with them on a level not possible even 10 years ago. As B2C notes, this “direct, real-time window into the minds of consumers” allows us to gauge what is going on in a consumers’ mind, and then act on it.

As the “Seinfeld” look appeals more and more to this generation, a B2B marketer must tailor the content message accordingly (after checking that pesky button-down fly).

Hashtag Your Way Through the Sales Journey

Nostalgia in B2B marketing can work when executed in a way that connects with an audience, responds to their need, and captures the sale at the right time. Whether you choose to #flashbackfriday, go #waybackwednesday, or take a trip down #memeorylandmonday, building a connection with your customer that is personal and relevant can make all the difference in the sales journey.

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