Customer experience is key to business growth. But many B2B companies can’t see clear solutions

by Henning Lørup
Creative Director
Blue Business A/S

The digital revolution is making B2B customers much tougher targets
The figures are clear. Accenture found that 61% of all B2B transactions now originate online. The research also showed that most customers are already more than halfway through their buying process before they first contact a company, and 90% never respond to cold calling.

Source: Accenture

Get creative! Cut through with strong brand and a striking, relevant message
Creative advertising has a proven track record of reaching a target audience who never respond to cold outreach. It is also very effective in striking a deeper chord with potential customers who are in their research phase of their buying process.

Creativity is still your best marketing weapon

B2B marketers tend to favour safe campaigns that appeal to their target group’s rational side. Although it’s true that B2B has a longer sales cycle and purchases are made logically, who says that B2B marketing only works if we take out all the emotion and creativity?

Remember – data is a record of human activity!
We have a huge amount of data available that tells us all about our customers: what they buy, how they buy it, what they’re looking for… But where’s the human being in all this? Customers are people, not just data in a CRM system to be processed and managed.

I am not saying you should completely discount data on your customers. If you master the art of pulling meaningful insight from the data obtained on your customers and use it to inform your creative direction, you’ve got a formula that can really boost response.

But that’s not the whole issue. What bothers me more is the almost complete absence of creativity shown by so many B2B marketing organisations, together with the poverty of creative thinking in what feels like the majority of B2B marketers. If you take a moment to reflect over the marketing that has stood out the most over the past few years and ask yourself what made it so striking, the answer will not be “data”. Admit it; it’s the creativity.

Don’t reject the fun stuff
B2C brands are fortunate in that they tend to have a more relaxed voice that lends itself to a lighter tone in their marketing. B2B marketers can easily follow their lead and surprise their target audience with a sense of fun.

Of course, communicating the value of your product or service is still your primary concern but you have to give people at the top of the demand generation funnel a compelling reason to learn more. Also, as they progress down the funnel it becomes even more important for you to stand out from your competitors.

The demand generation funnel

Source: BuySellAds

Don’t be afraid to spend on branding
The importance of emotions in consumer loyalty and purchasing decisions is an accepted fact – which is why B2C companies invest so many resources in brand marketing. However, B2B companies tend to focus far too much on search and retargeting issues at the bottom of the demand generation tunnel.

It’s all about the story
Just because storytelling has become a marketing cliché, doesn’t mean it isn’t important! Research from Harvard Business Review proves how character-driven stories can really help an audience to understand what a speaker is trying to get across. They remember the message better, too.

B2C marketers are master storytellers. Volkswagen’s commercial for its new SUV is incredibly emotional, and you just have to laugh at IKEA’s famous “Start the Car!

Have a look at these five amazing examples of emotional B2B marketing.

B2B marketing is as boring as you let it be

Be brave. Try out placements that will be considered unusual in B2B marketing. You can run campaign with a creative concept that will bring a smile on the audience’s face, while still being tight and on-brand. Spend money on top-funnel campaigns with a story that simply and clearly explains the value of your product.

It’s tactics like these that can liven up your campaigns, make your brand more memorable – and give you the solid leads you need to grow your business.