B2B marketing doesn't have to be boring

Sarah McIntyre About The Author

Tue, Aug 09, 2016

Apparently, "there are four ways a man can show his lady how much he loves her on Valentine’s Day. Like buying her expensive diamonds or taking her on an exotic holiday. Or a guy could even carve his initials into a tree. And then carve a heart. And then carve her initials underneath that on the very same tree. And the final way, according to Cisco, to give her the ultimate expression of everlasting affection is to gift her with a Cisco ASR 9000. Because nothing says “forever”, “commitment” and “I love you” quite like an aggregation services router."

Sound ridiculous? That’s the point. This is the basic premise of a B2B video from US technology multinational, Cisco. The humorous piece of content marketing was created by stand-up comic and corporate humorist, Tim Washer, who works with Cisco as a social media content producer. According to Washer, the aim of the ad was to incorporate humour into a wider corporate strategy. “I am a big believer in having a solid global strategy where there’s room for white papers, product information, and demos. But at the same time, if you take a very small part of your budget and say ‘Let’s just entertain people and give our community a gift of laughter without necessarily a call to action,’ others will share your story for you.

Keeping things light and airy

If Washer’s concept proves anything, it is that B2B content marketing needn’t be boring and that a splash of humour is a great way to be more creative. And having fun, can be a great way to differentiate your products and services, and your content marketing, from your competitors. Inspired by the words of a customer who exclaimed “wow, that’s a big ass fan”, a Kentucky-based fan manufacturer decided to run with the idea. And Big Ass Fans was born. So while their competitors are marketing their products by discussing “external rotor motors and single or double forward curved inlets”, Big Ass Fans is attracting the market’s attention by adopting a content marketing strategy that is a little cheeky.  

Speaking of wind, Epuron, a European developer of solar and wind energy projects, came up with a clever video campaign to harness it. They produced a two-minute commercial, titled ‘Power of Wind’, in which they created a rather awkward, misunderstood persona for the wind. And why is he so misunderstood? Well, being the wind, he can be pretty annoying. He throws sand in your face, ruins your hair and blows up your dress. But, thanks to Epuron, there is a place for poor Mr W. Epuron to help him realise his potential and they are able to achieve great things together.

Focusing on those relationships

Because we all know that one of the cornerstones of successful marketing is fostering and developing relationships with your customers, some of the best B2B content marketing focuses on just that. Supply chain management company, Kinaxis, and customer service software company, Zendesk, have come up with clever ways to compare the world of B2B solutions to modern day relationships. A lighter approach to B2B, the Kinaxis video is a spoof about people having awkward run-ins with their high-maintenance, difficult exes. These exes are the polar opposite of the their current partners who are flexible, direct and communicate really well. These new partners all just so happen to be called Kinaxis and they’re all about simplicity and less baggage. Zendesk, on the other hand, approached it’s B2B “Relationships are complicated” campaign from the perspective of an astronaut and a scuba diver. The series of videos feature the two trying to get along and having several uncomfortable encounters, from trying to decide what TV show to watch, to sharing a meal, to heading out for drinks with friends.

Creating the right content is an essential part of any B2B content marketing strategy. And using humour and clever content can be a great way to stay ahead of your competitors. Want to find out how to create a great inbound marketing blog? Why not download our Blog Post writing framework to find out how to write the perfect blog.