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Why creative B2B marketing wins over hearts and minds

B2B marketing isn’t typically known for being creative because its trying to appeal to a professional audience

As a B2B marketer, you're likely selling serious products to serious professionals. So, your marketing content needs to be serious and straightforward, right? 

Wrong. This is a tired misconception that plagues the B2B marketing world.

Marketers fear that being too colorful will alienate audiences that are looking for just the facts. But in reality, original outreach helps you stand out from the crowd, stir up emotions, and project a unique voice that customers can relate to.

While it's certainly possible to go overboard or target your message poorly, you don't have to go off the wall or sacrifice your brand's dignity to make a memorable appeal. The rewards of a well-calculated creative campaign far outweigh the risks.

The feelings-based economy

For more than a century, the advertising industry has known two things: People "feel" more than they "think," and feelings equal sales. According to ISPO News, a whopping 90 per cent of purchasing decisions are made unconsciously and are emotionally driven. This can be confirmed through science, as brain scans reveal that feelings are better predictors of purchase habits than factors such as product quality or brand recognition.

Although big business purchases are made with a bit more critical thought than everyday consumer purchases, B2B marketers should not forget that corporate decision makers are the same kind of feelings-oriented buyers as everyone else. 

Here are three examples of how creative messaging can deliver big results to brands:

  1. Getting personal: 2016 might just be the year of the personalized video. Advances in data technology have enabled marketers to make use of video content that can be personalized for each viewer, and the results — just like the content — are something to watch. For marketing automation platform Act-On, using personalized video marketing resulted in 10 times the click-throughs, double the engagement, and a 400 pe rcent higher open rate. There just might be no better way to make your leads feel spoken to than personalized content, and there are plenty of ways to add your brand's flare to the rich medium of video.
  2. Thinking outside the box: Cloud backup and recovery company Intronis saw a 700 per cent ROI after putting a unique twist on a direct mail campaign. Knowing its audience would be IT professionals who'd appreciate a little geeky nostalgia, the company sent a classic Atari gaming console out to each of its targets along with a company URL and the hook 'Intronis got game'. Intronis dug into its target audience, identified what would make audience members "tick," and transformed pure creativity into sales. If you follow a similar playbook, there are unlimited ways you can replicate this success. The key takeaway here comes straight from the mouth of Intronis' CMO, Aaron Dun: "Get outside your own head." Always going with what you know is the best way to miss out on big ideas. 
  3. Incorporating pop culture: If you're at all plugged into pop culture and current events, you already have a good idea of what people will respond to. Catch phrases, allusions to characters, and even the use of familiar themes and aesthetics can all show your audience members that you're still cool — just like they are. For example, mobile management and security company Fiberlink recognized that it was dealing with some relatively dull subject matter, so it turned to a popular television show to stir up excitement around a new product. The company created a 'Game of Phones' campaign, a play on the hugely popular TV series that needs no introduction. Through entertaining video content that went as far as mapping the major smartphone operating systems to the families from the hit show, the company saw a 20 per cent boost in leads.

Act-On, Intronis, and Fiberlink are living proof that B2B marketing campaigns don't have to be drab, stiff, and overly formal. You can have a little fun and still walk away victorious.Don't fear the power of emotions. If you know how to relate to your market and aren't afraid to think outside the box, you, too, could win hearts and minds with a little creativity in your next campaign.