Don’t show what you’re doing. Show why you’re doing it. (Simon Sinek)
It is never easy to stand out in a crowd, but the most common advice you will hear is to be different. Proving that to your target audience poses another challenge. Many businesses do this by highlighting different features, discounts, improvements on their product etc. By doing this, the focus is shifted entirely to what they can offer. When you try to turn this into a marketing message, it will hardly be met with a positive response, simply because it won’t be relatable enough. One question remains — how did some messages reach their target with such tremendous success? The good news is — this can be easily explained.
Some of the most well-known B2B marketing campaigns owe their success to taking a few steps back and shifting their marketing focus from what they’re doing — to why they’re doing it. This results in changing the tone that is normally used when speaking to other businesses. To illustrate this, we will list some examples of inspiration B2B marketing campaigns that have caught our eye and broken the corporate marketing stereotype.
Slack is a business communication platform that joins various useful features such as chat rooms organized by topics, file uploading etc, which effectively enhances communication at work. In other words — their target audience is companies, which would normally entail a more formal tone of expression followed with the appropriate suit-and-tie visuals. Slack, however, tried a different approach:
In their campaign, Slack added a childish, whimsical twist that, in fact, targeted each employee and illustrated how each and every one of them wanted to feel. Through this campaign, Slack explained to their entire audience that the reason behind the development of their platform was their wish for all of Slack’s users to feel relieved and simply magical. Today, Slack has over 10+ million daily active users.
Upwork is a platform that connects businesses of all sizes to freelancers, independent professionals, and agencies suited for their needs. Upwork launched a short video campaign titled “Hey World”, offering its wide range of services in a rather unique tone, followed by colorful and dynamic visuals, which was rather atypical for a B2B campaign. What makes this marketing strategy even more brilliant is the informal tone used in the very videos, each of them addressing either a celebrity or a famous business/institution, which inevitably created buzz around the campaign. You can watch all of the videos on the link here: https://bit.ly/3nSRTFs
The video we chose is called “Hey Nasa”, the narrator saying: Hey NASA, it’s Upwork. It’s getting kinda warm here. Need a few more engineers to put us on Mars? Upwork — whatever you need done, get it done with a freelancer.
With an informal, but also daring tone Upwork manages to address the current environmental issues as well as its services.
One of the finest examples of focusing on why instead of what is Shopify: an e-commerce platform for online stores and retail point-of-sale systems. In its campaign, Shopify highlights its purpose and uses it as the very core, and allows its potential users to already visualize their future business.
Eye-catching visuals, a friendly, familiar tone, and a direct address to someone’s ambitions and dreams resulted in a top-tier B2B marketing campaign.
As a marketing automation platform and email marketing service, Mailchimp now claims more than 20 million customers. Even though its target audience is in fact businesses, their campaign that we chose to showcase blends eye-catching and surprising visuals with witty wordplay:
Each of these striking visuals were followed by the main punchline of the campaign — Do you mean Mailchimp, the campaign adopting a playful tone, which we found rather inspiring!
5. DIB TRAVEL
Finally, we couldn’t help but showcase our new Do It Better campaign that we’re immensely proud of and that was made by following a similar idea used in the previously mentioned campaigns. As you may know, we are a business travel agency with an all-in-one online booking platform. However, in this campaign, we went back to how we want our clients to feel when using our services. Firstly, this needed to be expressed through eye-catching visuals — eventually, we opted to showcase some situations that have gone wrong, that could be humorous and relatable and then use the text to make the audience feel reassured, to offer the solution, which would be our agency’s services.
Finally, this resulted in “Do It Better — Business travel made easy, easy like Sunday morning” — because who doesn’t enjoy an easy Sunday, plus, it might even get some people humming that famous lyric on their way to work!
We hope you’ve found these campaigns as inspirational as we did. The world of marketing is surely a dynamic one, but some aspects of it, particularly in B2B marketing, seem to be regulated by strict rules and “dress codes”. The way we see it — rules are there to be broken.