B2B marketing is the stepchild of the creativity family.
Some people consider the B2B industry boring. Every now and then, you will hear executives complaining about how they can’t be creative in their marketing strategies. And how their team struggles to gain customer attention.
Well, that’s not entirely true.
Yes, we all have restrictions on how to sell our products and services. However, B2B marketing is similar to other markets.
Because we’re all selling to humans.
Learn to focus on the people behind the business. Here are five ways to add creativity to your B2B marketing strategy:
1. Video Marketing
Research shows that “businesses using video grow company revenue 49% faster year-over-year than organizations without video.” That’s why so many companies are taking the leap into video marketing.
Video offers your customers the opportunity to actually experience your brand. It gives them a new perspective that text and images just can’t accomplish.
For example, IBM features big technology concepts through video marketing. The corporation highlights new ways of thinking in the business, security, and healthcare sectors. So, to make the concepts easy to understand, IBM created a video series.
Their Cognitive Era YouTube page showcases the company’s Watson services. The clips also include celebrities like professional golfer Tom Watson, author Stephen King, and Japanese actor Ken Watanabe. Moreover, people can add comments and ask questions on the social channel.
For an effective video marketing campaign, create a publishing schedule, aim for shorter clips, and provide viewers with relevant information. The key is to connect customers with a call-to-action beyond the video.
Transform how your clients relate to your brand. Give customers a reason to watch. Be interesting.
2. Behind-the-Scenes Access
People love exclusivity. It makes us feel special. And when done right, customers share those unique experiences with their colleagues.
The music industry does an effective job when it comes to marketing behind-the-scenes access. Concert goers receive backstage passes to enter the venue early, meet their favorite artists, and get extra fan paraphernalia. It’s every music lover’s dream.
Jeff Daniels, senior account manager at Callahan Creek, writes:
“Many of the brands I follow keep my interest by taking me where I otherwise could not go by way of their social content. Through the use of easily accessible photo and video technology (GoPro cameras, for example), brands are able to capture content from a perspective that a consumer could not get on their own.”
Show your clients the human side of your company. Give them sneak peeks of your business’s culture.
Build trust with your customers. Share original stories and connect with consumers differently.
3. Content Hub
Knowledge is power. And educating your consumers is part of the new age of marketing.
Your clients don’t always need a conference call or an in-person demo. Sometimes, they just prefer to learn about your products on their own schedule.
Producing content hubs saves your business time and money. Content hubs are centralized locations of information. They can include webinars, ebooks, blog posts, and FAQS.
Content hubs are basically a one-stop shop for customers to learn more about you. It’s an on-demand knowledge center for consumers to find solutions to their challenges, discover updated product features, and even connect with other clients.
“Online buyers put their trust in authorities. Consistently publishing trustworthy content is a proven route to building thought leadership and is amongst the most important benefits of hosting a stellar content hub,” says Barry Feldman, content marketing consultant at Feldman Creative.
MYOB helps businesses manage their finances by connecting them with tax and accounting services. Since their company caters to a few customer segments, each audience has its own corresponding hub of information.
Develop a content hub that offers customers tips and guides. Try a customized approach.
If you really want to spark creativity, insert some humor into your campaign. People love to laugh. Funny moments lighten the mood and bring joy to our routines.
However, businesses walk a thin line between funny and crass. When adding humor to your marketing mix, make sure you’re not offending anyone, including a specific race, religion, or gender.
But when executed correctly, comedy can bring awareness to your company’s brand. Customers may even take a second look at your business.
For example, use humor to distinguish yourself from the competition.
In an interview with AdAge, Xerox’s CMO John Kennedy, says:
“Xerox has universally been associated with one specific category, which is all about the technology. The business has evolved into one of the largest business-services providers, competing with IBM, Accenture and other business-service outsourcing firms.”
To be different, Xerox initiated their marketing campaign called Work Can Work Better. The 30-second television clip lets humor take front stage.
It shows an executive being flooded with jargon. The campaign gained positive coverage, racking up almost 1.7 million YouTube views.
B2B marketing doesn’t have to be dull. Infuse some humor into your messaging. You want people to laugh.
5. Gamify the Process
In the past few years, gamification has exploded within the marketing industry.
And although most marketers may believe it’s only useful for B2C businesses, there is some room for gamification in the B2B sector.
Experiment with gamifying your customer testimonials. Influitive is a platform that helps you build customer engagement.
The software “helps catalyze customer advocates by enabling B2B marketers to create challenges that customers can complete in exchange for points, badges and graduated user levels.” For example, you can reward your customers with free seminars for participating in a case study.
Turn an old process into something creative. Make it a game.
Sell to Humans
B2B marketing is more than just spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations. And it can be stifled by your company’s policies if you let it. Instead, adding a jolt of creativity is still possible.
Try infusing video into your marketing efforts. Give customers behind-the-scenes access. Or even build a content hub to educate consumers.
Be creative. Start marketing.