So we’re all familiar with witty, memorable and emotionally charged consumer branding and marketing, whether it’s the 2012 "Share a Coke" campaign of Coca-Cola or the "Rhonda and Ketut" campaign of AAMI.
So what happened with creative b2b campaigns? With a couple of notable exceptions, b2b branding and marketing has a less-than-sexy reputation of safety, middle-of-the-road syndrome and the (hang our heads in shame) the downright dull. What’s the story here?
Yes, we often have more product detail to get across than b2c, and yes, often our budgets are more pinched. But we all know that while it can be nice to splash the cash on pricey media, funky widgets and breathtaking photography, at the end of the day a good idea costs no more than a crap idea. And what’s wrong with finding clever and innovative ways – and places – to get your lengthy product info across, especially now that there are so many different media options at our disposal?
We know too that b2b purchases tend to involve multiple decision-makers, and marketing to a committee was never going to win anyone any creative awards. But perhaps the biggest obstacle has been what our audiences have in common, rather the their diversity. Because historically speaking your traditional b2b buyer has been male, suited and booted, mid-50’s, executive type. So the way we communicate with them has reflected this: we’re talking navy blue, corporate stock images, nice thick letterhead, you know the type of thing. Added to the fact that generally we’re asking b2b consumers to make big serious lose-your-job-if-you-mess-it-up type purchases, and suddenly things start looking very safe and staid indeed.
So here’s the thing – the good news. The market is changing. Sure a big chunk of today’s b2b decision-makers are still your man-in-a-suit, but times are changing : decision-makers are getting younger, many of them are women (‘What’s that!’ I hear you cry!), and some of them – get this – don’t even wear suits any more!
All this is making us think maybe it’s time for a new wave of creativity in the b2b market. Maybe it’s time to start lightening up, involving the emotions more and having some fun in the ways we communicate with each other. The opportunity’s there, and the tools are at our disposal too. It could be a great way to stand apart from the competition as well. Anyone up for the challenge?
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