ITL #476   B2B marketing: from blah and boring, to bold and brilliant

3 weeks, 1 day ago

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Many B2B brands are still missing the opportunity to produce compelling content that grabs audience attention. By Smitha Virik



We ask ourselves this question everyday – “how do I effectively communicate with my target audience? Is my messaging boring?” Yet, we continue to apply the same B2B marketing tactics, every single time. 

 

Search for any variation of “best marketing of the year” and you’ll get a list of 10 to 20 top marketing campaigns—and hardly any are B2B brands. Isn’t that ironic? That companies known for being on the cutting edge of technology are the same companies with the most cookie-cutter, boring, and predictable marketing campaigns out there?

 

It’s time for B2B brands to no longer be constrained by what they’ve always done. They must think outside of the box and do things that are bold, unexpected, and exciting. Marketing is no longer as simple as getting in front of your audience with a single message as many times as possible. Consumers want unique, attention-grabbing creativity delivered in a personalised way.

 

Marketing in the age of the multiverse

The marketing ecosystem has become increasingly complex for marketers. We now live, work and market in the age of the multiverse which includes: 

  • Multi-Platform – There is an array of channels available to the modern marketer. We need to be thinking about how we can leverage the latest channels like TikTok or the Metaverse, in a relevant way that meets audiences where they are and where they want to be, including our B2B audience.
  • Multi-Tasking – When was the last time you just sat and did nothing? That’s right. We live in a world where most of us are experts at multitasking, so it is rare that marketers will get the undivided attention of its desired audience.  
  • Multi-Role – In addition to multi-tasking, today’s jobs require a broader set of skills more than ever, which means we all wear multiple hats to meet the expectations of our jobs. Outside of work, most of us hold other roles, be that a parent, a carer, a volunteer. All of these roles means today’s marketers need to resonate with experts and generalists alike.
  • Multi-Device – It’s uncommon that any of us use just a single device for the entire day. Outside of the usual tablets, mobiles, PCs, we also interact with smart TV’s, smart speakers, and wearables.  

What this means for brands is that they can no longer rely on an isolated moment to build connections. Instead, brands must consider multiple touchpoints and techniques to effectively reach and convert audiences.

According to TEAM LEWIS’ Marketing in 2022: Multi-Moment Audience report in partnership with GWI, we are continuing to see screen time climb across the globe and interactions with social media platforms across APAC exceed global averages. Audiences today are beginning to self-regulate and become more critical of how they engage with brands online. This means brands must move with precision to capture their audience’s attention.  

 

Strategies for injecting creativity

Considering the complexities of the marketing landscape and this new breed of audience, here are five strategies that B2B brands can adopt to inject creativity into their next marketing campaign.

  1. Know your audience:  How can we cut through the multiverse complexity if we don’t know where we’re aiming? By taking the time to really understand your audience, you can better target and optimise your content to reach them. Consider how you are solving your customers’ challenges. Are you saying anything interesting to be heard or positioning your campaign with creative taglines that address the pain points of your customers? Audience insights can help you make better decisions – what your messaging should sound like, when is the best time to communicate an offer or what motivates your audience in making a purchase.
  1. Inject emotion and humanise your marketing: In addition to contending with an audience that is growing increasingly immune to marketing messages, brands must now also ensure that they’re sensitive to mood. How marketing makes people feel dictates whether they engage with it or disregard it completely. By aligning your brand with what matters or relates to them, it will help get your message across more effectively and form a deeper connection with your audience.
  2. Unify your branded content: How often have you seen the same key message for a marketing campaign run on LinkedIn, social ads and in media articles? Chances are not many because marketers have different teams and agencies working in silo on different channels and campaigns. You can no longer build brand awareness through just one marketing channel, and with channels getting saturated extremely fast, marketers need to focus on how best to connect them all. This will create a positive customer experience and further build brand awareness.  
  3. Ditch the jargon: Most B2B marketers make the mistake of being highly technical with their marketing. But does your audience really understand those terminologies and industry catchphrases? Keep it simple, make sure your audience knows what you’re talking about. 
  4. Push boundaries: Ever notice how 99% of lead generation campaigns point back to a wordy whitepaper? If all your competitors are doing it, why not come up with something innovative, fresh, and visually appealing? Whitepapers are great but today’s consumers are extremely time-poor, so consider pushing the creativity boundaries a little more, so your message stands out.

There are many B2B brands that have adapted their marketing strategies and are using creativity to drive performance. For example, Sophos, a leader in next-gen cybersecurity used creative storytelling and an out-of-the-ordinary approach for a B2B enterprise brand to drive audience engagement with its ‘Sophos Eats Threats for Breakfast’ campaign. 

 

At the end of the day, it’s important that B2B brands stay abreast of trends and produce compelling content that grabs audience attention. Marketers must learn to not shy away from creativity – it’s not just for creatives. It’s an approach that anyone can adopt by simply putting themselves in the shoes of the audience and taking the occasional risk by making incremental changes.  

 


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The Author

Smitha Virik

Smitha Virik, Head of Technology, APAC, Team Lewis.

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