Creative marketing means being innovative. Here are some creative B2B marketing strategies to try in 2023.
Are you tired of using old-school and formal approaches to B2B marketing that aren’t getting results? Businesses don’t buy impulsively, so you need to shake things up to excite decision-makers and make them stop and think.
To do that, try using different content formats, providing valuable resources to the audience, and educating prospects. Showing respect, understanding customer needs, and injecting humor are critical to successful creative B2B marketing. Read on for the creative marketing lowdown.
Why is Creative B2B Marketing Important?
Make your business-to-business marketing as playful as your B2C marketing. Both involve communicating with people, so creative marketing is all about coming up with original and memorable ways to attract the attention and interest of customers.
Creative marketing should present your brand identity, understand customer needs, and connect with their emotions. But why is it important?
- Creativity Means Innovation
Creativity is all about brainstorming, devising outside-the-box solutions, and keeping an open mind. If that’s not the ideal environment for innovation, what is? Marketers are a fountain of new and inventive ideas, suggestions, and discoveries, some of which may positively impact other teams.
- Creativity Drives Brand Awareness
Businesses are more likely to buy your product if your brand is instantly recognizable – via your name, logo, or slogan. Enter creative B2B marketing, eliciting an emotional response that makes your brand stand out from the competition.
- Creative Doesn’t Mean Expensive
Contrary to what you may think, creative marketing ideas can be cost-effective. According to McKinsey’s Award Creativity Score (ACS), it’s possible to turn creativity into business value and growth. Indeed, companies with ACS scores in the top quartile outperformed their peers across three core financial metrics:
- 67% experienced above-average organic revenue growth
- 70% passed on an above-average total return to their shareholders
- 74% posted above-average net enterprise value
On the other hand, organizations at the lower end of the ACS were far less likely to have above-average financials.
What are the Challenges of Creative B2B Marketing?
Before we dive into our creative marketing ideas, let’s briefly delve into some of the difficulties associated with creative marketing:
- Creativity needs data. To be confident with the direction of your B2B marketing, you need to know your customers – their likes, dislikes, needs, and desires. That requires gathering info via A/B testing, surveys, and quizzes.
- Creativity has boundaries. As such, you need to know where to draw the line regarding humor. The last thing you want to do is offend or upset potential customers.
- Creativity takes time. Top ideas don’t just fall into your lap; they take thought. That’s where the data collection mentioned above comes into play, alongside studying competitors’ marketing campaigns.
6 Creative B2B Marketing Strategies to Try in 2023
We’ve dug into why creative marketing is essential and some challenges you may face, but what about specific creative marketing ideas? Read on for six top innovative B2B marketing strategies
1. Marketing Collaborations
This is a top-notch example of “creative doesn’t mean expensive.” Collabs are a simple and cost-effective method that works. Here are some examples of how to creatively collaborate with others to boost your marketing.
Host a podcast
Hosting a podcast can help you share industry knowledge, let listeners in on secrets, and invite other companies for interviews. Never ask direct competitors, but at the same time, there should be some form of connection between the two businesses. Both you and your guest reap the benefits of organic advertising, and the people who tune in become aware of your brand and products (if they aren’t already), learn a handful of valuable insights, and may well recommend you and your podcast to others. Moreover, because podcasts are recorded and distributed through multiple digital platforms, they’re available for current and future listeners, meaning they’re a powerful source of evergreen content.
Team up with another company to hold an event
On the slightly costlier end of the scale (particularly if you choose in-person rather than virtual), this involves networking and mingling with fellow industry people, helping you share information about your business, get to know and grow your audience, and acquire clients.
2. Social Media Marketing
As users continue to soar, social media marketing is gaining traction, not just as a B2C tool. In B2B marketing, concentrate on posting informative, insightful, and relevant content.
3. Photo & Video Contests
Photo and video marketing are uber-valuable tools in your arsenal – simple ways to gain user-generated content. Ask users to pose with your products, take a snap or a video, and then post.
For example, let’s say you’re a software company. Ask customers to take a picture of their workspace with your software visible on the computer screen, and upload it. When your target audience sees those posts, they feel a personal and emotional connection, and brand awareness increases. In short, you attract interest and generate leads. Customers probably won’t bother entering a video or photo competition if the prize isn’t worth it.
4. Content Gamification
You may think this is a B2C tool, correct? Indeed, inbound marketing often uses interactive content and customer engagement through games. After all, business owners don’t have time to play. But that shouldn’t be the case; there’s always time for fun.
For instance, try integrating a brief multiple-choice quiz for customers to find out which product or service package they need – a more straightforward and entertaining method than comparing tables with features.
5. Brand Storytelling
This involves connecting with customers by showing them your company values and the emotions behind the brand. You can:
- Create videos promoting your product or service, how it’s helped them, and why they’d recommend it.
- Make a “day in the life” series where each post focuses on a different employee and their work. Don’t just ask the C-suite; give all staff the opportunity.
- Post stories, news, videos, and photos about your brand to connect with people on a personal level.
6. Free Checklists & Templates
By offering checklists, templates, and other useful content like e-books and how-to videos for nada, you let your customers know that helping them get ahead is essential to you. This form of creative marketing can also lead to potential customers joining your mailing list or subscribing to your newsletter if they like the content you share.
Free yet valuable resources give off a positive vibe, helping you stick in people’s minds and encouraging them to share what they know about you and your product with other businesses.
How to Successfully Implement Your Creative B2B Marketing Strategy
So, you’re all set with these six creative marketing strategies, but what comes next?
1. Measure Your Creative Marketing Efforts
Measuring your creative marketing efforts requires key performance indicators (KPIs), such as:
- Revenue. Obvious but undeniable.
- Conversions. The higher the rate, the more effective your creative marketing idea is.
- Social media reach. This measures clicks, likes, subscribers, plus more.
- Client engagement. This goes hand in hand with social media reach and includes shares, likes, and comments.
- Website visits. Useful if your creative B2B marketing involves your website.
- Organic search traffic. How many people search specifically for your creative marketing campaign? Getting closer to #1 reaps you more benefits from the Internet, and tracking your keyword rankings is the way to measure your progress.
- Listings reach. How many calls, website clicks, or direction requests are you getting from your local listings?
If one area isn’t working as well as you hoped, consider tweaking your approach or focus your creative B2B marketing energy elsewhere.
2. Use Creative B2B Marketing Examples for Inspiration
An array of B2B businesses have launched successful creative marketing campaigns. Here’s a handful:
- IBM: Every Second Counts. An immersive storytelling experience that uses real-life situations to explain why a cyberattack recovery plan is crucial for all businesses.
- Slack’s mockumentary. A funny, tongue-in-cheek video from an actual client (Sandwich), adding legitimacy to the campaign.
- Monday.com’s explainer video. This quick and straightforward video is visually attractive and demonstrates how Monday.com helps businesses.
3. Get Creative With Your Marketing Strategy
An emotional connection is just as crucial with B2B marketing as B2C, but given organizations don’t buy impulsively, you’ve got to try even harder with your creative marketing efforts.
Creativity equals innovation, and it drives brand awareness. Even better, it doesn’t have to break the bank. There’s a lot to consider, from collaborations, brand storytelling, and social media marketing to video contests, gamification, and free resources.
Guest Author: Romana Hoekstra
Romana Hoekstra is a Content Marketing Lead at Leadfeeder, a B2B visitor identification software that tracks and identifies companies that visit your website. Currently, she is leading the remote-first content marketing team and crafts high-performing content marketing strategies with a focus on organic growth, SEO, high-quality content production & distribution. You can connect with Romana on Linkedin.