B2B marketers have not been well known for their advertising creativity and innovation in the past 10-15 years. Yes, there are a few great examples; especially from the multi-billion dollar companies that have large advertising budgets and can afford those large agencies. However, this is certainly one area that we lag behind our consumer marketing counterparts. After all, we're marketing to engineers, software developers, CIOs, CTOs and other "left brain" people. Think "logical", "sequential", "rational" and "analytical". They won't be fooled by our flashy marketing tactics and colorful images. Right?
Well, maybe this is another area that we need to rethink as we shift into the age of digital marketing. What are some key drivers of this shift?
- The cost to create video and more advanced graphics has dropped considerably.
- We've learned that video and other graphical communication methods can be powerful in communicating complex products and solutions as well as their application to our customers' business needs. (sounds like a B2B tech environment to me)
- New technologies enable us to increase the interactivity of video, such as allowing video to respond to users' specific needs.
- In some cases use of a less professional look is actually deemed more valuable since it simplifies the messaging, increases your credibility and differentiates you from other companies.
- We can better measure the performance of digital marketing, thereby enabling us to improve our activities and assets "on the fly" as well as tracking ROI.
In fact anything that involves picture/video/animations vs. an avalanche of text is usually more valued as it’s easier to communicate. We can provide more bite-sized information enabling our cusotmers to absorb information “on the go”, it simplifies the message and it improves communication and comprehension. (e.g., doesn’t depend on pure text which quite often results in use of unfamiliar acronyms) But, don't forget all that you've learned in business school and in your years of marketing; and just as important, ensure that your digital marketing experts are privy to these learnings. (e.g., identify and understand your target segments, provide relevant and valuable content, identify key success factors, metrics and targets, etc.)
Here are a few examples that you may find of interest.
- Eloqua's interactive video: Some quick stats: “Starters”(those who answer the first question) spend an average of 3 min. 45 seconds interacting with the conversation; those who become leads reach up to 6 min.; 23% of “starters” reach the longest path. (Produced by Jellyvision)
- American Airlines: Capture the FlagshipSM Experience. Yes, it's more of a B-to-C example, but a great example of leveraging graphics to communicate an experience. Check out the First Class section.
- Google Docs in Plain English: A simple presentation of how to use Google Docs to create and share online documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Over 1.6 million views on YouTube.
- CRM Online Workbook created by IDC's Go-to-Market Services team for SAP: Designed to help companies evaluate and improve effectiveness of customer life cycle processes across sales, marketing and services (demand generation) Use of independent parties, such as industry analysts and end user interviews helped build credibility.
Have you seen some examples either by your company or others? Feel free to provide links in the comments area below.