Seriously, B2B Can Be Funny

A funny thing happened on the way to work today … well, not really. But, there was an article I read recently in BtoB magazine that made me smile,”Using Comedy in B2B Advertising Offers a New Hook” ” by Matthew Schwartz.

Manufacturing, medical devices, logistics, industrial products, professional services, etc. are pretty serious businesses. But, is there an unwritten rule that touting cost savings, ROI, added value, and product features and benefits are the only means of reaching a business audience?

Even B2B audiences are comprised of people, says Tim Washer, senior marketing manager at Cisco Systems.  “In a business context, making someone laugh is the most intimate connection you can make,” he adds.

Used appropriately, humor does make an impact.

When we suggested a comedic approach to a campaign about helping contractors better control their inventory, our client Barnett Pro Contractor Supplies was open to the idea. Two humorous online videos were produced that led to the microsite  www.stopinventoryshrinkage.com.

UltraTech, a provider of oil spill and environmental compliance products, infused humor in its 2012 Calendar featuring employees (including its founders) as characters in parody movie posters. With such movie titles as The Berm Supremacy, The Hang Overpack, and Pallets of the Caribbean the calendar was a hit among the company’s customers, distributors and partners. It even won a Silver ADDY Award from the local American Advertising Federation chapter.

So before planning your next B2B marketing piece or campaign, think about the most effective way to immediately and uniquely reach your audience … through their heads, hearts or funny bones.

Posted in Featured Articles | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Below-the-radar marketing at the Summer Olympic Games

Check out any social media site, news outlet or blog right now, and chances are there will be news about the Summer Olympics. This year’s Games, billed as the “Socialympics” for its integration with social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, are the talk of the world. There is a lot of desire to be able to get one’s company or brand associated with the Games,  and it’s no secret that advertising and sponsorship at the Olympic games is a pretty costly endeavor (McDonalds, British Airways and Coca-Cola collectively paid $1 billion for the pleasure).

While not all levels of sponsorship are so costly, most businesses still lack the available cash to support that level of advertising. So what should companies do if they want a cheaper way to show off at the Olympics? By most reports- forgo the high sponsorship and take part in some old-fashioned guerrilla marketing.

Nick Symmonds with logo tattoo

Nick Symmonds sports his guerilla tattoo.

These guerrilla marketing tactics are nothing new at the Games (remember British sprinter Linford Christie’s Puma-branded contact lenses in Atlanta in 1996?) but it appears to be even more pervasive this year. Currently, more than half of the top 50 brands associated with the Olympics are not even sponsors.

While the money is rolling in for the Olympic committee, athletes are complaining that the dividends don’t seem to be trickling down their way, and many are happy to support “unofficial sponsors.” Several British athletes are taking part in a Subway campaign, commercials for which appear at every break in online streaming content on the NBC Olympics website. And Nick Symmonds, a middle-distance runner competing in the upcoming games, auctioned off the real estate on his deltoid on eBay. Symmonds is now sporting a temporary tattoo with the winning bidder’s logo and company name during the games.

Shops in London are getting in on the game as well – one image that’s gone viral is a shop that purposely misspelled “London Olympics.”

Many local London shops are also doing their best to flout the strict Olympic policies, like this London clothing retailer.

These outside-of-the-box tactics will be under heavy scrutiny from the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games, who have carte blanche to discontinue anything that they feel is infringing upon official sponsors or the intellectual property of the games. However, most and smart and clever marketers will use this opportunity to make their brands stand out from the crowd. This chance to showcase non-traditional marketing methods before a global audience doesn’t come around very often.

 

Posted in Featured Articles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Generation Mothers

It’s no secret that online marketers sell to “Generation Mom.” Motherhood transcends generations and the age of one’s children, regardless of whether a mom fits into the Boomer, Gen X, or Gen Y category.

Various trends have emerged about a mother’s influence or power on topics ranging from parenting to social media usage to purchasing behaviors. In many households, mothers usually have control of the family’s purse strings and tend to be the primary decision maker and purchaser of goods and services for themselves and their families.

Mothers are active and influential online – from researching product reviews to supporting brands on social networks to blogging about a particular product. “Mom marketing” is becoming a real phenomenon, and the behavior of a mother as a consumer has evolved over the past few years with the embrace of social media and the “recommendation culture” – a crucial aspect to a mother’s purchasing behavior.

So what social media sites are mothers using?

image courtesy of Nielsen Wire

So how can online marketers tap into Generation Mom? Businessweek.com offers a complete section of marketing tips and advice to brands selling to mothers. Key tips include:

Most mothers are thrifty and look for a good value. Mothers look online or follow a retailer to get information on deals and coupons. Coupons that offer savings at more than 50 percent may entice mothers to try an item that they have not used.

Moms take and give advice. A “mom marketing” trend centers on the rise of the online recommendation culture. Mothers use social media to make connections, hear trusted recommendations and provide first-person perspectives through “mommy blogs.”  Disney provides a mom’s panel complete with helpful hints, advice and savings guidelines for planning a Disney getaway.

Mothers are no longer brand-loyal and remain skeptical towards brands just going through the motions of social media. Moms expect brands to be fully engaged.

As Generation Mothers continue to embrace new social channels and trends, brands must demonstrate their value and worth in a timely manner to attract a mom’s purchase.  Positive recommendations on online sites by others mothers are a brand’s best marketing asset.

 

 

 

Posted in Featured Articles | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment