The 3M Company claims that the average person is never more than three meters away from its products (hence the name). They may be right. 3M is a $30 billion business with 91,000 employees. It does business in 200 countries with an expertise in 46 different tech platforms.
The 3M personal life group, famous for Scotch tape and Post-it notes, is 15 percent of the 3M company. However, the industrial business group is the largest generator of business by far. On the B2B side, this arm of the company works beside the energy and electronics arm, which works alongside health care, graphics and safety. Products include many things from bus wraps to respirators.
3M is looking to publicize this part of its business in the same way that the average consumer knows about Post-it notes. The company is looking to rebrand its institutional clients as customers in a way. Although 3M is used by some of the biggest medical, legal and engineering companies in the world, 3M wants these people to know that they are consumers as well. The other huge goal is to show that everyone is encountering 3M everywhere, of course.
The Wonder Campaign
By humanizing the 3M brand, the company is taking the entire B2B industry into new territory. The campaign is called the Wonder Campaign, and the first rollout will be in 13 of the companies that 3M does the most business in.
3M built the campaign from its own proprietary analytics. The company surveyed more than 14,000 people in at least 14 different countries. It found that most people are not very familiar with the sciences that help their lives every day. This is true of consumers and businesses. The Wonder Campaign aims to create a more open knowledge of how science works in the everyday world, and it will do this by consumerizing the B2B space.
The questions that the campaign asks include things like, “What if roads could take to buses?” “What would happen if homes could help around the house?” In framing the questions this way, 3M acknowledges that the campaign should be focused on solutions, not 3M products. People are not looking for tape – they are looking for the tools that will help them achieve the next big thing.
B2C & B2B – Converging Worlds
Technologies that were once only sold to international businesses are now in the pockets of the everyday consumer. Marketing to these two segments is becoming more similar than different. 3M has found this statistically and quantified it – it is no longer just a nice sounding mantra.
The company employs a huge agile marketing department with a focus on creating a clear path through the customer journey. When data comes back to the company, they can change it in real time. Basically, this data is trickling down in the same way that technology is. When it does, we can expect to see a much different kind of marketing in the commercial world. Look to other companies to follow in the path set by this innovative marketing campaign to bring consumers into the high flying B2B world.