4 B2B Ad Campaigns You’ll Love (and How to Make Them)

note: if you prefer to listen to this post; check out the podcast version available here:

We’re well past the days when truly creative and innovative ad campaigns are confined to B2C brands.

Today there are new creative and (more importantly) effective B2B campaigns popping up regularly throughout industry.

Below are 4 examples of our favorite B2B campaigns that utilized content + tech to target and cultivate relationship with prospective buyers. Each of these campaigns used smart and relevant content strategies to foster one to one relationships with buyers and set an exemplary model for B2B companies to follow.

The common thread? Each of these brands did a phenomenal job creating making their prospect a champion. In each scenario, the prospect is offered a platform for their brand (or ego), a service to simplify their life, or entertainment that moves the needle for their business.

See for yourself.

Ambition, an enterprise sales performance management software, hosts an annual competition to champion their customers and prospects. The tournament results in crowning the most beloved SaaS company after a single elimination tournament hosted and sponsored by Ambition.

  • Through a primarily social-activation, Ambition hosts and manages the tournament during which 64 SaaS giants like Dropbox, Evernote, and Salesforce compete against one another to get votes and move into the next round of competition. Survive and advance.
  • Throughout the process, Ambition’s team gets a chance to foster relationships with the SaaS brands represented by co-marketing throughout the event.
  • During the tournament, the team is able to driving meaningful social awareness for each SaaS brand alongside Ambition’s brand itself.

How YOU can use this:

  • Creating an owned media activation within your business/industry gives you the authority of a media platform to create relationships and become an industry authority
  • This is, however, a labor of love. The team working on this activation spent countless hours registering teams, earning introductions, and keeping up to date with voting for the competition
  • One way to consider growing an earned media activation like Ambition’s is to partner with another vendor/company who is equally invested in your industry, and would be willing to help carry the load in exchange for co-sponsorship

This activation is near and dear to my heart. Sweet Fish Media has leveraged their daily B2B podcast as a platform to meet, engage, and promote the brands and expertise of the prospects they invite as guests onto their show. Here’s how Sweet Fish describes the model of what they call “content based networking”:

  • Using content collaborations to build business relationships
  • Co-creating and sharing your platform’s audience with your prospects or partners

How YOU can use this:

  • Choose a content arena that you can own in a consistent and high-quality fashion (e.g. podcast, weekly youtube show, LinkedIn series, etc.)
  • Create a brand with sustaining power, build an audience, and invite prospects for your business onto the show to share that audience
  • DON’T use your interview as opportunity to pitch your business. Rather, spend the time creating alongside your prospect as a relationship building activity that you can lean on to continue the conversation at a later date

We’ve got a somewhat blurred line on this activation between B2B and B2C (catering is the b2b component), yet a huge opportunity exists in the digital + out of home marketplace.

  • In this scenario, a B2B company has the opportunity to take what used to be “boring” billboards and combine them with digital calls to action, OR integrate a digital billboard into the marketing mix.
  • Lots of examples of how this ends up working, but the ability to utilize bluetooth and location data to target individual users based on behaviors and travel + offering them an incentive to respond to a call to action through a digital trigger provides endless opportunities for advertisers to both reach and track their prospects over time

How YOU can use this:

  • Don’t ignore the effectiveness of what a dynamic out of home (OOH) campaign can do for the awareness and specific targeting of your buyer
  • Explore ways to combine OOH with digital activations

If you’re interested in pursuing, check out our friends at Outdoor Nation. Panera is their client, and they’ve played a huge part in this campaign, specifically.

The Chattanooga Chamber used a comedy-based video campaign to drive their efforts of recruiting entrepreneurs and businesses to the city.

  • Used humorous and creative video campaign to highlight city benefits over 3 part video series
  • Rather than using a typical “fly-over drone footage with soft music playing in the background” we’ve all seen multiple times, the Chattanooga Chamber used a old-spice/dollar shave club styled video to explain the Chattanooga area’s “product” benefits
  • The campaign (created by our talented friends at Pathfinder) saw a boom via earned media and organic reach to drive the message through digital channels

How YOU can use this:

  • Challenge your agency/marketing team to think outside industry norms for your next ad activation
  • Don’t be shy to borrow from the B2C world for the inspiration of your next campaign
  • Explore using entertainment/infotainment as a suitable replacement for your typical product info ad piece

In each of these scenarios, a B2B provider took it upon themselves to elevate their prospect, create real business relationships, and document the process to allow the B2B provider itself to benefit and grow through the campaign.

Got a great B2B campaign we should know about?? Let us know…

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