Business-to-business (B2B) marketing is boring, analytical, and hopelessly left-brained. That’s been the conventional thinking in the advertising world for years. If you’re mostly analytical and methodical in your thinking, you’re said to be left-brained. If you tend to be more creative or artistic, you’re thought to be right-brained. Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee disagrees. That’s why he signed on with his wife Brittany Furlan to pitch email marketing services for Cheetah Digital, the largest independent enterprise marketing technology company in the world.
According to The Drum, B2B marketing is becoming increasingly indistinguishable from consumer marketing. It is a trend that’s accelerated during the pandemic and will most likely continue for the long term, according to industry experts.
“B2B marketing as we know it is dead,” says Carla Piñeyro Sublett, the chief marketing officer of NI, the aforementioned equipment testing company that used to go by National Instruments. “If we continue to run the same plays in B2B, filling inboxes with unopened emails and throwing up banner ads, we are only contributing to a go-to-market strategy that is noisy, flooded, and at-risk in terms of its ability to make an impact. We must instead take a page from consumer brands, going a level deeper and taking the time to think about how we can develop a meaningful relationship at the right level with our customers as people.”
Joe Rivas, global chief exec of Doremus, the Omnicom B2B agency, adds, “The worlds of B2B and B2C have been on a collision course for some time now. B2B brands must respond by upping their game in terms of content that is genuinely useful, relevant and culturally significant if they expect to engage the multitasking business leaders of today.”
The Drum article goes on to offer 4 B2B solutions to embrace right now:
1. Resist the temptation to go left-brain.
There has been a clear shift from boring, methodical, and rational to entertaining, engaging, and emotional, per industry leaders.
2. Don’t be afraid to play for laughs.
B2B ads with humor or established brand characters scored even higher in 2020 than they had in previous years, per research from the B2B Institute at LinkedIn.
3. Dial-up the user experience (UX) or else.
The expectations set in the consumer world for high-quality, frictionless digital consumer experience (CX) have had a significant impact on B2B marketing.
4. Feel good about leveraging empathy,
Marketing that dials up human relevance and emotion has scored well for B2B brands—and will likely continue to do.
Right-brained or left-brained makes no difference. People are people. There’s no magic switch that allows us to turn on and off our work brains. Great creative sells in any industry. Yes, B2B marketing can be funny, provocative, attention-grabbing and even feature a legendary bad boy drummer. That’s the furthest thing from boring as far as I’m concerned.