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B2B Marketing Doesn’t Have to Be B2Boring

Strong B2B marketing creativity leads to more awareness, which ultimately leads to B2B growth.

4 Min Read
B2B Marketing Doesn’t Have to Be B2Boring

There was a time when B2B marketing was uninspired and unemotional, and B2C advertising had all the fun. Although times have changed, and progress has been made, the B2B space is still pushing too much product and not enough experiences.

The solution?

A change of perspective.

Believe it or not, B2B customers are just as human as any B2C consumer — thirsty to be engaged, surprised, delighted and motivated. “Moving the needle” with a B2B audience means coupling insightful strategy with a potent key message and then unleashing it in a novel way through the alchemy of creativity.

Simply put, strong creativity can lead to more awareness — and more awareness to greater action and ultimately B2B growth.

Consider this: According to a large-scale study conducted by the B2B Institute, a LinkedIn think tank, B2B campaign effectiveness increases as creative commitment increases.1

In another major study, creativity was deemed the largest single factor in driving marketing effectiveness — more than two times the role of reach.2

It’s also estimated that powerful creative [especially in long-term campaigns] can be 10 to 20 times more sales effective than mediocre creative.3

“OK,” you say, “those are some compelling facts. But what happens in an economic downturn? Cut spending, forego creative expression, and batten down the hatches, right?”

Wrong.

In a down economy, the more skilled move is to amplify spend. In fact, 60% of brands that increased media spend in the last recession saw greater ROI, and those that spent more on paid advertising saw a 17% increase in incremental sales.4  

So, as you consider your brand, products and services in this new age of marketing, don’t hold back. Be bold. Test out some new energy. Throw more creativity into the mix. Be seen. Be heard. And if you want a few pointers before you begin (again), well, here you go:

  • Know thy audience. Don’t forget that your communications are intended for the customer, not for you. I know it’s difficult to separate your feelings from the work, but it’s not about whether it sparks for you, or your kids, or if your significant-other likes it. Sure, we as advertisers want you to love the work. But we want your customers to love it even more. So, always consider what they want. Then make this the lens through which everything is viewed.

  • Safe advertising isn’t safe. You don’t have to be outrageous, but work to be unforgettable. It’s paramount to stand out from your competition and stay top of mind with your customers. If nervous butterflies are playing ragtime in your gut, that’s good. It means you’re breaking new ground. Trust your marketing team or agency to be your guide; the good ones are after the same results as you — your success is our success.

  • Test and learn. Digital/social is purpose built for this, allowing metrics a deep dive into customer behavior. If an ad isn’t working, don’t withdraw from the powerful engine you’ve built with your marketing and advertising; rather, be open to changing some immediate tactics. Your brand is a living, breathing organism that requires constant care and feeding.

 

Now go forth and market; it’s a truly exciting time to be in B2B marketing!

 

Josh Lieber is senior Creative Director of Agency Ingram Micro, a B2B marketing firm named In-House Agency of the Year for the past two years. When Josh was nine, he asked his father, “How much do you have to pay to write a TV commercial?” He answered, “They pay you.” He has been crafting great stories ever since. Josh landed his first job at Lintas: New York, working on diet Coke, IBM and MasterCard. Soon, he was working at other notable agencies including Young & Rubicam and Innocean Worldwide, leading the integrated creative to outstanding results. His work has received Cannes Lions, CLIOs, Gold ADDYs, Effies, One Show Pencils, ACEs, and many other awards and accolades.

1 The B2B Effectiveness Code. Creativity and Effectiveness in B2B marketing from 2010-2021

2 McKinsey’s Award Creativity Score. Data from Nielsen, which analyzed 500 FMCG campaigns in 2016 and 2017, shows creative is responsible for 47% of the sales uplift, ahead of reach (22%), brand (15%) and targeting (9%).

3 Wood, Leslie (2009), “Short-Term Effects of Advertising: Some Well-Established Law-Like Patterns,” Journal of Advertising Research, 49 (2), 6–92

4AdAge October 25, 2022

 

This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.

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