b2b marketing

Guess what folks? I’M BACK! After a brief hiatus, the man with questionable grammar and curiously conversational writing style has returned.

I was stunned by a terrible commercial the other night. I couldn’t wrap my head around it and for the life of me I couldn’t tell you what they were selling or identify the company (even after extensive Googling).  It fell into the realm of “weirdvertising” which is my made-up word for an ad where the content has nothing to do with the product whatsoever or just makes you pay attention with its sheer oddity. This… ‘thing’ got me pondering the good and bad in commercials or ad campaigns.

Examples that work:

Caterpillar – “Built for it Trials” Campaign.

I freaking love this campaign. Tons of fun and shows off the products extremely well. It also features some great outreach from Caterpillar as well as many of their other projects.

Lenovo and their “Users Happen” Campaign.

Through creative use of their existing personas, they came up with a campaign that is humorous and also speaks directly to pretty much anyone, at any office, anywhere. Brilliant.

Examples that didn’t work:

The negative is a bit tougher to find because most B2B brands don’t market at the scale of B2C brands (or they are much better at covering up their blunders). I did find some dual B2B/B2C examples to share.

Microsoft – “O M G I G P” or “Oh My God I’m Gonna Puke” Campaign

Seriously bad stuff. I am not sure how a big tech brand like Microsoft can be quite so bad but the commercial though attempting to be humorous (and truthfully I chuckled) was disgusting, and I completely missed the point of the ad.

IBM and the “Hack a Hair Dryer” Campaign

With the best intentions come some truly terrible ideas.  To get more woman interested in STEM fields, IBM decided that “hack a hair dryer” would be a clever way to do this.  It backfired with “hack a vacuum” and “hack your pots and pans” and ended up coming off as pretty darn sexist.

The B2B marketing landscape is changing rapidly, moreso than in the past.  With easier access to more people than ever online, digital advertising is becoming the better bet for impact with less investment. Many brands will be trying to change how they approach customers and how they market without marketing. But the future is going to be a fun to watch time!

Some predictions:

Laughter is one of the best ways to market and we will see some brands starting to take themselves maybe a little bit less seriously over the next year or so.  For example:

  • Video is going to take a more central role in the content marketing world (duh it already has) but micro videos even more so.
  • With the success of Chewbacca Mom, we will see many brands trying to manipulate the micro videos into real marketable moments.

I’ve picked these ideas up mainly through observation and was wondering if others thought the same way…. I was very behind the times. A ton of people seem to think so as well and below are a couple examples of other sources that believe this is kind of where digital advertising/marketing is headed.

http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/twitter-best-brands#sm.00132pku814o3d32sgy27tx71u9jp

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/what-best-brands-do-2016-andreas-von-der-heydt (videos)

https://www.marketingweek.com/2016/02/04/google-mini-and-kia-share-the-secrets-to-super-bowl-success/

Did I miss a campaign that you thought was awesome or one that was just downright terrible? I would love to see it, post in the comments so we can discuss it!

2 comments

  1. Hi Max – I loved the Lenovo example; thanks! (It really shows how much you can fit into a minute without ever seeming rushed in your delivery.) The CAT one is a great idea, but took a while to get going.

    I thought your analysis of the near-misses were on the money, too.

    A couple more for you:

    This Sophos “Future Self” ad (https://youtu.be/HSa42ZkJZKg) made me REALLY want to buy their stuff, though the other versions of the campaign all do the same thing, which gets tired quite quickly.

    …and of course Adobe’s “Mean Streets” campaign (https://youtu.be/1L_h5Mv52Ug) is rightly considered a classic: it delivers the key point, with style, in 66 seconds flat.

    1. Wow! Two awesome examples. I really liked the “mean streets” campaign it definitely puts it into perspective how digital and content marketing can feel sometimes. Very well done. The CAT Jenga one is my personal favorite but they did a whole series featuring their products (CAT Jenga https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWc8dUl7Xfo) Thank you for sharing!

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