11 Overused Stock Photos to Ban From Your B2B Marketing

 In Content Marketing

Have you ever seen a piece of content and had a déjà-vu moment?

You say to yourself, “I’ve read this before, and I know I’ve seen the gray-haired man holding an iPad somewhere.”

B2B content has become pretty formulaic.

Insert ‘Top 10’ list headline here.

Insert stock photo of a businessman jumping in the air there.

If you want to stand out in this explosion of digital content, you need to get smarter with your content and create content that differentiates your brand and supports your message. And you need to do it 10x better than your competition.

Start by banning these 11 overused stock photos from your B2B marketing:

1. The Futuristic Woman Touching a Screen

FutureWoman.jpg

Wearing Star Trek glasses while touching a transparent screen is totally representative of what working in B2B is like, right?

2. The Headset Hottie

The headset hottie is the quintessential overused stock photo. She’s everywhere—from working at online universities, to working for startups, to selling sunglasses online— and everywhere in between.

HeadsetHottie.jpg

She’s usually a great tip off that your first touchpoint with a company will be with a call center employee in Manila. If there’s one stock photo you should never use, it’s the headset hottie.

3. The Gray Haired Businessman

No B2B website would be complete without a silver fox in a modern office space. I’m not sure exactly what he does at the company, or how he helps support marketing objectives, but at least he’s nice to look at.

SilverFoxBusinessMan.png

A photo of a real executive or customer would be 10x more effective, though.

4. The Forced High Five

OfficeHighFive.jpg

Nothing says teamwork like the forced high five!

5. The Executive Wearing a Hardhat

ConstructionHat.jpg

I’ve seen this stock photo on websites ranging from marketing content to high-tech to B2B agencies: all completely unrelated to construction.

6. The Businessman in a Field

Either he just quit his job, or he is on his way to a music festival after leaving work.

BusinessManField.jpg

Wait, that doesn’t make sense. And neither does this image. Ban it from your marketing.

7. The Woman in a Black Suit With Folded Arms

Almost as popular as the headset hottie, the woman in a black suit with folded arms can usually be found standing in front of a white backdrop, or standing in front of office windows and doors, or with a perfectly age-balanced team behind her.

WomenBlackSuit.jpg

Is she really the best representative of your company or your customers? I didn’t think so.

8. The Man on His Phone Outside of His Office Building

ManPhoneSelfie.jpg

Is he on his way to work, sneaking out of the office to text his girlfriend, or is he taking a selfie? I can’t figure it out, and I bet your target audience can’t either.

9. The Computer Circuit Board

Circuitboard.jpg

It’s 2016, and as of May 17th, these stock photos are still all over Fortune 500 websites. Computer circuit board images are so AOL circa-1995. For the love of all things creative, stop using these images. Now.

10. The Faceless Man Adjusting His Tie

FacelessTie.jpg

Admittedly, I’ve used the faceless man with a tie to promote webinars. You may have too. I bet it didn’t help your webinar numbers.

11. The Token Young & Casual Guys in Plaid or Denim

HipsterWorkers.jpg

Nothing says “we’re young and our perks include ping pong tables” like the token young and casual guys. I’ve seen these guys on the website of a blue chip Fortune 500, and also on the website of a hip coworking space, so heed caution. It’s hard to get your brand and message across when you use the same stock photos as everyone else.

We Can Do Better

While most of us are guilty of using these cliche stock photos in our B2B marketing, we can do better.

  • Instead of slapping the forced high five team photo onto a landing page with a short form, create a product configurator with photos of your sales team members. This will humanize your brand, and I can guarantee you, your competition isn’t doing it.
  • Instead of putting the silver fox on a white paper landing page, create a ROI calculator, and introduce your audience to your CEO or CTO

You get the idea.

Content production is only going to continue to increase, so there is no better time to focus on differentiating your brand.

And that starts with banning headset hotties from your marketing content.

This post appeared first on SnapApp.

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Showing 6 comments
  • Stine

    We had a good conversation about this a while back and ended up turning the crappiest stocks EVER into a concept for our content marketing blog and weekly newsletter.

    Turned out, it was a good idea and it gave us a much needed differentiation boost:)

    The blog is in Danish, but I bet you’ll get what we did. It’s so tacky that our readers think it’s cool…in the beginning though, a few wrote us about our lousy choice of pictures – until they caught up;)

    https://blog.brandmovers.dk/

    • Michael Brenner

      Thanks so much for sharing Stine. Bad stock photos are funny in any language!

  • Mike Faherty

    There is one “headset hottie” that I see so often I feel like we might actually be friends now. Is that weird?

  • Graham Charlton

    Not the hacker in black wearing a mask, using a laptop?

  • Vanessa Munteanu

    Great article! This is a subject I’ve been thinking about for a while. Why do people insist using those boring and expired images? There are so many pictures in the world these annoying stock photos should really get banned. And UGC power is taking huge steps to give photo banks a more human and interesting air. This is one cheap way to find the good one: https://lobster.media And here’s how you can search your next photos wisely: https://blog.lobster.media/the-ai-is-with-us/

    • Michael Brenner

      Thanks Vanessa, I will definitely check it out.