Corporate Hospitality Plan 2016
29 March 2016

Successfully Utilise B2C Sales Days in a B2B Environment

Published on the Global Marketing Allianz website, I discuss examples of how to successfully utilise traditional B2C sales days in an events and hospitality company.

In the past, the B2C industry – particularly the retail sector – has utilised many tactics to push sales at certain times of year; Black Friday, January Sales, Father’s Day offers, spring/summer Sale. There seems to be a constant stream of incentives for customers to buy, and they do, highlighting a desire for a bargain.

The B2B industry, specifically the events and hospitality sector, appear to ignore these gimmick holidays and have refrained from jumping on the bandwagon that sees B2C companies rake in increased revenue. With B2B companies now looking for new and innovative ways of standing out and making sales, Paragon utilised the Black Friday weekend to try and increase sales and boost enquiries for their corporate hospitality packages. This experiment was launched to truly find out if the B2B industry has the same desire for a bargain that the B2C industry sees and with the argument that the gap between the B2B and B2C industry closing it certainly had some interesting findings. As no competitors or companies in the industry seemed to be giving this a go, the objective really was to try, with the thought that awareness would be the key driver, rather than sales.

Starting on Friday November 27 and continuing through to Cyber Monday, Paragon discounted four products by 25% (providing savings of up to £2,125):
• A day trip to the Monaco Grand Prix
• St Patrick’s Day VIP Club package at Cheltenham Festival
• Tuffers’ Lord’s Experience for ten people to play, drink and dine with Phil Tufnell at Lord’s Cricket Ground
• Phil Tufnell VIP Club experience (now known as The Phil Tufnell Sky Terrace Experience) at the Oval during the 4th England vs Pakistan Test

Replicating what occurs in the B2C environment, customers were able to purchase the products through the e-paragon website or through the Paragon sales team directly. Promotion (again mirroring traditional B2C initiatives) of these offers was launched via email marketing to Paragon’s database a few days before Black Friday and through a series of teaser tweets prior to the launch. For the four days that made up Black Friday, Paragon tailored promotions for the offers through targeted platforms including pop-up banners on the website; promotion on Twitter, Facebook and particularly LinkedIn; remarketing ads and PPC ads; email marketing and through their internal sales team.

We were surprised to find a major increase in sales and enquiries over the weekend, with more than £200,000 of sales generated. Surprisingly, the sales were not just made on the products offered, but a general mix of what was on the Paragon website. It was clear to see that since an offer was present, potential customers enquired about other products they were specifically interested in, regardless of the offer.

The most popular day for enquiries and conversions was Saturday. The initiative boosted overall sales for the period by 50% and increased the number of enquiries by over 70%. We expected a purely a Friday/Monday working day push. Plus, we found our sales team and remarketing activity had the greatest impact on increasing the number of enquires. We are delighted with the results as it has provided great brand awareness for Paragon and the various products we provide. Next year, we would announce it earlier as we felt people had to get used to the idea as the corporate sign off process is not always quick.

The experiment shows how big marketing promotions at the right time have the impact to get those with the purse strings to think about saving money in the coming year, whether that is in a B2C or B2B environment. Gimmick holidays can certainly work for the B2B industry and it is about getting the marketing mix right for your audience to be a success.

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Written By Tom