5 Inspiring B2B Campaigns You Can Learn From
Many B2B marketing campaigns have attempted to appeal to corporate buyers’ logic, but fail to speak to their emotions. Hence the stereotype around B2B marketing campaigns.
With the evolution of the B2B marketing, marketers have made bold steps in making their field more creative and interactive. They have distanced themselves from the historical stereotype by creating campaigns that are emotional, personal, innovative, and daring.
Marketers have come to understand that the people in charge of B2B buying decisions are still people. They are driven by similar motivations as B2C clients; they react to marketing that is personalized and appeals to their emotions. They are easily engaged by a well-told story wrapped in a powerful campaign that is executed with good visuals and copy.
Here are five of the most inspiring B2B campaigns in recent years that appealed to B2B buyers’ emotions, and succeeded in their goals. The learnings from each of them can fuel your own efforts to craft effective messages in the right form with the right medium.
'Beautiful Medicine' by Novartis: A Story in a Website
Rather than presenting technical aspects about the role of nature in medicine, Novartis crafted a story-based website that presents a digital exhibition focused on the history and methods of natural medicine. The website immerses the viewer in an interactive storytelling journey. It boasts powerful visuals, well-written copy, and embedded creative videos.
The beautiful and authentic storytelling is complemented by a Pinterest profile and campaigns dedicated to natural medicine. The design and feel of Beautiful Medicine is similar to the main Novartis website. There is no direct sales pitching in the messaging. Instead, Novartis uses subtle visual similarities and style to show that the project belongs to the brand.
'Social Media Campaigns' by Maersk Line: Using B2C Methods
Maersk Line is the largest company in the world that provides container shipping.
Crafting engaging marketing messages on such a technical topic is a difficult task, but Maersk Line managed to convey its message in an enticing and digestible format by adopting B2C methods for B2B marketing campaigns. This is a strong example of how to successfully present a somewhat dry subject in exciting ways.
The brand decided to go along an innovative path by crafting powerful social media campaigns on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. They took it a step further by experimenting with additional channels, including YouTube, Flickr and Tumblr. The results were impressive: Maersk Line managed to successfully boost its brand image and get closer to customers through the immediate communication style of social media.
The reason for its success is that its strategists understood that social media is about engaging people, and not pushing marketing messages. They experimented with several channels and adjusted their content and messaging to fit the style and requirements of each. For example, the brand engages in more serious discussions on LinkedIn, but runs user-generated content campaigns on Twitter and Instagram.
'Thought Leadership' by Logicalis: Content Marketing
Logicalis is an IT solutions company that offers cloud, communication and data services. While its field of operations is rather technical, it took an innovative approach to communicating its offer.
In an effort to differentiate its brand, Logicalis crafted a multi-channel content marketing campaign that focused on establishing brand executives as thought leaders in their space. Localis executed this vision by creating a microsite that contained information about the technology it wanted to promote in a compelling and thought-provoking manner.
Logicalis sent a series of targeted emails to about 2,000 prospects and existing customers to attract visitors to this microsite. The emails advertised a free e-book that was gated, which enabled the collection of contacts for even more potential leads. The brand achieved clear results: $8 million in revenue with a 12-week campaign.
'Deception Force' by Juniper Networks: Gamification
Juniper Networks is a technology company that offers hardware and software products for networking. It wanted to bring more attention to its data center security software. While the topic isn’t particularly compelling, the brand managed to tell an enticing story by employing innovative marketing tactics.
Juniper took an unorthodox approach by using gamification instead of advertising messages to reach its audience, namely IT specialists in target companies. To educate and inform its target audience, Juniper created Deception Force, a game where the IT experts are the heroes who fight off Trojans and DDoS attacks.
Throughout the game, players were subtly exposed to the concepts behind Juniper’s products. The digital campaign was complemented with a game franchise and a landing page. Gamers could also create a selfie as the hero in the game and share it on social media. Within three months of its launch in February 2014, the game was downloaded 15,000 times on mobile devices. The YouTube trailer got 9,000 views in the same period.
'New Kinexions' by Kinaxis: TV Series Style
Kinaxis is a provider of cloud-based supply chain solutions – another tough solution to market. Its campaign New Kinexions, however, managed to share its complex story with key prospects using innovative marketing.
Kinaxis’s approach to marketing its supply chain solutions involved creating a TV series that was shared via its video channel on YouTube. The resulting six-part comedy series likens choosing a supply chain solution to dating. Тhe brand illustrates in an entertaining and light way why it is so important to choose the right supply chain partner - both in life and in supply chain management. It succeeds to communicate this message by comparing a new, low-maintenance girlfriend, Kinaxis, to a high maintenance ex-girlfriend, symbolizing an old supply chain partner.
The first video from the series received more than 16,000 views on YouTube, and the other five episodes had similar traction. The videos are humorous, differentiating them from a regular video ad. They illustrate how important the main value propositions of Kinaxis are: simplicity, flexibility, quick deployment, easy upgrades, collaboration and rapid results. Each topic is demonstrated in a separate episode.
Start Crafting Your Successful B2B Campaign
The five examples of powerful B2B campaigns illustrate that corporate marketing can be fun, innovative, and engaging. These successful campaigns use storytelling, thought leadership, and gamification to reach the brands’ audiences in more immediate ways. Some of them employ B2C tactics, while others embrace a different medium like video series.
This diversity of approaches shows that there is no reason to limit your marketing efforts: experimenting boldly is key. What’s your preferred way to craft an influential B2B campaign? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!
For the last 10 years I have been running a full service digital marketing agency, inSegment, an INC 5000 company serving premier clients and achieving awesome results. I am always working on startup ideas, serving on advisory boards and writing. I am married and the proud father of two talented daughters.