While it’s easy to think of memorable examples of successful business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing campaigns—think of the Super Bowl ads that get the most attention—it’s much more difficult to think of B2B marketing examples that get people talking. Why is that?
Perhaps it’s because of the myth that B2B marketing is either dull or boring, that creativity has no place in this business. But that notion is changing quickly. As the following examples show, B2B marketers are using consumer insight to create marketing campaigns and strategies that are fun and just as engaging as many B2C marketing campaigns.
Here are three B2B marketing examples that illustrate how companies inject life and creativity into their campaigns.
Tetra Pak demonstrates its marketing and product expertise.
To highlight the merits of a new design, Swedish food packaging company Tetra Pak recently launched a whimsical B2B marketing campaign. The design, called the DreamCap, “sits at a slight angle for easier drinking and fewer nose-to-container collisions,” according to Direct Marketing. Despite the innovativeness of its new cap design, however, the company decided not to focus on its technical aspects alone.
“We didn't want to tell [prospective clients] about a package. We want to talk about what millennials are doing, thinking and buying, and offer a solution to meet those needs,” says Larine Urbina, communications manager at Tetra Pak U.S. and Canada. “We want to demonstrate our broad expertise in marketing and product formulation, not just sell a package.”
To do that, the company sent select prospects colorful, fun mailers that take people to a mini-adventure. It includes a foldout that mimics the Instagram look and feel, directing prospects into a portal that offers additional design concepts and product features.
“We want [prospective clients] to be able to envision their product in our package, knowing that they need to stand out to the millennial market,” Urbina says. “And we are consciously aware that many of these marketers are millennials themselves.”
The hyper-targeted campaign (only 72 sample kits were sent out) was highly successful, gathering more than 500 responses from its target audience.
Urbina’s advice for other marketers? “Whoever you're marketing to, even in the B2B space, everyone's a consumer and you need to keep it interesting.”
Swedish food packaging company @TetraPak demonstrates its expertise in a #B2B #marketing campaign. (TWEET THIS B2B MARKETING EXAMPLE)
“Whoever you’re marketing to, even in the B2B space, everyone’s a consumer and you need to keep it interesting.”
Xerox uses humor to drive rebrand.
Xerox is no longer just about hardware, and it is using a marketing campaign called Work Can Work Better to highlight its business services, which now make up a significant portion of its revenue.
"The campaign goal is to evolve the Xerox brand in a way that more accurately reflects the role Xerox is playing in the world today," says CMO John Kennedy, in an interview with AdAge about the campaign. "Xerox has universally been associated with one specific category, which is all about the technology. The business has evolved into one of the largest business-services providers, competing with IBM, Accenture and other business-service outsourcing firms."
Humor plays a major role in the campaign, which includes TV spots, print ads and even a rebrand of the company website. The 30-second TV ad shows a business executive in various settings being bombarded by jargon—including the cringe-worthy “bigger data.” Finding the right solution shouldn’t be so much work, according to the ad, and that “Work Can Work Better.”
So far, the Xerox campaign seems to be working, gaining positive coverage from publications like Digiday, Forbes and MediaPost. The campaign’s main video on YouTube has accumulated almost 1.7 million views within four months.
Work Can Work Better #marketing campaign uses humor to highlight Xerox’s business services. (TWEET THIS B2B MARKETING EXAMPLE)
Adobe leverages content hub to shift buyer perception.
Insight Community of the Year finalist Adobe made its name in the desktop publishing business. It needed to expand market perception beyond desktop publishing when it acquired Omniture, a marketing analytics company. In particular, the company needed a way to regularly engage marketing leaders, Omniture’s main target audience.
“Adobe came up with a solution by using Omniture’s website CMO.com to help reposition its brand as a precursor to generating demand,” Kovac writes. “It gradually turned CMO.com into a powerhouse of original and curated content that’s highly relevant to heads of marketing.”
Today, CMO.com is recognized as one of the leading content marketing hubs in the world, allowing Adobe to keep its brand name top of mind among businesses who need marketing solutions.
Adobe uses @cmo_com to engage #marketing leaders and remain relevant to businesses. (TWEET THIS B2B MARKETING EXAMPLE)
The success of these campaigns is rooted in an understanding that B2B buyers have the same appetite for useful, interesting and authentic marketing as everyday consumers. These initiatives are successful because they demonstrate deep customer intelligence on the people they’re trying to target. Ultimately, success in B2B, just like in B2C, is highly dependent on an accurate and genuine understanding of your target audience.
Note: A version of this article was first published in January 2014. This post was updated to include new information and examples.