Historically, B2B marketing has long lagged behind its glamorous B2C sister. B2C has been the poster girl of the marketing world with B2B the less presentable relation. However all of that has changed over the past decade, with B2B giving their B2C rivals a real run for their money.
To celebrate reaching double digits, b2bmarketing.net recently posted their “Ten of the best B2B campaigns” proving that B2B is no joke and that big budget, big impact campaigns are not just the domain of B2C. The variety and creativity of the ideas on show in the top 10 illustrates quite clearly that B2B marketing is not just keeping up with the trend but is right on top of it. From the viral video marketing of Cornings’ ‘A Day Made of Glass’, which received 21 million YouTube views, to full scale building wraps used in the Bank of Scotland Corporate ‘Look at Things Differently’ campaign B2B has shown its blockbuster potential.
The list as presented by b2bmarketing.net is as follows;
1. ‘Look at Things Differently’ Bank of Scotland Corporate
2. ‘Land Speed Record’ JCB
3. ‘Let’s go to work’ VW Commercial Vehicles
4. ‘Camp Network’ for Microsoft
5. ‘Ultralight’ for USG
6. ‘One and Zero’ for SAP Business objects
7. ‘Smarter Planet’ for IBM
8. ‘They Healthy Workplace Project’ for Kimberly-Clark
9. ‘Business Energy Live’ for British Gas Business
10. ‘A Day Made of Glass’ Cornings’
So what do these B2B campaigns from the past decade have in common?
Targeted use of distribution channels:
Be it the radio specific campaign of VW Commercial Vehicles ‘Let’s go to work’ targeted at van drivers, or the multi-channel campaign ‘Business Energy Live’ for British Gas Business, well-planned use of distribution channels is key to reaching the desired market.
How many would have had the courage that JCB had to go for a world record attempt as a way to prove their engineering capability having only been making engines for 2 years? JCB broke the world land speed record for diesel engines using two they built and prepared in house. What better way to prove to the world that you are good at something than going for a world record? Along a similar line although approached differently ‘Camp Network’ for Microsoft was another bold campaign. Being able to make a little fun of your own brand is a brave move and if done badly can be disastrous but done well can be a big hit like this viral video campaign was!
They’re not afraid to have fun:
Leading on from the last point being able to have a little fun has also proven a successful strategy. Both ‘Ultralight’ for USG and ‘One and Zero’ for SAP Business objects proved that this can work by taking ‘dull’ or ‘complex’ products and making them fun, interesting and engaging. Indeed if a picture showing a man carrying an elephant on his shoulder doesn’t make you look twice I don’t know what will! And who doesn’t love a bit of nostalgia in the form of an illustrated children’s book?
Engaging their audience:
Getting people to engage in your campaign has always been important but in today's interconnected and highly interactive world it is essential! Both ‘Smarter Planet’ for IBM and ‘The Healthy Workplace Project’ for Kimberly-Clark demonstrate the importance of getting stakeholders involved. With IBM encouraging their staff to engage in industry relevant discussion on social media and Kimberly-Clark targeting the competitive side of staff, both campaigns achieved excellent results. Combine this engagement with quality content and you have a recipe for success.
Commitment and Strategy:
Last but most certainly not least, all of these campaigns are founded on a solid and informed strategy. The B2B buying cycle is generally much longer than B2C and often far more complex, as such a campaign must not only be founded in strategy but also committed to for a long period of time. Whatever the reason for the campaign these two points form the foundation on which to build success. From here you can add the fun, flare and flamboyance and deliver a blockbuster campaign with real purpose.
So, perhaps creating a top-notch B2B campaign is not that big of a secret after all. These campaigns all show that B2B is not boring, there is no reason B2B marketers should be any more restricted or conservative than their B2C counterparts. Bold campaigns work - tell a story, engage people and you will get the results. However looking to the next 10 years, being bold is not enough. With the vast array of tools now available to the modern marketer, campaigns must be targeted and results must be measured to help ensure future success.