The Art Of B2B Creative - Chief Marketer

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B2B MARKETINGB2B Special ReportThe Art of B2B CreativeTrends in crafting B2B content thatconnects with your target audienceSure, everyone is concerned with the bottomline and a better ROI. But if you want winningB2B marketing creative, you need to beselfless.The biggest mistake many marketersmake is positioning their creative around their needto sell, instead of theneeds and wants oftheir customers, saysBrian Maschler, chiefcreative officer, Bulldog Solutions. “Youneed to know whatyour customers aredealing with.”“Clients strugglewith the need to talka b o u t w h a t t h eydo, rather than howt h ey c a n s e r v i c ecustomers’ needs,”agrees Mar y Olivieri, senior vice president, exec creativedirector, CBD Marketing. “Sure, your features may be fantastic. But whatdoes your target audience need to hear so theyknow you care about them?”“Things can’t be creative just for the sake of beingcreative,” notes Paula Balzer, CEO, TBA Global.“We’renot doing art here. B2B creative needs to drive action.”Many B2B marketers treat all of their creative thesame through the entire process—and that isn’t asound practice, says Cyndi Greenglass, senior VP,strategic solutions, Diamond Marketing Solutions.Special Report“A lot of folks are using some sort of marketingautomation to help engagement through the funneland these systems allow us to set up trigger communications that are effective based on the actionstaken by our audience,” she says. But most systemswork off templates, for consistency sake. So, you set aseries of wireframesand simply vary thecontent within thetemplate based onthe type of communication.”T h i s c re a te s avanilla approachto all communications that can loseyour audience andseem flat. Insteadof just consideringwhat the dynamiccontent is going tobe, consider how thedynamic content isgoing to look as youmove through the communication journey, she suggests.“It’s just like dating. In the beginning of a relationship, you like to keep it fresh and interesting, thenover time you end up doing the same thing over andover again,” she says. “And maybe the relationshipstalls. You run out of things to talk about. You needto keep it fresh and interesting.”For example, when you are capturing information in a form for future qualification, your formatand message is pretty simple—get what you need,Continued on page 2The Art of B2B Creative 1

B2B MARKETINGContinued from page 1give them what they requested and move on. “Youdon’t want anything too fancy to get in the way ofthe response. But later on, when you are looking forengagement, or sharing, or other types of contentinteraction, consider how to make that messagelook more appealing,” Greenglass says. “The sameboring form capture template may discourage themfrom engaging with you further. “Boring is always a danger in B2B marketing. Afterall, in B2B, a lot of things just aren’t inherently fun, sooffering up a little sugar with the medicine can bechallenging, says Maschler. Using humor dependson your niche, he says. If you’re in healthcare, wheresomeone’s life may be on the line, it likely isn’t thetime for jokes. But if you’re marketing something liketechnology, there’s room for laughter.Humor can be scary but it’s good to be different,says Olivieri. “We encourage clients to be disruptive—it feels human to make people smile.”Of course, some people take themselves very seriously, so using comedy might not feel comfortableto them. Finding a nuanced way that works humornaturally into a campaign can make it work, she says.Firestone Building Products wanted to find a wayto show that their organization can be a good partner to architects and contractors, among other target audiences. CBD created a campaign illustrat-A CREATIVE PLANTHE ELEMENTS YOU NEED TO CREATE B2B CONTENTWITH A MEASURABLE ROIAre you creating more marketing content than everbefore? You’re not alone: According to the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs’ annual Content Marketing Benchmarks Report, 78% of the most effective B2Bmarketers are crafting more content than they did justone year ago. But less than half have a documentedcontent marketing strategy.To succeed, your content strategy should be grounded in an effort to create a personalized experience foreach customer that demonstrates measureable businessvalue. Here are three elements to keep in mind:1. Alignment: Keep content customer-centric.Content is vital to supporting meaningful engagementsacross all channels. Smart content supports the needs,challenges, and triumphs of your current and prospective customers. Before you map out a content creationinitiative, assemble a core strategy around value-basedthemes for your audience. It’s important to examine yourexisting content and ask: “Are you talking about yourproducts or is your content focused on the enablementand success of your customers?” Go for the latter! Yourcustomers should always be the centerpieces of yourcontent ideas.2. Planning & Strategy: Don’t forget the basics.A carefully planned strategy helps keep your con-Special Reporting the brand’s capabilities, with one wordexchanges betweenbuilding professiona l s a n d F i re s to n ereps such as “Whoa.”“Exactly.”“It had a little bit ofhumor but wasn’t overthe top,” says Olivieri.B2B marketers should remember that your brandvoice should be consistent, no matter what the channel. “I see a lot of marketers approaching contentas one off efforts—but one good idea for a piece ofcontent isn’t a campaign,” says Maschler.“You needto think more holistically.”Short and sweet is more the trend today, but it’sabout more than just short or long copy, he continues.“It’s about customer benefits and showing whythe customer should care [about what you have tosay], rather than patting yourself on the back.”“The types of long narratives that used to be popular just don’t work today,” says Balzer. “People nowhave attention spans that demand easily digestible sound bites.”—Beth Negus Viveiros, managingeditor, Chief Marketertent in check, so teams can maximize asset value andaudiences can see the benefit of interacting with yourcontent. Whether you’re starting from scratch or are kneedeep in planning, here are four basic questions to keepin mind when developing content: How is this relevant to my audience? Does this enable my customer’s success? What are our success metrics? How do I maximize my daily efforts?3. Measurement: Assess your marketing effectiveness.In the era of big data, marketers need to be more strategic with the information they collect and access. But it’soverwhelming to get your arms around the treasure troveof data, especially when it comes to content marketing.Marketers can best measure content marketingeffectiveness through a centralized view of the following aspects: All your content (including topics, format, keywordsand status) The volume of content you’ve created Your content productivity Content distribution channels Promotion status and activities Content timelines/calendarsAssessing this type of information about your contentmarketing allows you to configure strategies to betterexecute on your understanding of content status, gaps,and measurement.—Andrea Ward, vice president of marketing, Oracle Marketing CloudContinued on page 3The Art of B2B Creative 2

B2B MARKETINGHOW CAN YOU HELP?B2B CONTENT NEEDS TO OFFER VALUE TO THECUSTOMER—NOT TO THE MARKETERContent marketing is as popular as it is misunderstood. According to a recent survey,86% of B2B marketers use contentmarketing, but a little more thanhalf admitted their organizationshad an unclear definition of whatit meant to have a successful content marketing program.To truly succeed, content has tohave value—not to the marketer butto the person consuming the content. It starts with the right mindset. If your team thinks content marketing is about sales, the contentwon’t connect with the audience.In fact, your audience will run fromthat content because it’ll look likewhat it is—sales material.One way to get your team to adopt a selflessmindset is to ask them to brainstorm some of thechallenges they see their customers facing. Whatare some things your customers don’t understand?Not questions about your product, questions abouttheir industry. The more you talk about those questions and challenges, the more you’ll hone in onan educational need. Once you’re thinking aboutgaps in your audience’s knowledge, you’ll beginto see how you can address those challenges withrelevant content.HOW DOES THIS CONTENT HELP?Content marketing comes in many mediums andforms, but the fundamental question you must askfor every piece of content you publish is,“How doesit help?”Accordingly, the very best content marketingprograms are heavy with how-to guides, tip sheets,checklists, and blueprints. Naturally, the content varies across industries, but the common denominatoris that whatever you produce must help your audience address a real business problem.GO THE EXTRA MILE WITH ASSETSHelping your audience understand and addressa real problem is critical, but if you want to go theextra mile, one of the best ways you can distinguishyourself is to provide your audience with some freetools. But what kind of tools can you offer?Companies that sell marketing technology, forexample, go the extra mile by offering their audiences access to free libraries of stock photos.The reasonSpecial Reportbehind that offer is simple: all marketers need stockphotos, but wrangling them is costly and annoying.In other industries, it might make sense to provide theaudience with templates for producing commonlyused documents, or access to online calculators thathelp someone in that field performa specialized task.BUILD A LIBRARY OF HELPA content library can’t be completed overnight. In fact, if you’redoing content marketing right,your job is never really done. That’sactually a good thing, because itreminds us that the goal of contentmarketing is to make your branda trusted resource in your space.That shouldn’t happenfa s t , n o r i s i t s o m e t h i n g yo uset and forget.As you grow from a few goodpieces of content into a full-blown library, it’s important to think about organization. Ask yourself whatthemes and categories you see emerging. As yourlibrary grows, those answers will help your audiencefind the right information, but they’ll also help you stayon brand while identifying new areas of opportunity.EXPAND REACH THROUGH CONVERSATIONWhether it’s on LinkedIn,Twitter, or Facebook, people in your industry are talking. One of the best waysto amplify and tailor your content marketing is toengage those audiences in conversation. Listen inon the conversations to look for content marketingtopics. Better yet, ask your audience what they wantto know. If your content marketing comes straightfrom a poll or FAQ, you are absolutely providing value.CURATE AND COMMENT ON WHAT’S NEWRegardless of the industry, news moves faster everyday. While keeping up with industry news can bedaunting for your audience, it’s an opportunity for acontent marketer.Try curating relevant news througha company Twitter account. For larger stories, offera deep-dive analysis on LinkedIn.BROUGHT TO YOU WITHOUT SELF-PROMOAt this point, you’re probably wondering: Okay, butwhere does my brand come into the picture? Afterall, you’ve given a lot of value to your audience, buthow do you get value back in return?The answer is that you take credit for your work.You tell your audience who gave them value, butthat’s all you do. If your content truly has value foryour audience, the thought leadership will pay foritself.—Todd Ebert, CMO, MultiViewThe Art of B2B Creative 3

B2B MARKETINGB2B? BRAVE? NOT SO MUCHWHY MORE RISKS NEED TO BE TAKEN IN B2BCREATIVELet’s be honest: The speed of change in B2B marketing isn’t exactly fast.Yes, CRM and automation are being embracedon a much wider scale. But being brave creativelyseems one step too far for many brands and agencies.Everyone talks about “business to business”becoming “person to person” because professionals are living, breathing human beings. But we’re notpracticing what we preach.When you look at B2B marketing both online andoffline, creativity isn’t exactly thriving. Yes, the workis often effective, and budgets and deadlines aretight. But only rarely do B2B campaigns win creativeawards. What is the problem? Is anyone really driving for a creative change?IS IT THE AGENCIES?Do agencies have the creative firepower? Havewe given up? Are we unable to persuade our clientsto be brave? Is there a need to be brave? Perhaps ithas become too easy for B2B agencies to roll overand do as they are told. Ultimately it is our responsibility to push ourselves and our clients to be brave.There’s a knack to getting clients to understand andbuy more creative work, but it isn’t easy.You need a client with a challenge, maybe onethat is up against it and being forced to make a bigshift, a make or break moment for their brand. Youalso need a client that is hungry and has a desireto make a difference. A great client relationship iscrucial, so the whole experience feels like a big teampush. You want great work? Then you need to putEVERYONE TALKS ABOUT “BUSINESS TOBUSINESS” BECOMING “PERSON TO PERSON”BECAUSE PROFESSIONALS ARE LIVING,BREATHING HUMAN BEINGS. BUT WE’RE NOTPRACTICING WHAT WE PREACH.the time and effort in.WHAT ABOUT THE CLIENTS?Being brave often means doing something different. Different is scary and dangerous. If it works, theclient look great. But if it goes wrong, they could losetheir job. So, does the upside outweigh the nega-Special Reporttives? Oftennot. We area societyt h a t l i ke scomfortand repetition and welove to follow ratherthan lead.It isn’t in ourDNA to bedifferent or brave and if you add in multiple stakeholders, all needing to have a say, then it becomesalmost impossible to get everyone in agreement todo something different. For global brands it appearsthe focus is looking and sounding the same wherever you are in the world. But does that really work?Or is the safer option also the easier option?SO HOW AND WHY SHOULD WE BE BRAVE?As with anything there are degrees. Agenciesneed to make clients feel comfortable. I’ve had campaigns bomb in testing and the client has been evenmore behind it because of that. At the other end ofthe spectrum I’ve seen campaigns pulled becauseof a tiny detail mentioned in testing.Testing can workfor and against you, but if you have a client that isn’tconvinced, what do you have to lose?In this day and age, we can use real-time testingon live campaigns to help us out. We can instantly tweak the messaging, change the imagery, oradjust a call to action or offer. We don’t have to runa campaign as it is for 12 months and keep our fingers crossed. We can also pick our battles when itcomes to bravery. Most campaigns these days havemultiple parts: video, digital, search, advertising, etc.so why not choose one of those areas to be a littlemore daring, rather than just wallpapering the campaign across everything.Every brave campaign we have ever run—howeverbig or small the element of braveness—has worked.Each campaign got the agency more excited andeager to push harder and pull out all the stops tomake it happen. They were noticed by our targetaudience and remembered, hence the results arebetter. They made our clients look and feel good,and on top of that, they became the campaigns thatour client’s colleagues talk about in the corridors.In a world where many brands, look, sound, andact the same, creativity is the biggest weapon tostand out, get noticed and seriously shift your brandin the right direction. Embrace creativity and bebrave.—Darren Bolton, executive creative director,OgilvyOne BusinessThe Art of B2B Creative 4

B2B MARKETINGPOWERED BY DATA3 TIPS FOR USING DATA TO IMPROVE YOURBRAND’S CONTENT AND CREATIVE1. Understand what resonates with customers.By knowing what makes existing customers happy and coming back, you can honein on those aspects of your brand and inturn use them to target new customers.These kinds of insights can be gatheredfrom a variety of touchpoints. Demographics and buying behavior used to be understood by trial-and-error strategies based onlimited data and no small amount of conjecture. But the puzzle becomes easier tosolve with analytical processes that connect the dotsmore precisely between products and the peoplewho buy them.When it comes to direct customer feedback—asopposed to what’s implied by what actually leadsto a purchase—surveys are one place to start, especially if you can handle unstructured feedback. Analytics around website visitors and content can helptoo. Social listening tools are another good place tosee what customers think about your brand, whilekeeping a close eye on what content is the mostpopular on your website can be useful as well.More than anything, though, it’s important to notlook at any of these metrics in isolation, but to bringthem all together to in one place for a full pictureof what parts of your brand are already excelling.Gartner noted just how important integration is in aMagic Quadrant report on digital marketing analytics, saying: “Marketers must be able to analyze datathat sits on different systems and in different locations in a wide range of forms and formats, includingstructured and unstructured datasets.”2. Map the entire customer lifecycle.Many customers may be drawn to your brand forone thing, but end up staying for something quite different. For this very reason, it’s important to map thefull customer lifecycle across channels, purchasesand time. This will help your marketing departmentknow not just what’s catching customers’ eyes andwhere, but what’s turning them into repeat customers.You’ll also get a sense of how customer journeyschange over time, how to betterreact to those evolving needs,and so on.Such responsiveness, personalization and seamlessness acrosschannels are surefire ways to keepcustomers smiling and loyal. Buthow exactly do you make suchunderstanding and personalization a core part of your marketingdepartment? One key, as Gartnernotes, is exploration, and visualanalytics can help. Being ableto explore patterns in a variety ofdata sources and then blendingthem together, even based on time periods, canhelp clue you into key customer lifecycle patterns.3. Correlate your brand with the bottom line.Folks who work in marketing are naturally theones that inherently understand the importance ofbranding.Those in other departments might write offdetails big and small that can have a huge impacton customer perception and retention.This is where data comes in. It will help you provebranding’s importance at the micro and macro levels, and thus provide the “why” to teams across thecompany. Combining and analyzing a variety ofdata will let you actually correlate brand awareness and engagement with the bottom line, whichis huge for communicating initiatives internally. Forexample, what are the data trends in your customersupport department? Your website stats? Your marketing campaign data? How do those sources andothers tell the story of how your brand is reflectedin revenue?This kind of inquiry can lead to a snowball effect;as more decision-makers in the company can quantify and see the value of a strong brand, they will alsobe more willing to continue investing in marketing,leading even more customer understanding, fine-tuning, brand loyalty and a strong bottom line.—ElissaFink, CMO, Tableau SoftwareBeth Negus ViveirosManaging Editor, Chief UT CHIEF MARKETERThe Authority on Measurable Marketing: Our mission is to seek out the best in measurable marketingintelligence—and then analyze, summarize and organize it for marketing and C-level executives.www.chiefmarketer.com @chief marketer #chiefmarketer

B2B creative needs to drive action.” Many B2B marketers treat all of their creative the same through the entire process—and that isn’t a sound practice, says Cyndi Greenglass, senior VP, strategic solutions, Diamond Marketing Solutions. “A lot of folks are using some sort of marketing automation to help engagement through the funnel

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