Many clients and agencies have long held the belief that B2B marketing is entirely different from B2C marketing. What works and what doesn’t are defined by entirely different rules.
Taking that a step further, it’s also true that many believe B2B marketing to be the underdog and the dull one. It’s a mindset that still prevails today.
This debate centers on creativity—or, more often than not, the lack thereof. What motivates this issue, and more importantly, what do we know about creativity in business-to-business? Is it a requirement for achieving business success, or is the impact it has a myth?
The Issue Of B2B Creativity
This problem has numerous causes, many of which are regrettably just habits. It’s a perspective that has developed over a long period of time, and as we all know, habits can be very difficult to break. Some will argue that it simply boils down to attractiveness; surely it’s more exciting to work on a brand that produces widgets for the engineering industry than one that produces an airline or alcoholic beverage? Does this imply that the bright lights of B2C lure the brightest creative minds while B2B gets to keep the scraps?
No is the obvious response to that. The false notion that “customers” in business-to-business transactions are distinct from “consumers” in business-to-consumer transactions is the true source of the problem. Every time they enter the widget factory, they act differently, are subject to different influences, and somehow undergo an evolutionary change.
Due to this, marketing strategies have been developed that only communicate rational information, with a particular emphasis on short-term sales rather than long-term brand building. And that signifies a lack of creativity by concept.
So, how do we fix this? Well, for starters, recognising that, whether at work or at home, we are all just people. Whether we are making decisions for work or play, the same pre-programming, biases, and heuristics will be at play.
Knowing your audience inside and out is therefore the key to success for all marketers and advertising agencies. Not just the choices they make, but also the reasons behind them. If the research is done well, there are a myriad of inventive ways to make a real difference.
Five Top Tips To Move Your Business Forward:
If your company doesn’t encourage innovation in B2B, you’re losing out. It is crucial to generating growth and profit. Brands that outperform their rivals will only gain more in the long run. Five guidelines can help you kick that habit:
1. Stop focusing on clients, prospects, consumers, etc. and begin to consider “humans”.It’s far too simple to assume that B2B communications exist only to influence businesses to make purchases for their operations. However, in the end, it is a person, not a company, who makes the purchasing decision and who must respond to your advertising.
2. A brilliant idea sits at the heart of every successful campaign. Great ideas are based on insights, but B2B brands are frequently unaccustomed to planning in this manner because there is a dearth of credible research in the industry.Make adjustments to your budgets to ensure the proper balance of long-term activation and brand building, and be sure to present evidence in the boardroom to gain support.
3. Give up hyper targeting. It kills creativity, as evidenced by the data. It’s the worst media error of the past ten years, according to the B2B Institute and LinkedIn.The objective is to creatively apply its essence to what can be accomplished realistically rather than necessarily carrying out the bravest work.
4. Never again measure anything. You shouldn’t do something just because you can. Consider what’s crucial and keep in mind that some effects take time to manifest.
5. Step outside your comfort zone. Decide to change how you do things consciously. If a creative idea is put in front of you and it makes you feel uneasy, chances are it’s the right course to follow.It can be very well received to bring together like-minded contributors who represent and are in line with the brand’s values.
It is wise to be prepared with objectives, metrics, and successes that can be used to demonstrate ROI and defend spending when B2B budgets are under scrutiny. Although almost all brands can benefit from the core metrics (awareness, consideration, advocacy, top of mind in category, etc.), the more specialised metrics will be determined by the specific goals of each brand. Be specific about how customers interact with your company so that metrics can be adjusted.
Differentiating in the B2B market doesn’t have to be challenging or expensive. Any brand can be propelled by creativity to enter markets where competitors haven’t yet arrived, giving it a crucial competitive advantage. Perhaps now is the right time for a shift in our industry; for brands to be more daring with B2B.