It's B-to-B Broadcast Season!

Until recently, I was a lapsed member of the church of cable TV. Now that I’ve re-entered the fold, my world of programming — and therefore advertising — has expanded exponentially.

As a B-to-B advertiser, not every program has advertisements for the types of things I’m used to talking or thinking about. But there is one type of program I can rely on for some hot business-on-business action: sporting events. And with Premier League Soccer and NFL seasons in full swing — not to mention a couple of televised Rugby World Cup games — I’ve borne witness to some pretty serious B-to-B advertising. And it didn’t even suck.

In fact, some of it has been damned humanly relevant. Take this spot, for example.


This was put together for Lincoln Financial by gyro New York, and it does a great job using a consumer hook as a pull-through to connect to the business audience.

What’s that, you say? Your business brand doesn’t have a consumer aspect like Lincoln Financial does? Read on!

B-to-B: Now for people!

Some B-to-B marketers will balk at the idea of spending a big chunk of what are sometimes very limited budgets on a TV spot. I mean, who’s going to see it? People? We’re not interested in talking to people. And they’re at home, nowhere near their desks. It would be just like throwing money away!

To those marketers, I respectfully say, I have no respect for you.

That’s not true. I actually have lots of respect for you.

But you are wrong.

And some important business brands would agree with me. I won’t mention any names, since some of them are my clients and others are competitors to accounts gyro serves (ahem!). But I will say there is some extraordinary business-focused advertising going on while the blue- and white-collar decision-makers of the world are going collarless (and perhaps even pants-less).

As we’ve learned from The @Work State of Mind, business decision-makers are, in fact, people. And business decisions aren’t being made exclusively in the office anymore. It turns out that the same operations manager who loves getting sales sheets also loves to sit in front of a magic screen and watch big dudes run into one another. And when that’s not happening, he just might think about logistics, chemicals or helicopter parts.

Social Media in Live HD

Engaging someone’s business brain while she or he is off duty isn’t just a CYA move. It can ignite actions in a way that business-hour communications cannot. These days, brands are relying heavily on social sharing to increase their reach. And people like to share when they’re having fun. That’s probably why people are more likely to share work-related stuff while off-hours. They see a spot about chemicals, it tickles them, and they tweet about it. And this shouldn’t surprise anyone, since most people are looking at multiple screens at once, be they TV, mobile device or computer.

And that’s not counting all the regular, non-decision-makers who might see your spot and send it to good old Uncle Bill and his giant manufacturing company. So if you want your brand to be a hit socially, maybe a good place to start is on the television.

Broadcast doesn’t make sense for every brand, but there’s no longer any reason to dismiss advertising on TV or radio as an option for B-to-B. If the goal is messaging that resonates with humans, why not get to your audience when they’re clutching a remote control and screaming at players who cannot hear them — in other words, acting very, very human.