Commercial Good experience

How B2B Marketing Killed Kenny

Creating interesting, engaging, and effective B2B marketing can be tough. It can be especially hard on those businesses that have to sell a rather boring product. 

How do you take boring products and create fun and attention-grabbing marketing content? How can you make something trendy and cool while keeping it professional for your business clients?

To create a successful B2B marketing campaign, it takes creativity, talent, a laser-focused strategy, and knowledge about your audience. These skills take a lot of time and effort to build. They don’t just come naturally.

That is why the majority of B2B marketing campaigns stink. They’re scared to take risks or they don’t have the resources to do it right and their marketing campaigns blend in with everyone else’s. 

And, the ones who do take a risk and create something new seem to do so just be unique. The content falls flat. It isn’t effective just because it’s different from the competitors. 

Here are the main reasons that B2B marketing campaigns aren’t working:

No Creativity

If you can’t find a creative and interesting way to market your product or service, your audience’s attention is going to drift. There are so many competitors when you’re dealing in an online market, so you can’t afford to get lost in a sea of similar offers.

Make sure to take advantage of every opportunity to wow your customers with content that is easy to browse through and interesting.

Kajabi is a bad example of presenting content in an interesting way. Kajabi is a tool for businesses that sell digital goods like online courses, seminars, or other similar goods. Their feature page looks like this:

These paragraphs go on and on without any pictures, screenshots, or added design elements. Seriously, there are about 40 features on this page. Kajabi is a good product, and it has a lot to offer, but who wants to scroll through all of these bland little paragraphs? My eyes are glazing over just talking about.

What Kajabi should do is use this opportunity to show their web designing chops. After all, the service that they sell is supposed to help you design your website and content. If I’m looking at competitors and they have beautiful pages with interactive elements, I’m probably not coming back to Kajabi.

Getting creative with content that seems boring or purely informational will help your audience stay interested in the material. Simply listing features is not good enough. This goes for any kind of marketing content that you produce. There is no point where you should phone it in and just publish black and white facts.

Missing the Mark

Sometimes B2B marketing teams have good ideas but totally lack the ability to execute them.

IBM put out an ad a few years ago with the intention of raising awareness to the fact that women hold only 3 in 10 jobs in science and engineering fields. They wanted to make a commercial that would empower women who have good ideas to pursue those ideas despite the obstacles that they may face. It was part of a larger campaign on their website.

So, what did they come up with?

A bunch of ladies finding interesting ways to use hair dryers. Why? Because talking about science and engineering with beauty products will make it more accessible for women! Right? …Right?

The campaign to bring attention to this gender disparity was named “Hack a Hair Dryer.”

Well, kudos to you, IBM, for giving it a shot, but this is a prime example of missing the mark. This campaign had women everywhere rolling their eyes. It was discontinued after Twitter caught wind of it and female scientists started to hashtag the campaign with sarcastic remarks and complaints.

If you want to take the risk, do something new, and stand out, it is absolutely essential that you understand your audience and their needs.

Writing Stuffy Content

According to Digital Authority Partners, creating marketing content to draw in businesses does not mean creating stuffy, purely informational content. Just because you want to be professional does not mean that you can’t also have a personality.

Many people think of selling to a business and they think of a faceless corporation. They think they need to sell with only facts and logic. But, that’s not entirely true.

Yeah, facts and logic are important, but ultimately, the businesses that you are selling to are made up of real people. These people have a problem and they are considering you to provide a solution. How can you sell to those individual people so that they can make a decision to buy a product or service from you?

If you want to be able to sell to businesses, you have to learn how to communicate information in a way that they care about. This means talking about issues that they care about, avoiding industry jargon, and understanding their goals and setbacks.

Don’t be afraid to infuse some creativity and fun just because it’s a business. Every year, companies become more and more people-friendly. The workplace is less formal than it used to be and it continues to become more relaxed as time goes on. Embrace that change and communicate with your audience in a relaxed, real way.

Having an Unfocused Strategy

Currently, this is the banner on Epson’s Twitter account:

Their Twitter page and their website are currently littered with promotional content about how they are now partnering with Shaq to market their goods.

Now, Shaq is lovely. I think we can all agree on that. I’m not trying to put Shaq on blast here. But what connection does he have to Epson, the print industry, or the businesses that Epson is selling to?

By choosing a random celebrity to be a spokesperson for their product, Epson has undermined its own influencer potential. 

If you choose to use an influencer to sell your products to other businesses, it’s important that the person has some sort of knowledge of your industry. When decision-makers are discussing whether or not to partner with you, they want an expert opinion, they want insider information. Shaq is not going to be able to provide that to them.

When B2B marketing teams use a random influencer, it comes across as phony. There’s no real benefit to the customer in this situation. It’s clearly just a ploy to try and draw in extra sales because people like Shaq.

To make this strategy really work for you, you need a focused marketing strategy. This means that you’re taking all of the information you learned in the last point (what problems your audience is facing, what would make their job easier, what are their goals, what’s holding them back), and you are addressing those questions with your marketing material.

This focused strategy should be the sieve through which all of your marketing content is filtered. It should all line up to serve the same purpose, whatever that purpose may be.

Conclusion

It’s easy to create boring, run of the mill B2B marketing materials. That’s why you see so many businesses pumping out bland content. What’s difficult, but absolutely necessary, is knowledge of your audience combined with the talent and creativity to put that knowledge to work for you.

Engage individual people and get creative so that you can stand out from your competition and wow your audience.

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