Different priorities, different needs, different decision-making processes—even for the most seasoned brands, the leap from consumer marketing to B2B can be daunting. Yet, while you’re ostensibly solving different problems with enterprise clients, the synergies between marketing strategies are greater than they might appear.
T-Mobile understood that taking on the B2B market required an entirely new mindset and strategy. But it also offered an opportunity to capitalize on the brand qualities that made its consumer business so successful. Today, Catherine Captain, vice president of marketing, and her team have spread T-Mobile’s “Un-carrier” gospel to a new set of B2B customers large and small. “It would be madness to step away and try and create a separate brand,” Captain says. “We wouldn’t be leveraging the amazing brand foundation that we already have.”
And that strategy has proven to be extremely successful for the telecom giant. T-Mobile for Business has shown 20% year-over-year growth since the company made B2B a priority in 2012. Here are a few of the insights and strategies that have helped the company build a winning B2B brand, without leaving any of its B2C bona fides behind.
PAIN RELIEF IS UNIVERSAL
Sometimes getting your message across to a new set of customers is all about relevance. Consider T-Mobile’s paradigm-shifting decision to ditch international roaming fees in more than 210 countries and destinations. It was the kind of customer-first move that shaped its B2B business as much as it impacted the consumer business. Before that, companies with employees working abroad faced the cost uncertainty of having to install new SIM cards upon arrival—or weathering the shock of a sky-high international roaming bill when they returned home. Eliminating international roaming fees in many global destinations put T-Mobile’s B2C and B2B customers first and solved a shared pain point for both sets of consumers.
Being “customer obsessed” is another brand trait that has proven valuable for T-Mobile for Business when delivering its message to B2B leaders. Case in point: Team of Experts is a reinvention of the customer service model, one that minimizes call transfers and IVR (those obnoxious robots that help…no one!) by empowering customer-care teams to collaborate to deliver the best customer experience. This program has evolved under T-Mobile for Business, encompassing dedicated care experts who understand key business markets, regions, and account environments. There’s a reason the company has been awarded J.D. Power awards for business customer wireless satisfaction for the last three years running. Customer service is one of T-Mobile’s hallmarks, and the company wins awards for it across businesses of all sizes, from sole proprietors to the biggest companies in the country.
FIND COMMON GROUND
This customer obsession is also about embracing T-Mobile’s disruptive culture, which is hyper focused on fixing what’s wrong with the wireless industry. T-Mobile spent years cultivating a renegade spirit, and the company needed to make sure that unique personality and industry perspective translated to B2B marketing campaigns.
“There are restless people at every business—people who question everything, people who challenge the status quo,” Captain says. “So, we started thinking about that mindset and speaking to it rather than just focusing on a firm’s profile based on stats and data. Recognizing this key audience trait has enabled us to both harness our rebellious nature and evolve it for the business environment.”
Marketing to B2B versus B2C is more like adopting a different brand dialect than a completely different language. Understanding that distinction is key to preserving brand strengths even as you build new, targeted B2B marketing programs. By leveraging shared values and attributes, you can tap into established brand elements that resonate with B2B audiences.
MAKE IT COUNT
Beyond pain relief and shared perspective, values are critical. Business decision makers are understandably reluctant to be hustled by feel-good messages that don’t lead to shared benefit.
From doing away with annual service contracts to scrapping overages and international data roaming fees in more than 210 countries and destinations, T-Mobile has built a reputation for disrupting the norm and, most important, following through on its rhetoric. T-Mobile for Business has built on this foundation.
A business focused solely on the bottom line to appease shareholders will lose relevance in the market quickly. Much of T-Mobile’s success is tied to social good, and T-Mobile for Business has made bold moves to deliver on this DNA. From offering free mobile devices and discounted rate plans to school districts to helping expand access to health care for veterans, T-Mobile for Business has leveraged the best of the brand to deliver unique solutions to business customers who need it most.
FIND YOUR CORE BRAND TRUTH
More than anything, for T-Mobile for Business, authentic brand positioning means being true to the company’s rebellious spirit. Authenticity will mean something different to every brand, but if you’re not speaking with a genuine voice and saying something real in terms of who you truly are as a company and culture, your audiences will see right through you, Captain says.
Ask yourself: How do you harness the spirit of your brand and make it highly relevant and meaningful for the business world? Nail the answer to that question and powerful, effective marketing will flow from there.