Creating a B2B marketing campaign? Let's take a look at some important factors all B2B marketers and startups should be considering when embarking on their next campaign.

1. Don't neglect the emotional

Brand marketing has always relied heavily on establishing an emotional connection with a prospect to create loyalty and empathy and to ultimately convert sales. So why have these assumptions featured far less in B2B marketing, which is often laden with statistical evidence and logical justification? Why should an audience of business decision-makers be any different from an audience of everyday consumers?

A study from Google, the CEB's Marketing Leadership Council and Motista uncovered evidence that emotional connections and drivers are more influential in a B2B decision-making environment than a B2C one.

The importance of brand connection in B2B purchasing decisions is highlighted by the Motista study, with 10% to 40% of B2C brands that took part in the study creating emotional connections with purchasers, compared to over 50% with seven of the nine B2B brands Motista studied.

B2B purchasers were eight times more likely to pay a premium for comparable products and services when personal value was present. Brand loyalty is not only desirable to successful B2B marketing but essential.

2. Technical requirements can be table stakes

Many B2B companies can make their marketing too reliant on technical know-how and proficiency because in many corporate bidding processes, many of the technical requirements of all the competitors are likely to be table stakes.

After the technical details have been considered, the deciding factors that business decision-makers ruminate about can often be boiled down to which brand feels like the right fit for their business. Often, those kinds of decisions can come down to simple gut instinct and rapport, and are largely influenced by perceptions of empathy, trust, and loyalty in a potential supplier or client.

Though the statutory requirements of corporate governance do require a logical rationale for any procurement decision, the emotional value attached to these kinds of decisions in business is huge. At this stage in the procurement process, you must have established a more personable and emotional form of brand identity with your prospect. 

The Motista study found that "50% [of B2B businesses surveyed] were more likely to buy a product or service when they see personal value." This personal value could be anything from an individual's career advancement to professional recognition and pride. They are a staggering eight times more likely to pay a premium for services and products when this is present as well.

3. A little laughter can go a long way

Comedy, when used at the right time and in the right place, can go a long way in setting your B2B brand apart from the pack.

In a Marketing Smarts podcast, Cisco's Tim Washer talks passionately of the importance of humanizing your brand and creating honesty through comedy.

"I think, if we share that, 'Look, we do make mistakes. We do fail at times. We always recover, but we do have those times. We're not perfect'... and we show those vulnerable moments, it would go so far helping us connect with our audience," Washer said.

But with humor comes potential pitfalls. Don't overuse comedy or apply it in the wrong context or in bad taste. This can have the disastrous result of making your marketing seem inappropriate or juvenile, making your company seem as if it doesn't take what it does seriously, or both.

4. YouTube helps put a face on your company

Advocacy marketing is a powerful force that every business should be keen to exploit, especially those trying to influence other businesses.

Though getting clients and customers to talk about you and your company on film and posting it on YouTube is unlikely to see you become the Internet's next viral sensation, YouTube videos do help establish your company's reliability to anyone inclined to go out and look for it.

Take the time to properly organize and structure your company's YouTube channel, making sure to separate commercial content from consumer content and optimize your videos and channel by implementing proper keyword placement and optimization, as well as effective thumbnails and if you have time, captions.

Always make sure you put the most important content on your website as well as YouTube, Vimeo, or whatever other platforms you are using. You want people visiting your website to easily find this kind of content.

Don’t stop at clients and customers either. Giving members of your board of directors the opportunity to speak on film about their business and what it means to them can be extremely powerful from a B2B marketing perspective.

5. Be a visionary

The final thing to bear in mind when planning your B2B marketing is how you intend to articulate your vision. This relates back to our first two points about emotion and logic and how important they are to your marketing campaign.

Take a look at this video we created for Airbus Defence and Space. It's a prime example of how corporate vision can sit alongside technical know-how, becoming fused into one clear brand identity (a little bit of emotive music helps as well).

Airbus Defence and Space: Picture the Future from Hurricane Media on Vimeo.

Creating a sense of technical competency, proficiency, and capability is only one half of the B2B marketing battle. Projecting your vision should be seen as a key pillar in any brand marketing strategy, as it creates a sense of purpose, passion and conviction in what you do.

Ultimately, you have to ask yourself: if it came down to two equally competent companies bidding for your business, what would you look for to differentiate them from each other?

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Five Things to Remember When Planning Your Next B2B Marketing Campaign

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image of Jon Mowat

Jon Mowat is a former BBC documentary filmmaker and founder of British-based video production and marketing company Hurricane Media.

LinkedIn: Jon Mowat