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Marketers: Are You Going to Accept B2B Boring?

by Jennifer Beever on August 2, 2013

B2B BoringRecently a few comments from different sources converged about how B2B marketing is boring. I believe it doesn’t have to be. It’s up to us B2B marketers to lead the way to un-boring B2B campaigns.

The number one key to un-boring B2B campaigns is thoroughly understanding the target audience. Who are your customers? I’m not talking demographics (age, income, education, etc.) or merely psychographics (attitudes, behaviors) here. You need to know your customers’ persona(s). What is their story? What really floats their boat? What is so unique about them that if you speak to that uniqueness they will say, “Wow, that company really gets me!”

A great example of understanding and speaking to customers is a regional insurance company called Pemco. Pemco listened to customers and learned who they are. They created a unique positioning statement that fits their regional Northwestern customers, with the tagline, “We’re a lot like you. A little different.” On their website they have a “Helpful Guide to the People of the Northwest,” that allows visitors to create their own profiles and watch videos for the various personas, such as the Flawless Firewood Stacker (watch the video below), the Relentless Recycler, or the 4-Way Stop, You Go. No You Go. No You Go. Guy. Hilarious!

It’s true there is a lot of boring in B2B marketing. But, it doesn’t have to be so! I was surprised at how much has already been written about this. Lee Odden of TopRank Online Marketing wrote the B2B Marketing Innovation eBook: We Can Do It!, with Marketing Profs. The book has some great ideas, including:

  • #1 “Solutions” are boring (Ann Handley)
  • #2 Create engaging content (Michael Brenner)
  • #5 Be first and fail (Rob Yoegel)
  • #9 Borrow from B2C (Roberta Rosenberg)
  • #14 Create a theme (Paul Gillen)
  • #26 Tell stories (Tim Washer)

Lee Odden also wrote this post, 11 Examples of Killer B2B Content Marketing Campaigns Including ROI, which has some good B2B examples.

If we need to borrow ideas from B2C marketers (Roberta Rosenberg’s innovation tip #9 above), so be it! There are tons of great B2C examples out there. Check out 3 ‘boring’ product brands with compelling content, by Wendy Parish at Marketing Dive, that mentions Progressive Insurance’s “Flo” campaign, Sharpie’s creative “Grab a Sharpie & Start Something” drawing campaign on Instagram and Dollar Shave Club’s edgy messaging to consumers. Add to that an article about HelloFlo, a new startup with a very real and empowering video message for girls, and the Fast Company article about Bolthouse Farms‘ Eat ‘Em Like Junk Food campaign.

So, let’s strive for the unboring in B2B marketing. We have a unique gift, in that content marketing now gives us permission to move away from static whitepapers, Powerpoints, factual articles about our solutions, and other traditional marketing tactics and expectations about how B2B marketing is to be done. Are you done with boring?

If you want to drive un-boring B2B marketing at your business, contact New Incite today. We provide strategic marketing consulting and tactical marketing execution for companies that want to grow faster.

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