With B2C marketing, you can be as creative as you like, and the opportunities for triggering viral engagement are potentially massive. B2B is an altogether different beast. Some people dismiss it as boring, and something of an uphill struggle.
But behind every business, there are consumers who make purchasing decisions, and engaging with those consumers is the key to a successful B2B campaign. Plenty of brands are already doing this, in their own way.
1 – Cisco
When it comes to B2B, Cisco are a great example of a company that could retreat into dull, repetitive themes very easily. Cisco is notable for going out on a limb and bringing humour to the fore in its marketing. In 2009, the company suggested that its $250,000 router would make the perfect gift for Valentine’s Day. The gender politics in its ad may be questionable, but let’s set that aside for a second and enjoy the tongue-in-cheek humour behind it.
2 – JCB
Like Red Bull, JCB has a history of setting engineering challenges, and its Dieselmax vehicle was designed to break the land speed record. Fuelled by diesel alone, the vehicle successfully completed its mission in August 2006. It’s a far cry from the excavators the company normally manufactures.
3 – IBM
Singapore 60/60 is IBM’s history of the company’s presence in Singapore over six decades, charting its relationship with Singapore as it became one of the world’s leading commerce hubs. This rich online gallery microsite has now been removed from the IBM website, but you can learn about the concept in this video.
4 – Limelight Networks
The For Dummies books are well loved by many junior techs, so borrowing the brand for an e-book was a genius move. Digital Presence for Dummies provides instant visual appeal, a clear USP, and a host of top quality content, all in one PDF.
5 – Xerox
Xerox is on a mission to break free from dull marketing and come up with content strategies that are engaging and informative. With its Get Optimistic campaign, it delivered business guidance and advice through an interactive microsite. As a result, it increased newsletter readership by more than 300 per cent and increased revenue by $1.3 billion. Proof, if proof were ever needed, that content is still king, and branding doesn’t have to take centre stage to get results.
What Makes B2B Campaigns Great?
These campaigns prove that B2B doesn’t have to be stiff and starchy, and they can give a brand an edge and personality that it previously had not expressed.
Humour is a key driver, as is demonstration of engineering prowess, backed up by a few world records. In IBM’s case, the strength of the campaign was in the relationship with its host country and the partnerships it had forged, while Xerox looked to make new bonds with its clients.
Hopefully these examples prove that B2B isn’t boring, and there’s scope to be innovative in order to succeed.