Top tech marketers reveal their favourite B2B tech campaigns

Alex Clarke hunts down seven titans of the technology marketing sector to discover their favourite B2B tech campaigns

The B2B tech space is one synonymous with competitive marketing. It’s an unforgiving battlefield, where creative edge and reckless flair are fundamental to campaign success.

To explore what the leading B2B brands are doing right, we asked seven masters of the field to choose their favourite recent tech campaigns and explain why it stood out from the crowd.

Top tech marketers reveal their favourite B2B tech campaigns

Jo Scarlett
CMO
PA Consulting Group

Top tech marketers reveal their favourite B2B tech campaign

I liked the eye-catching, hard-hitting, positivity of the Cisco campaign 'There’s never been a better time'.  If tech marketers don’t believe in the power of technology to change things in a positive way, then who will?

The campaign is globally ambitious and executed across multiple industry sectors in a seamless and relevant way, with standout creative… not easy to do in a large global enterprise.

I particularly like how it does a great job of humanising the technology of Cisco and its partners, making it real by showing it in the hands of people facing a hugely diverse range of challenges.

Perhaps the most innovative thing about Cisco’s campaign though is happening behind the scenes. The team are actively allowing maximum room for local creativity – working hard to get engagement with the campaign right across their global team and with their channel partners – while improving relevance in each country, sector and with each client.

I think the most successful campaigns in 2017 will learn from this engagement approach – almost a ‘democratisation’ of campaigns to allow creativity right across the B2B organisation’s ecosystem – internally, with partners and ultimately with end customers too.

Theres Never Been a Better Time to Change the World Together

Top tech marketers reveal their favourite B2B tech campaigns

Scott Allen
CMO
Microsoft UK

Top tech marketers reveal their favourite B2B tech campaigns Scott Allen Microsoft

I am passionate about how B2B and consumer marketing can come together and work effectively. A campaign I love and that seems to get better every year is Shop Small by American Express. Amex starts by focusing its marketing directly to small businesses, using the right mix of social, email, web and print. Its attention is firmly on setting them up for success and getting them ready for the Shop Small initiative.

I particularly liked the Ad Creator (now closed, unfortunately), where small businesses could create a personalised ad, which was then promoted online (displayed over 30 million times to potential customers in their local area) and could also be used in-store – all at no cost to the participating small businesses. Also, the online marketing tools and tips guide is a great idea, demonstrating that Amex understands its business customers’ needs and that they are being supported.

Amex then flips to consumer marketing and promotes the campaign to its card holders, using a strong mix of digital channels and also direct mail. It's a brilliantly simple idea, but with lots of thought, creativity and first-class marketing execution. And it delivers both revenue and an excellent customer experience for the small business and Amex.

Small Business Saturday 2015 | American Express

Top tech marketers reveal their favourite B2B tech campaigns

Marc Keating
Director of digital and innovation
Stein IAS

Top tech marketers reveal their favourite B2B tech campaigns image

One campaign that had me sitting back in awe was global aerospace, defense, security and advanced technologies company Lockheed Martin’s 'Generation beyond'. At the heart of the campaign is the world’s first truly immersive virtual reality (VR) automotive experience, 'The Mars Bus'. Providing kids with an interactive simulated drive along the planet’s surface, the bus provides a highly emotive and educational platform to inspire the next generation of engineers, innovators and explorers.

It’s an excellent example of what we at Stein IAS call ‘post-modern marketing’. It’s about unlocking more personalised relationships between brands and their customers using emerging technologies and alternative customer experiences at every touchpoint in the buyer journey.

Generation Beyond Mars Experience Bus | Lockheed Martin

Top tech marketers reveal their favourite B2B tech campaigns

Sandy Carter
Vice president
Amazon Web Services

Top tech marketers reveal their favourite B2B tech campaigns image Sandy Carter

For me, I love the Cision campaign around the manifesto for PR (Cision is a company that focuses on PR for businesses) 'What if PR Stood for People and Relationships?'.

A great campaign is personal, leverages influencers, engages and focuses on the clients' value – even in the land of B2B, and this is exactly what Cision does. It uses humour and comics (Look out! It's the rise of the [marketing] machines, for example), CMO influencers Brian Solis and Guy Kawaski, as well as world-renowned cartoonist Hugh MacLeod.

But the ebook is not just a pretty face, it adds a tonne of value for those businesses trying to be heard above the noise. If you read Cision’s ebook, it’s chock-full of great advice and suggestions for making your message in the market stronger and louder. And to further engage, they surrounded this material with an event at Google HQ and launched a contest as well. 

Marketing today should be around both attention and trust. The manifesto grabs your attention for sure, but the content drives the trust that Cision knows how to help you.   

And I love how the campaign is surrounded with subject matter experts that help and guide you, along with a press release and even a follow up after the 'sale' explaining what you could have done better based on results.

Top tech marketers reveal their favourite B2B tech campaigns

Louis Fernandes
VP and country manager, UKI
Basware

 

Top tech marketers reveal their favourite B2B tech campaigns HPE Louis Fernandes Salesforce World Tour

My favourite campaign was the Salesforce World Tour 2015 in London. Live events are always a staple in B2B marketing’s arsenal of tactics to deploy, and they all tend to follow a relatively similar (and predictable) pattern. What impressed me and made World Tour stand out, was the sheer attention to detail around the experience that surrounded it.

I’ve been to quite a few large tech jamboree-style events, both here in the UK and overseas, but this just took the razzmatazz to a new level – the keynote address had all the flair of something one might expect from Tony Stark. But peel back the layers and look at all the pre-event marketing and PR that surrounded it (which included the fanfare of opening their offices at the then newly re-branded Salesforce Tower, aka Heron Tower), the way the core messages around Salesforce’s well-documented 1-1-1 scheme (1% of equity, 1% of product and 1% of employees’ time goes back to charitable causes), and it’s something that Salesforce employees always talk about.

On the day it was demonstrable by several segments of the keynote being given over to guest speakers from charities that Salesforce has helped – the most notable was Mary Moloney, CEO of CoderDojo Foundation – all carefully interwoven and choreographed into a rich tapestry of pertinent case studies in a very not-in-your-face way, which really made it stand out from similar events. And the way that even the lunch was served was just… different. The whole day had a carnival atmosphere that really resonated with all the folks I spoke with on the day.

Salesforce’s strapline is “The customer success platform”, and they’ve made a big deal of touting CX as being at the heart of what they deliver. Well, they certainly lived up to it for the 10,000-odd attendees on that occasion!

Salesforce World Tour London, 19th May 2016

Top tech marketers reveal their favourite B2B tech campaigns

Andrew Fitzgerald
Marketing director
IBM global technology services, Europe

Top tech marketers reveal their favourite B2B tech campaigns image

Although a little bit unconventional, my favourite campaign is a learning artificial intelligence (AI) tool used during the US Presidential election, which predicted Donald Trump's victory before anyone else.

EagleAi was designed and built by Havas for ITV News. I liked this because it's not a traditional campaign, but it's a great story that tapped into one of the biggest moments of 2016 – predicting Trump's election victory when traditional polls were saying the opposite. Cognitive technologies will be one of the key themes for the coming years, with emphasis on how they will be used to augment human intelligence: in this case, to objectively assess high volumes of data eliminating political bias. 

As marketers and business people, we're all going to be impacted by this technology. I can't wait to see more examples of its application.

Top tech marketers reveal their favourite B2B tech campaigns

Joe Edwards
Head of digital marketing
FIBA Media

Top tech marketers reveal their favourite B2B tech campaigns image

The best B2B marketing campaign I’ve seen in a while (based purely on how it resonated with me) has to be '{Name here} + IBM Watson' (famous names include Stephen King and Ridley Scott). Demonstrating its very complex artificial intelligence (AI) capability by speaking with famous people about the data, it brought it home in a very simple and inspiring way (the essence of good creative) and has made me want to investigate the IBM platform further.

You may argue that putting a famous person next to a brand and paying a shed load of cash for that privilege should always yield some success, but for me this was less about famous people and more about the conversation, interplay and in some instances humour that played between the AI and the interviewee.

Stephen King + IBM Watson on Storytelling

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