Case study: Italian week in Moscow as an example of implementation of rare and unusual tool of b2b marketing.
Today people started distrusting the advertisement. One of the solutions to get trust of your potential clients can be creation of loyal customer groups based on social interests and intangible ideas.
There can be some other solutions that require less time and efforts than this one, but having realized it in full measure, you will get the result which even exceeds your expectations. This tool is rare in b2b marketing strategies, but I believe that it is important to talk about it, as the use of this tool will give your business a huge competitive advantage.
Let me introduce an example illustrating the very core of the loyal groups.
We will take a real business case of our partners which I like.
Thus, the problem: a number of Italian brands is seeking the ways to enter the Russian market but not only gain the trust of b2c audience, but also to enter the b2b market, namely to get restaurants and elite catering establishments as partners.
To perform this task, a project of Italian Week in Russia is created. What is this project like? Briefly Italian Week is a social project that joins thousands of Russians who are interested in Italy, as a country. The project tells about Italian gastronomy, design, Italian language, Italian lifestyle, culture and travel!
The first Italian Week festival was held in Moscow (for the first time) in October 2012, in 14 days the event was attended by more than 5,000 people. All of this audience is people who are interested and are not indifferent to Italy. Within the Italian Week festival they could get acquainted with the Italian culture, history, film industry, language, and, of course, with traditional food and drinks. The first event was free of charge, and it was widely publicized in the Russian media. As I said before the event was attended by more than 5,000 Moscovites, so the result of the first Italian Week festival in Moscow was the formation of a large base of "fans" of the Italian culture. Italian Week project earned a great reputation by giving people the opportunity to plunge into the atmosphere of Italy free of charge.
So let's turn to our root objective: promotion of specific Italian brands in the Russian market.
Who but our fans will be the first lawyers of brands in Russia? Over the last three years there were six festivals and the last one took place in May. In these following festivals the specific Italian brands were already represented, and there were presentations of some Italian companies. What was the relation of the festival visitors towards the brand presentations? Only positive. People came with enthusiasm to absorb useful information about Italy, meanwhile they learned about the "unique" favorite Italian food. Italian Week is a hangout, which joined people on the ground of common interests and love for Italy. There was created a web site italianweek.ru
Nowadays the non-profit project of Italian Week has become a very active structure around which "fans of Italy", Italian businessmen and Russian journalists have united.
As a result, today with the help of this project they bring on the Moscow market lots of Italian products: Italian cafes in Moscow, cheese brands, wines, language schools, travel agencies.
As a result of the presentations, during the week of Italy in Russia the Italian companies conclude contracts including b2b ones for supply of certain Italian products to Russia.
At the present this model is implemented only for Italian entrepreneurs in Russia, so for other European countries this opportunity is open today.
Many marketers and entrepreneurs care only about their customer base and focus only on it, but as the example show, it is important today not only to take care of the customers, but also to pay attention to a wider audience. Even if this audience buys nothing from you today, it will be the great foundation for your business success in the future. People of your audience may be useful not only as customers but also as advocates of the brand, consultants and partners. In other words, the broader your audience united by a general idea is, the wider your customer base will become.
Today, in the age of information, everything is changing very quickly. So our mind must learn to be as flexible as possible in order to fit into a new reality. And the reality of the future - it's even larger information noise than today. That`s why, the brands need to establish close links with the audience to be able to convey his “proposal”. Moreover, the audience itself must intend to interact with you, you could not attach it artificially. It is either interested in interacting with you or not. The Italian week example is not something extraordinary, it is quite widespread business practice. Huggies creates the clubs for young mothers; Gillette creates online resource where men get "male information", which they appreciate. In addition, it is important to note that the group, united on the basis of common interests, can not only be online, but also offline as we found out today by the example of Italian Week project.