Entrepreneurs know they need to stand out when marketing to consumers and large companies, yet while they tend to create engaging, hilarious, and often viral B2C campaigns, they tend to stay safe with B2B marketing. Why is that? It’s likely, that they, like many other people, tend to think B2B marketing needs to be serious and professional – and to many, that means “boring”.
The fact is, businesses are not machines. They’re headed by people, managed by people, and have buyers who are people. Just like any other people, B2B people enjoy color, humor, and playfulness. The same marketing tactics that resonate with the average consumer are tactics that catch the procurement professionals’ eye. Compelling, fun, trustworthy, and serious messaging can all co-exist in a B2B marketing campaign. Here’s how.
Let Your Witty Side Show
Paper doesn’t seem like a particularly humorous topic, but Case Paper found their groove when they switched their marketing focus from their base product – paper – to what makes their company unique. They did it by creating a new brand voice that is funny and quirky. They embraced a more casual tone and started embracing wordplay such as “who gives a sheet”? By using likable language, fun asides, and unexpected visuals, they’ve created a more interesting and compelling story statement.
Bad puns. Corny jokes. Silly photos. Authentic content that leans toward quirky can cut through the seriousness and remind the audience that the small things can also be funny in the B2B world.
Up Your Graphics
Most B2B whitepapers consist of walls of text, minimal, uninspiring graphics, and generic stock photos. Exactly the opposite of what a successful B2C marketer would present to their audience. Why? Because they know that consumer attention span is limited, and they expect content to entertain as well as inform. Cisco recently bridged that gap by appealing to their audience by promoting their cybersecurity and IT services with a geek-friendly graphic novel featuring superhero characters and old-school illustrations in order to call attention to the dangers of data breaches.
Don’t worry about having to hire a graphics team to create engaging visual content. For custom art you can check out freelance artist sites like Upwork. There are also tons of apps available that can turn images into sketches. For a casual, down-to-earth vibe, consider using team doodles to accompany blog content.
Add Relevant Pop Culture
No matter what B2B industry you work in, chances are you’re dealing with people who are plugged into current happenings and trends. Between the news, entertainment, and social media, the internet promotes trends and stories most people follow. With so much entertaining distraction at hand, the only way to compete is to make your marketing campaign relevant by incorporating the tone or jargon people expect from non-advertising sources. Don’t be afraid to make a pun about a current event that can be tied into your branding.
Don’t Take Yourself Seriously
If there is something people consistently give your company grief for, instead of trying to fight it with PR, consider embracing it. Email-marketing platform MailChimp recently poked fun at its own nonsensical name by creating a series of faux brands such as SnailPrimp and FailChips and created short films for imaginary brands KaleLimp, MailShrimp, and JailBlimp.
In conclusion, we’ve all seen dry, “professional” B2B marketing copy that reads like a statistics textbook. Take a break from the typical boring B2B marketing campaign and try some B2C messaging strategies for some light-hearted, engaging fun, instead.