When it comes to viral content online, B2Cs hog all the glory. Consumer-directed products just naturally lend themselves to engagement. Whether it’s food, retail, travel or another type of sexy industry, advertising stuff that the public already needs and loves is simple.
However, that doesn’t mean B2Bs can’t score online. In fact, some of the funniest, most interesting digital campaigns of the past few years belong to B2B brands. The bottom line is that every company has access to the same content marketing tools; it’s just a matter of how they’re used.
To illustrate the point, let’s take a look at a few B2Bs that created memorable campaigns.
Ecommerce security provider, VeriSign faced a problem. Customers sometimes abandoned their virtual shopping cart at checkout because of concerns over security. So to create some awareness and trust about its product, VeriSign made a viral video campaign around fictional character, Liberty Fillmore, a.k.a. The Cart Whisperer. His mission in life was to rescue actual, abandoned shopping carts.
In addition to being hilarious, the videos linked to a website that Liberty designed himself. Visitors could watch all of the videos, submit their own photos, and even read Liberty’s poetry. They could also learn about his sponsors. Along with blowing up online and getting mentions across the blogosphere, traffic to the site eventually sustained itself without new videos.
Grasshopper is a phone tech company geared towards small business solutions. To generate buzz for their brand, they mailed out 25,000 chocolate-covered grasshoppers to 5,000 industry influencers (by the way, those were actual grasshoppers). The package was accompanied by a URL that linked to a company-made video on entrepreneurship. The point was that entrepreneurs should take risks, and in this case the risk paid off: the video got 8,000 views a day and received a lot of coverage.
Telecom giant, CISCO is no stranger to social media. Using a robust presence online, it frequently runs specific campaigns in addition to its normal engagement strategies. In one especially effective campaign, the company launched a new router exclusively through social channels, and saved approximately $100,000 in marketing costs.
IBM is another B2B with a powerful social media presence. Using analytics, it identified its target audience, and trained the sales team to monitor social activity and casually engage potential customers online. After nurturing these online relationships, they drove prospects to the websites of team members and as a result, saw a 400% increase in sales.
To raise the profile of its labeling equipment, Brother came up with a funny, creative solution. They made a mockumentary video about a hyper-organized, “kooky” branch manager who’s addicted to labeling items in her life. The video highlighted the benefits of their product in an unexpected way.
Once it was launched, Brother strategically promoted it throughout social media and held a contest. To encourage fans to watch and share it, they awarded a trip to Mexico to one lucky share-r. Additionally, it launched an ad campaign around the video to increase awareness.
What do all of these successful B2B campaigns have in common?
Each company took an inspired approach to its marketing. Rather than just relying on a contest for contest’s sake, they brought a relevant, fresh perspective to their efforts (and choco-covered grasshoppers? That’s sure to get people’s attention). While free access to the internet may allow small businesses to execute a popular campaign on a shoestring budget, the examples above all employed the use of professionals.
To ensure that your brand’s marketing inspires people to action, contact SPINX. From sound strategies to foolproof technical deployment, we’ll help your B2B gain positive traction online.
As demonstrated, humor can always help, even if your brand doesn’t particularly lend itself to comedy. Making people laugh is an age-old trick to breaking the ice and starting a conversation. In particular, humor is key to viral content. Touching cat videos aside, funny content will automatically set you apart from the competition. But it can also backfire. Poor attempts at humor are painful, so make sure you feel confident enough to be funny, or hire someone to feed you funny ideas.
Video is insanely watchable. Ideally it’s short, entertaining and in some way informative. As the Cart Whisperer has shown us, B2B brands don’t necessarily have to make videos specifically about their products. In fact, VeriSign’s name isn’t even present in the cart video, although the premise is still totally relevant to their business. Plus, online videos are fairly cheap to make, making way for potentially huge ROI.
Smart social media
Having an average social media presence is fairly easy. You can just dump a bunch of links and uninspired content into Facebook and call it a day. But that won’t earn you new followers or drive engagement. B2Bs can come up with great campaigns with big returns, as demonstrated by CISCO and IBM. You just have to spend time finding and nurturing your target audience.
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