It’s the final day of INBOUND22 and the convention centre is abuzz as attendees eagerly anticipate the grand finale later today, by none other than former US President, Barack Obama.
But, before then there are many introspective talks by some of the world’s most influential marketers and business people.
Live from the main stage, Senior Director of Global Brand Marketing and Social at HubSpot, Amy Marino, and Director of Global Agency and Partner Marketing at LinkedIn, Tusar Barik, discuss the power of creativity within B2B marketing.
The B2B Marketing Issue
Okay, let’s be honest – B2B marketing isn’t exactly known for its eccentricity or creativity. When compared to its B2C counterpart, B2B is often the quiet, reserved and socially awkward sibling who dares not do anything that would draw people’s attention.
…and that’s fine, for people. (Hell, I even went through that socially awkward stage myself) But when it comes to marketing, playing it safe rarely results in next-level success.
So why are we so afraid to get more creative with our B2B marketing? & does infusing creativity to build brand identity and emotional connections mean you have to sacrifice business results?
Today, Amy Marino gives us the rare chance to peel back the curtain on HubSpot’s own brand marketing, whilst Tusar Barik shares with us how LinkedIn is changing the way they view B2B marketing and infusing it with as much creativity as its B2C equivalent.
The Rational Over The Emotional
Amy leads the teams responsible for making HubSpot the relentlessly relevant CRM platform for scaling businesses. Her team launched HubSpot’s first-ever global brand campaign this year. From brand development to social media, they’re the heart of the HubSpot brand.
To begin with, Amy states that brand is a set of attributes, both rational and emotional – so why do we focus overly on the rational in B2B?
Tusar explains that B2B is sometimes too caught up in features and not about the problem-solving or emotional effects. Coca-Cola doesn’t cite how brown and sugary they are, they leverage the emotional effect when drinking it.
Being able to create an emotional connection with your audience is one of the most powerful connections we can create. In this crisis of disconnection, more than ever, it’s essential that businesses and brands use their marketing to foster this sort of connection.
80% of your purchasing process is done without even talking with someone at the business. Brand is the first touchpoint and impression – so why aren’t we becoming more memorable?
Brand Or Demand?
Businesses face the issue of focusing on brand or demand when it they plan their annual budget. If you have limited resources, should you put it towards branding or something more tangible to help meet business demands?
Amy distinguishes that we are looking at this statement the wrong way. Rather than choosing between brand and demand, focus on gearing your branding to increase demand.
Whether you’re a small or large business, it’s never the wrong time to invest in your brand. From a small start-up to something monolithic like LinkedIn, Tusar explains branding should come earlier rather than later.
Branding is one of your businesses most important tools, respect it.
How HubSpot Looks At Creative
Whether it’s display, video or simply a banner, HubSpot has very clear target measureables for every piece of branding they put out.
HubSpot break down its marketing into four key objectives: Clear, Persuasive, Engaging & Actionable
Clear – Ask yourself: Would my mum understand this?
Persuasive – Think about your audience after interacting with your brand: Do they know why this brand/product is better?
Engaging – What’s the physical and emotional response: Does it give me goosebumps or giggles?
Actionable – Are there clear next steps for your audience? Do they know where they can go from here?
If your branding fails to answer any of these questions, it’s not working as hard for your brand identity as it possibly could.
A B2B purchase is often one of the most emotional purchases we can make. The stakes are often higher, with your reputation or success potentially being on the line.
So why are we so afraid to lean on the emotional side of marketing for our B2B products and services?
HubSpot goes on to show us some of the TV Campaigns they have recently carried out, in order to reach a wider audience, by creating compelling and memorable content.
The Key Takeaways
Make Big Bets – This means aiming higher than seems possible at first glance. For HubSpot, this was going down the linear TV route, which up until now had seemed inaccessible
Remember B2B Decision Makers Are Human – We all have emotions. So stop marketing to robots, and market to humans
Forge An Emotional Connection – Use your branding and marketing to develop a lasting emotional connection with your audience
Recognise Great Creative #B2Brilliant – LinkedIn’s latest initiative, to help B2B businesses become more creative and think outside the box for their marketing.
Another great session down, it’s clear that it’s time to rethink how we are marketing B2B products and services. The narrative I’m hearing at INBOUND22 is one of emotional disconnect, with a growing need for us to forge connection with our audiences.