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Creative B2B marketing communications tools

12 March 2013

Anton Pace, Client Services Director at London-based marketing communications agency, Clinic, is of the opinion that B2B marketing communications don't have to be dull- and that B2B marketers like things to be pretty too.

Here he puts together a list of effective B2B marketing comms tools or ‘formulae’ you might want to bear in mind when communicating with the B2B community.

(B ≠ Boring)

'B' really does not have to stand for ‘Boring’. I can’t see the ‘B2B’ acronym on a brief without mentally adding a word before it and translating it as “(Don’t) Be Too Boring”. Make your B2B marketing communications interesting and fun, even if the subject matter proves a challenge.

(B = Bright)

When I’m in work mode, the more things that brighten my day the better. Choose a strategy, theme and design that encourage positive communication and doesn't make your audience feel blue. In fact, many B2B marketing agencies favour the colour blue, but unless it’s one of your core brand colours, you might want to try to avoid it altogether!

(B ≠ Buzzwords)

Avoid using marketing industry buzzwords in your B2B communications, even if you think that using them will show that you ‘speak the same language’ as your audience. A large percentage of your B2B audience probably don’t use those buzzwords, so why alienate any of them by using language they don’t like, or possibly even understand?

(B = Busy)

It's likely you're trying to encourage communication with your B2B audience when they are at work, so it's probable that they're quite busy. Do tell them a story, (engage them), but do it quickly… treat the key message like a roadside billboard (you really haven’t got much more than a few seconds for your message to register).

(B ≠ Bragging)

Unless you really are ‘the best’ and can prove it, it might be best to avoid over-stating your skill… at best you’ll just get lost in the mass over-claimers, at worst someone will find you out. But don’t be shy when communicating to a B2B audience– try to provide evidence of how your product/service has positively impacted on someone’s business… And remember that if it’s true, it’s not really ‘bragging’ at all.

(B = C)

One of our creative directors at here at marketing comms agency, Clinic regularly trots out the line that “a B is just a C at work”. I don’t know whether it’s his own line or whether he just ‘borrowed’ it, but I don’t really care, it really is the key thing to remember when developing trade brand comms materials. Any B2B audience, whatever the content/context of the message, needs to be ‘engaged’ in order to take it in - you’re unlikely to be engaging the B2B community or putting out good marketing communications if you're boring your audience to death, right?

Example of a creative B2B marketing campaign

A good example of how using these tools can lead to successful B2B marketing communication is the CBS Outdoor ‘Look for Longer’ campaign. Clinic developed and created the stunningly eye-catching and attention-grabbing (it’s not bragging if it's true!) cross-track 48-sheet posters which appeared all over the London Underground, enabling our client to reach and engage consumer and media trade audiences and demonstrate extended engagement via mobile and other digital media.

It’s definitely a B2B communication, but through using massive ‘consumer’ engagement to prove the science of the ‘business’ product/service, it’s selling too. And look at the interest it generated: www.youtube.com/watch?v=RdfafZihRUM
Clinic is an independent, full service creative agency based in Farringdon, London EC1, developing and producing consumer and trade brand communications for clients including Barclays Bank, Network Rail, Arsenal FC, Madame Tussauds and CBS Outdoor.
Danielle Stagg

Written by Danielle Stagg