When you open your news app or scroll through your favorite news site, you might be hard pressed to find B2B marketing campaigns making the first page—or really any page for that matter. But believe it or not, notable B2B campaigns are out there. B2B marketers are crafting campaigns that are memorable and impactful, whether or not they’re receiving the same attention consumer-based campaigns are.
In this blog post, we’ll take a look at three B2B marketing campaigns that did gain some traction in the media and dissect exactly what made them so noteworthy, so you can incorporate similar tactics into your own marketing.
Before we dive head-first into these examples, here are some resources to ensure you and your marketing team feel well-equipped to tackle these innovative B2B campaign strategies:
- Five Points for Defining or Refining Your B2B Brand Strategy
- What is Content Strategy and Why Do You Need It?
- Fundamental SEO Strategies for B2B Organizations
Browse the rest of the Launch Marketing blogs for other fundamental insights into B2B marketing campaigns.
Attention Grabbing Campaigns
Squarespace’s Super Bowl Commercial Featuring Jeff Bridges
Who They Are:
If you listen to podcasts or are a frequent online shopper, you may already be familiar with Squarespace, a platform that provides consumers with easy-to-use templates for building websites. Since launching in 2003, they’ve grown to 1,035 team members and helped build millions of websites for customers across industries.
What They Did:
Squarespace has attained their growth and success thanks to their focus on reaching a wide range of prospective clients. In particular, CEO Anthony Casalena wanted this 2015 campaign to translate that “any idea, no matter how wild or weird, can be presented beautifully and meaningfully through Squarespace.”
With this goal in mind, Squarespace partnered with Jeff Bridges, star of the 1998 cult classic The Big Lebowski, to create their 2015 marketing campaign targeting even the most obscure businesses. This obscurity and individualism fits perfectly into “the Dude’s”—as Bridges’s character is aptly referred to in The Big Lebowski—wheelhouse. Bridges’s iconic character has become a familiar figure to audience members who were around when the movie first premiered in 1998, as well as the newer generation who has since picked up on the Dude-isms.
To capitalize on this partnership, Squarespace released a commercial starring Bridges as Lebowski during the 2015 Super Bowl, which had a viewership of 114.4 million people. Referred to as the “Om” commercial, the ad spot focuses on both highlighting Bridge’s sleep therapy album, as well as Squarespace, which built the website where you can listen to Bridge’s album.
What to Learn:
For one, Squarespace recognized where to engage a large and diverse audience at once. Considering that many viewers tune in solely for the commercials, Squarespace was wise to leverage a widely known movie personality for their eye-catching commercial.
Though you’re more likely to see Super Bowl commercials advertising burgers and beers over ads for software, Squarespace recognized that a large portion of Super Bowl viewers are nonetheless business owners themselves. By employing influencer marketing, Squarespace connected with viewers through a consumer-like experience that simultaneously offered an intriguing look at their unique product offering. While Bridges’s Lebowski persona isn’t necessarily an advocate for website platforms, his role as influencer highlighted the creative and less-traditional mindset that Squarespace strives for.
Bridges’s influence is a great reminder of how choosing who represents your brand can be a more explorative venture. Be sure to focus on what your customers are interested in, even outside of your product – whether it’s fun cultural references or more traditional content like video documentation and case studies.
Of course, not every B2B company can be expected to shell out the exorbitant cost that goes into creating a commercial and enlisting an A-list actor, then airing it on one of the most watched programs of the year. What you can do, however, is recognize how superbly Squarespace integrated their core values throughout the marketing campaign. For instance, all of the proceeds from Bridges’s album were donated to No Kid Hungry, which works to provide meals for underprivileged and impoverished children throughout the country. By supporting the website and giving the album a platform, Squarespace reiterated their philanthropic interests in concert with their pursuit of company growth.
Get Optimistic Campaign by Xerox
Who They Are
You may be familiar with a Xerox machine, or “xeroxing” a document, but Xerox has expanded far beyond your office copier. Today, they focus on both the digital and the physical, as a provider of “innovative technologies and intelligent work solutions.”
What They Did
Xerox created their “Get Optimistic” campaign with a focus on not only the power of optimism, but also the power of a highly targeted audience. The campaign began with bi-weekly emails segmented by industry. Xerox then took it a step further by partnering with Forbes to create their own publication called “Chief Optimist,” which was a larger format magazine with industry-specific versions.
Not only did Xerox engage through email and content marketing, but they also incorporated a personable aspect to their campaign by hosting seminars across the U.S. where customers shared testimonials about their experience with the company.
What to Learn
There’s a lot of good kernels of marketing wisdom in this campaign. Having a highly targeted campaign is always a great idea. Customers appreciate personalization even in the B2B space because it shows that you care about their interests and want to provide them with valuable content to support their industry and personal development.
Xerox took their personalization to the next level by not only creating customized emails, but also an entire magazine focused on specific customer needs. This is a great example of content marketing done well. It also proves that content marketing doesn’t have to be limited to blog posts and articles, but can be adopted into longer, more creative forms of content, like a magazine.
And to top it off, the campaign was given a face thanks to the nation-wide seminars. Xerox was able to take the campaign from email, to paper, to in-person, highlighting the campaign’s versatility across different channels.
Adobe Acquisition of Omniture
Who They Are
Whether you rely on Adobe Photoshop for its design capabilities or frequently view and edit documents on Adobe Acrobat, you’re likely familiar with the Adobe suite in some capacity.
Adobe’s focus on digital experiences and their core values—Genuine, Exceptional, Innovative and Involved—speaks to their overall products and purpose.
What They Did
In 2009, Adobe acquired the marketing analytics company Omniture. This didn’t directly align with Adobe’s reputation as a desktop publishing software brand, so they needed a marketing strategy that aligned with the acquisition.
The solution was simple yet thorough. Adobe began creating and publishing content on CMO.com that spoke to the Omniture audience and turned them into a voice and authority on marketing. This evolution was by no means a quick turnaround, since both creating the content and gaining a trusted readership took time. Nonetheless, today CMO.com represents a highly regarded source for marketing solutions and expertise.
What to Learn
Adobe’s development of CMO.com is a great testament to how marketing innovation doesn’t require notable actors or a cross-country conference circuit. Many B2B audiences are looking for true value and learning, which content marketing can deliver. While one blog post won’t help you reposition your brand overnight, quality content creation and a dedicated effort speaks for itself.
Content marketing is also a fairly inexpensive marketing channel to optimize. Content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing, while also generating three times as many leads—that’s a pretty great ROI. Adobe exceled in recognizing a form of marketing that was not only low on cost and high on impact, but also in understanding that this is the kind of value their audience was looking for and where they wanted to be reached.
While these B2B success stories are certainly newsworthy, they are by no means a rulebook for your marketing efforts. It’s important to take note of the tactics of fellow marketers to not only get a better sense of trends and the marketing opportunities available, but also to derive inspiration (not replication) for your own campaigns.