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Trends and Insight

Five B2B Creative Rules You Have to Break, if You Want Your Campaign to Break Through

From profitability to effectiveness, the B2B segment is ripping up the advertising rule book. However, if it is to continue this growth, it has to do away with its own rulebook too, writes Nick Watmough, creative director at The Croc

Five B2B Creative Rules You Have to Break, if You Want Your Campaign to Break Through

The only segment of the advertising industry to have seen consistent and impressive growth in the past 18 months is B2B. A recent study from Grand View Research showed that the global B2B market was worth 4.8 Trillion pounds in 2020, while some agencies posted growth of anywhere near as high as 30%+ year-on-year during the pandemic. Compare that to the horror stories in the big networks. 

Amazing really, considering the work is so consistently poor. Much of what passes for B2B ‘creative’ these days personifies the vanilla, functional approach that has historically defined the industry. Businessman in white shirts staring out the window with a simmering grimace, I’m looking at you.

So, to better align the sector’s creativity with its profitability and growth, here are the established B2B rules you must break, if you want your campaign to break through. 

1. Industry jargon ensures relevance to the target audience

You know those three-hour status calls packed with meaningless acronyms you can’t stand? Well, here’s a secret, neither can anybody else. Speaking in industry jargon doesn’t make you seem informed, it makes you tedious. Give your audience the respect they deserve and talk to them like humans. 

2. Show the product within the first five seconds

When I clock off for the day, I don’t spend my time browsing the aesthetics of ceramic WiFi Access Points, or diving deep into the various degrees of network encryption. Strangely, I don’t think I’m alone in that. As B2B marketers, our job is to pique our target audience’s interest and build a compelling case for our client’s products, not assume they’re already interested, because they’re not. 

3. Be informative, not entertaining

There’s a myth in B2B that if you want to be taken seriously, you have to be serious. More likely, you will just be ignored. If dry, functional messaging doesn’t get people excited when they’re not at work, why would that suddenly change the minute they clock on? There is honestly no reason why a B2B enterprise should behave any differently to a B2C one. 

4. Only Hire People From B2B Backgrounds

One reason B2B often feels samey, is because it’s always the same people making it. If we want to create a fresh approach to B2B, that has to come from a fresh perspective. Diversity is crucial at The Croc and our multidisciplinary creative team brings experience far beyond the myopic world of enterprise marketing. 

5. Tell facts not stories

It’s been proven time and time again that humans receive information best when it comes in the form of stories. And yes, this also includes people who’ve completed an MBA. In order to engage an enterprise audience, we need to part from commodity-messaging – faster, cheaper, better etc. –  and put our audience front and centre of the stories we tell.

Not to blow my own trumpet, but The Croc’s recent integrated B2B campaign for Sohonet, Realise Your Vision, is a prime example of all of these factors in action. When lockdowns hit across the globe, we saw an opportunity to expand the audience for Sohonet’s remote production solution, ClearView. Eschewing the uninspired and rational approach of Sohonet’s competitors, we created a visceral, richly cinematic campaign that elegantly encapsulated the world of narrative cinema, showing filmmakers how the software helped them stay true to the soul of their project, even when working remotely.

Outperforming the previous campaign by 250%, securing a 73% increase in average order size, and even scooping four shortlists at the Berlin Commercial Awards (winners announced in August), the campaign proves that a more creative approach to B2B is also a more effective one.  

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