Before we unveil some examples of great B2B marketing campaigns, let’s just take a moment to talk about successful business-to-business marketing in general.
When the average person thinks about how businesses market to other businesses, things that generally come to mind are facts and figures, industry jargon, cost/benefit analysis, competitive differentiation—boring stuff, right? Well, you may be surprised to know that many of the most successful B2B marketing campaigns can be novel, exciting, intriguing, and even fun.
Some B2B campaigns, on the other hand, use a spartan, non-threatening approach.
A successful B2B marketing campaign needs to be based on content that grabs a prospect’s interest, is quickly digestible and then provides an instant means of engagement that seems innocuous.
One thing you’ll notice about successful B2B marketing is that it’s actually, on the face of it, not that much different from B2C (business-to-consumer) marketing. We’re all consumers. We are all inundated with marketing information.
If you want to get the attention of a decision maker at a business, you need to appeal not just to their intellect and reasoning, but to their aesthetics.
The difference comes in the message, of course. With B2C marketing, the message is, essentially, “buy our stuff and you’ll live a happier life.” B2B, on the other hand, is about problem-solving. A great B2B marketing campaign takes the problem and presents it in an appealing manner.
Without further ado, here are a few examples of successful B2B marketing campaigns. We've purposefully chosen very simple campaigns to prove a point, we’re using as examples five companies with which we, ourselves, do business. They must be doing something right.
We've also chosen some of the more spartan pieces to show that you don't need a Madison Avenue budget to create successful B2B campaigns.
Asana makes productivity easy
Asana is the project management platform that we use here at Creative Propulsion Labs. Asana runs in the cloud allowing employees to access it from anywhere with an internet connection.
There are scores of pro add-ons available for everything from using it as a CRM to invoicing clients. Asana lets businesses add team members, create projects and tasks, assign deadlines, track progress, and a slew of other useful features. How do you get all that across without it sounding overwhelming?
Asana utilized an email marketing campaign directed at prospects who might be having trouble getting things done in a timely and organized fashion. The email is simple and elegant and poses the question, “What would you like to get done today?” The copy offers a very simple 3-step process—create a task, assign it to yourself, and mark it as complete when you’re finished.
Essentially, this strategy takes a big, hairy, incredibly robust system and makes it seem so user-friendly and simple to use that a child could manage it. Asana could have used a bunch of buzzwords and industry jargon to explain it all, but that’s the kind of content that gets an audience to glaze over and move on. This is a great example of inviting someone to engage simply and instantly.
Slack entertains and informs with video marketing
Slack is a messenger app that we use to keep our teams instantly and constantly connected. How many messaging apps are out there? It’s a crowded market, to say the least.
Slack allows businesses to set up teams and topics so that teams can retain an organized string of information, making it quick and easy for everyone to see what’s going on with the project and to find information quickly. The user experience is actually fun and lighthearted.
Even the name is lighthearted. Who would think of calling a productivity tool, “Slack?”
Slack positions itself as a communication tool for businesses which is fun to use, but also quite powerful, replacing email, text messaging, phone calls, file storage, and even meetings. What better way to communicate this than a video?
Slack’s video marketers, a company called Sandwich Video, came up with a campaign called, “So Yeah, We Tried Slack…” Right away, the video sucks the viewer in by showing a disconnect that we all experience.
The video’s narrative is about Sandwich Video, which just happens to be one a Slack’s customers. “So Yeah, We Tried Slack…” not only presents a case study, it acts as a testimonial.
The video is lighthearted and fun to watch. Jokes about the dialog in the video are used to call attention to Slacks’ features in an almost “mockumentary” style. It’s very clever. Case studies are a powerful tool. Presenting them in a fun and engaging way—priceless.
Dropbox gives its dropouts a nudge
Dropbox is a cloud file storage and sharing app. It lets teams share documents internally as well as letting them share files with clients. Again, a crowded field. It’s also a field with a lot of churn and dropoff.
So what do you do when you’ve got millions of tire kickers out there that just need a gentle reminder to come back? You give them a soft nudge.
This campaign by Dropbox is similar in nature to the one mentioned above that was implemented by Asana. It uses a very simple and friendly graphic that lets viewers instantly understand the message it’s trying to convey. It’s focused on folks who signed up for the service but then abandoned it.
The message implies that the abandoned dropbox is lonely and is missing its owner. It then gives a few very simply worded reminders of what the app does and provides a link to a quick refresher tour.
Dropbox could have elaborated on all its benefits, done a competitive differentiation, repositioned its competitors, but it chose this simple and friendly campaign instead.
LinkedIn provides value without over-providing “TMI”
Everyone who’s anyone in business knows about LinkedIn. It’s the Facebook of business. Although LinkedIn is free to use, the company offers a variety of paid, premium features. How to go about upselling to the free users?
In a survey by Software Advice, 80% of marketers rated “Live Demo’s with Sales Reps” as the most effective way to generate high-quality leads.
In this simple but brilliant campaign, Linkedin used an email to invite users to a live demo in order to upsell their Sales Solutions program. It addresses the problem—finding knowledge and tools for successful social marketing, and it has a clear and simple call to action—schedule a demo.
It also includes a photo of the person writing the email, presumably the person you’ll be dealing with. This personal touch is extremely underutilized. People don’t want to do business with faceless, nameless businesses, they want to do business with people. And Linkedin is all about people. It’s an effective campaign.
Shopify educates to upsell
Shopify is the most popular e-commerce platform on the web. It provides online retailers with all the tools they need to open an online shop at a highly competitive price point.
This webinar announcement from Shopify invites readers to attend a class on how to leverage social proof. (We’ll get into that in another article.) Webinars are a dime a dozen these days, but Shopify does a great job of making this seem easy and valuable.
The design of this piece is such that it can be used in an email, as a landing page, or as social media content with a few tweaks. It’s got a few different calls to action, including an RSVP-like “Yes/No” button as opposed to just another sign-up button.
It’s got a clear and powerful headline that solves a problem users didn’t even know they had. Shopify could have added a lot more information about the webinar, but that often causes people to put a B2B marketer’s message aside until they have more time to look it over—often never coming back.
Wrapping it up
In summary, to create successful B2B marketing campaigns: identify the problem, find a user-friendly way to frame the solution, make it lighthearted and unimposing, and make it quick and easy to engage. You should see a good return on your B2B marketing investment.
If you’re looking for a sharp, capable team to help your company with your B2B marketing, we’d be happy to discuss with you our most successful strategies. Give us a call at (786) 360-1669.
You might also be interested in: B2B vs. B2C Marketing Strategies