In a sea of the same old boring black B2B umbrellas, some marketers have unfurled their rainbow parasols and risen above the content marketing crowd. Read on to find and learn from five fresh examples of how daring to be different can lead to innovative and award-winning B2B content marketing.
Using a wide variety of savvy marketing elements including interactive digital storytelling, expert insight, micro-sites, quiz tools, personalized data, psychometric research, artificial intelligence (AI), video, online collaboration, live events, corporate social responsibility (CSR), influencer marketing and more, these campaigns show how B2B firms are successfully using tactics traditionally associated more with B2C.
Savvy B2B marketers know creating campaigns that stand out in today’s rapid-fire barrage of digital messages is more challenging than ever, yet as we’ll see from the stellar content marketing examples below, when done well the results can be outstanding.
Dropbox Business’ Marketing Dynamix campaign, which won the award for best use of digital techniques and technologies at the 2018 B2B Marketing Awards, used a secure interactive micro-site targeting a new audience for Dropbox — marketers — and saw dramatic success.
This innovative B2B content marketing campaign featured an assessment tool on a micro-site where marketers were able to dig into and take advantage of the varied and unique personality traits of themselves and their teammates, and share personalized results.
With an initial return on investment (ROI) of 25:1 and having driven 220 percent of its lead-generation goal, Dropbox Business’ Marketing Dynamix campaign also used infographics, psychometric research, blog posts, a 20-page ebook, and powerful hero content to achieve success in raising brand awareness.
The campaign’s primary tool was a “Marketing Personality” assessment utility to educate marketers on strengths and weaknesses, and the areas they could improve on in team relationships and effectiveness, with personalized results provided in a 20-page “self-portrait” ebook.
Another example of how microsites can help in B2B marketing comes from our client Prophix. For Adapt & Innovate: AI and the Next Evolution of Finance we utilized a simulated AI personality voice named Penny to help users navigate a microsite featuring a variety of industry experts.
For its most recent “Reshaping Customer Experience Management: The Future of #CXM” campaign, Adobe worked with TopRank Marketing to create a unique interactive digital story featuring a wealth of B2B influencer content to increase awareness of Adobe’s Customer Experience Management solutions.
Combining expert insight from both content marketing and brand professionals including Ann Handley of MarketingProfs, Jay Baer of Convince & Convert, Shama Hyder of Zen Media, Scott Monty of Scott Monty Strategies, Rachel Richter of Dun & Bradstreet and others, the campaign used enticing and useful interactive elements to bring Adobe’s CXM to life.
Our CEO Lee Odden also recently shared “10 Inspiring Examples of B2B Influencer Marketing in Action,” another excellent resource showing how B2B influencer marketing can help increase credibility by promoting to buyers using the people they trust.
Another example of how deep-dive influencer content packs an especially strong wallop when combined with interactive elements comes from a new case study about a recent successful campaign, with our client Prophix’s Pro Talks long-form video series.
Bosch Professional’s “Neandertool to Millenitool” U.K. campaign, which won for both best use of social media and best limited-budget campaign at the 2018 B2B Marketing Awards, combined traditional public relations elements with humorous video and animated social media posts to increase awareness of smart connected tools.
The campaign, which used humor to document the progress of humans and tools through the ages, was especially successful on Facebook, with a popular personality quiz and a video that generated over 137K views.
Video, such as the content Bosch Professional used in this campaign, has remained a strong content type on Facebook, as the following chart from ClickZ illustrates.
B2B video marketing can be a daunting challenge, however we can learn from strong examples such as the Bosch Professional campaign, and from guides including “How to Select the Right Type of Video for Your B2B Marketing Goals” by our own Content Strategist Anne Leuman, and “Allen Gannett Shares His Secrets to Racking Up Millions of LinkedIn Video Views” by our Senior Content Strategist Nick Nelson.
By 2021 social network video advertising spend in the U.S. will account for more than 30 percent of total video ad spending, and by 2023 overall video ad spend is expected to jump over 62 percent from 2019 figures, according to February 2019 eMarketer data.
As the following chart from Renderforest shows, video use on social media platforms also continues to boom.
SaxoPrint’s “The Great British Postcard Competition” campaign, which won the award for best use of content marketing at the 2018 B2B Marketing Awards, drove brand awareness through creation of an online collaborative community platform and a supporting postcard initiative that featured celebrities including former Sex Pistol John Lydon.
The campaign saw a 66 percent increase in business, 274 postcard entries, over 50,000 public competition votes, and over 4.2 million likes on a video interview picked up by a news outlet.
Interactive online content is seeing increased use in B2B marketing, and with the success the tactic has achieved — especially when combined with storytelling and a strong and relevant influencer marketing element — it’s no wonder, as the following chart from CMI and MarketingProfs shows.
How B2B content’s future will likely be more data-informed and include more interactivity such as that in SaxoPrint’s campaign, along with a greater number of influencers and experts, is explored in Lee’s recent article “The Future of B2B Content: Data-Informed, Interactive, and Influential.”
“B2B brands are increasingly investing in interactive influencer marketing to engage with industry influencers and co-create content packaged with brand content in an experience engaging for influencers and buyers alike.” @LeeOdden Click To Tweet
SAP Leonardo’s Plastics Challenge represents a fine example of a corporate social responsibility (CSR) campaign, using video, downloadable digital assets, and research reports to help increase awareness of the challenge of plastic pollution, and the importance of how people all over the world interact with plastics.
The program included a short ten-minute documentary-style film, an ethnographic research report, and participation in the London Design Festival, all relating to “The Plastics Cloud” initiative.
Considering that 61 percent of millennials are concerned about global conditions and feel personally responsible for making a difference (Source: Generational Adversity), B2B companies aren’t exempt from taking a stand on values, with 80 percent of business leaders saying they would end a business relationship with vendors that didn’t address such high-stakes issues, according to Hotwire’s “High-Stakes Leadership in a Post B2B World” study data.
As the B2B landscape gains increasing numbers of millennials and GenZers over time, CSR concerns are also likely to be among those that will need to be addressed by firms open to changing workforce priorities.
Harvard Business Review recently looked at some of the challenges business leaders face when implementing CSR solutions, with “How CSR Managers Can Inspire Other Leaders to Act on Sustainability,” and a recent study from Clutch shows that CSR shouldn’t be limited to only certain industries, as the following chart shows.
Learning from top B2B content marketing examples such as those presented here from Dropbox Business, Adobe, Bosch Professional, SaxoPrint, and SAP Leonardo can help inspire your own campaigns to reach new heights. Backed by solid research, each of these campaigns show elements that — when deftly incorporated into your content marketing efforts — will give you the upper hand.
It takes considerable time, exceptional skill, and sometimes a massive effort to build campaigns such as the five we’ve looked at, which leads some to choose a top marketing agency, such as TopRank Marketing. We recently had the honor of being named by Forrester as the only B2B marketing agency offering influencer marketing as a top capability in its latest “B2B Marketing Agencies, North America, Q1 2019” report.”
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