Originally posted on B2B Marketing.
Educate first - entertain second.
‘Tis the solemn code that B2B marketers must swear by.
But however important it is to balance messaging with ROI - and over a much longer purchasing journey than B2C - it shouldn’t come at the cost of creativity.
In fact, we reckon good B2B marketing can do more than educate your audience. Done right, it can dazzle them too.
With that in mind, here are five of the best B2B digital marketing strategies to inspire your business…
Unity - marketing inside the Metaverse
According to Unity Software’s CEO John Riccitiello, a whopping 70% of the world’s mobile games are built using the company’s 3D and AR technology.
But these virtual arenas aren’t reserved for gamers alone - not anymore.
Because with more and more talk about the Metaverse - not to mention a 50% increase in the number of mobile gamers in the UK in 2021 (8.6 million new players) - there’s an opportunity for businesses to occupy these spaces with their B2B digital marketing strategies too.
And although the Metaverse hasn’t arrived yet, we’re already getting a good idea of what it could look like for marketers from the likes of Ikea and other consumer brands.
B2B lesson to learn
B2B businesses can take inspiration from the strategies deployed by B2C brands during the pandemic. In theory, the Metaverse won’t just be a place where brands can sell their products; it could be a place to network and hold conferences as well. And whether you think it’s an exciting opportunity for marketers or a dangerous distraction from real-world issues, there’s no avoiding it: the Metaverse will soon become a reality.
But there are also B2C tactics you can incorporate into your B2B digital marketing strategies now, without having to wait.
ServiceNow - getting emotional with B2C techniques
ServiceNow developed a cloud computing platform to help companies manage digital workflows for enterprise operations.
Sounds pretty dense, right?
Well, that doesn’t mean its marketing has to be.
The classic myth is that while B2C marketing is allowed to be emotional, B2B tactics must appeal to the rational mind.
But with ServiceNow’s ‘The Smarter Way to Workflow’ series of ads, the company put this theory to bed. The lighthearted video takes the concept of smart top and casual bottom when working remotely to another level. And being released in August 2020 at the height of lockdown, it hit audiences at exactly the right time to resonate.
Alan Marks, chief marketing and communications officer at ServiceNow, talked about the organisation’s thought process behind the campaign at the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) 2020 Masters of B2B Conference.
He argued that when CEOs are pursuing digital transformation, they’ve got to deliver great experiences for employees and customers.
Essentially, they need to keep both parties happy.
“That’s not a rational, technical discussion. That’s an emotional discussion. And experience, ultimately, is an emotional thing,” said Marks (as reported in Warc).
B2B lesson to learn
At the end of the day, you’ve got to ensure your campaigns are emotionally invested - regardless of whether you’re creating B2C or B2B marketing. Purchasing is always an emotional decision, so your B2B strategy should focus on producing an emotional response from your audience too. Makes sense, right?
Dropbox - master the use of microsites
In terms of B2B marketing, Dropbox is a master of mixing business with pleasure.
Looking to target marketers in 2017 - a brand new audience for the organisation at the time - Dropbox Business developed its 'Marketing Dynamix' campaign. It was based around an innovative microsite that asked users the question: “What kind of a marketer are you?”. Working like a personality test, it subtly educated marketers on their strengths and weaknesses with a 20-page “self-portrait” ebook.
Both educational and entertaining, the results were staggering. According to B2B Marketing, the campaign achieved:
- 9,445,499 impressions and 68,328 clicks.
- 220% of its lead generation target with an £8.8m pipeline as a result.
- an ROI of 25:1
B2B lesson to learn
OK, whitepapers and guides aren’t anything new to B2B marketers; it’s our bread and butter. Undoubtedly, they’re still an invaluable way to demonstrate expertise, educate audiences and build their trust before purchasing. But if there’s one thing we can learn from Dropbox, it’s that we can certainly find more interesting ways to personalise the experience. It’s not all about the prize at the end of the sign-up; consider how they get there too.
Slack - blur the lines between fiction and reality
Remember when mockumentaries like Parks and Recreations and The Office were all the rage?
Well, so did Slack.
Understanding the medium’s enduring appeal, the workspace communication company decided to blur the lines between fiction and reality with its ad: “So Yeah, We Tried Slack …”.
The ad tells the story of Sandwich Video, an agency that’s been asked by Slack to try its new communication tool. It’s funny, well-produced and packed full of info about Slack’s features.
But that’s not what makes it great.
Sandwich Video is actually one of Slack’s real customers. And having produced the video themselves, it’s got to be one of the most innovative and honest examples of a client testimonial around.
In fact, it was so good that Sandwich returned last year with a sequel. Pitched by Sandwich themselves, this one’s another firsthand demonstration of Slack’s usefulness - this time when WFH.
B2B lesson to learn
It’s no secret that social proof is one of the best forms of marketing. And when thinking about B2B marketing strategies, comprehensive case studies are crucial in making long-term sales. But that doesn’t mean you can’t think outside the box with them. And getting the right client onboard? Well, you might be able to collaborate to create something that’s both honest and original.
But creative partnerships are only one side of the coin. Great B2B marketing - you know, the stuff that feels personal - is powered by insight, too. More important than ever if your client size is as big and varied as DocuSign’s…
DocuSign - partner up and personalise the experience
Honestly, it’s hard to imagine a world without DocuSign. The electronic signature tool has become universally helpful for businesses of all shapes and sizes.
And there lies the problem.
DocuSign’s 1,000,000 customers range from office managers at 15 fortune 500 companies to humble sole traders. Consequently, there’s no “size-fits-all” when it comes to creating marketing that actually resonates; DocuSign needed to take a tailored approach - on an unprecedented scale.
That’s why it partnered up with Oracle. Using the Oracle Eloqua marketing automation platform, the team at DocuSign could quickly see exactly who its users are, understand how they’re using the platform and, crucially, work out how to market to them.
So whether it’s a procurement director at a major bank or a partner in a small law firm, DocuSign’s marketing team could direct them towards a white paper or webinar tailored to their role, sector and company size.
B2B lesson to learn
As we’ve mentioned before, there are over 8,000 MarTech products available. So, where on Earth do you start? Well, if you’re a larger organisation like DocuSign with tons of different customer profiles, a partner that helps you understand, segment and create tailored messaging is a must in this day and age. Otherwise, in such a saturated space, it’s just spam.
But there are solutions that are designed to help - whatever the size of your organisation. For example, a Digital Asset Management system like Asset Banksset Bank can act as a centralised hub for the right assets. So that means it can help teams collaborate, both creatively and with consistency, on B2B marketing strategies - wherever they’re working from.