All Work and No Play...
.....makes marketing a dull job.Sometimes the world of B2B marketing can be a little staid and sensible.There's nothing wrong with that, after all many business purchases are considered and discussed over a long period of time and the sales cycle of some business products and services can be up to 18 months, potentially longer for big investment purchases.The B2C sales cycle is much quicker, as many consumer products and services are easy purchases – no one needs to have several meetings to decide on which bread to buy.
What B2B marketers can learn from B2C strategies is the use of humour. Funny adverts are remembered much more than boring ones – the Yellow Pages adverts with James Nesbitt still raise a chuckle now, especially the haircut one and while the big yellow book may have been replaced by an online version, people still remember the ad and associate it with the service that Yell now provides.
Humour can be used in many different marketing channels – videos are the most obvious one, but funny blog posts or one off campaigns tying in to a seasonal event or a holiday can also be a good way of making your customers laugh.It's also worth bearing in mind that not all marketing activities need a clear call to action; sometimes just appealing to your customers is all that is needed, as it strengthens customer engagement with the brand and can lead to your funny content being shared with people you might not reach otherwise.
It might seem daunting to find a funny angle to your business at first, but a great starting point is to identify the fear factor that your customers have where your product or service can help.For a commercial estate management service you could invent a fictional creature – the Buildrot - that takes over poorly maintained spaces, turning them into a stronghold against the building owners.Your company are then the specialists in dealing with the Buildrot. This story outline could be used to create several short videos explaining the tactics you need to use against the Buildrots to get them out and stop them returning.You're still marketing your services, but using a humorous angle to do so.
Taking advantage of events and holidays, like Valentine's Day or Halloween, can also be a good way of injecting some comedy into your marketing.Sometimes combining two absurd elements can make customers look at your product or service in a different way. Cisco, a telecommunications and network equipment supplier used this tactic to create a Valentine's themed video positioning their routers as the perfect gift. Kinaxis, a supply chain management firm used the idea of speed dating to parody the hassle of finding a new supplier, only to find that none can measure up to your original provider.
If you don't want to use video, you can use still photographs to create a story in pictures and this approach would work well on sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.Your funny pictures can be shared easily with anyone and everyone and you can increase engagement by serialising a story in pictures and posting an update every day, or every week.The Buildrot idea could be effected through photographs as well as video, and you can even post fictional reports on your blog to back up the campaign – perhaps some “real-life” accounts of dealing with a Buildrot or tales of victory against them.
If you are concerned that using humour in your marketing might undermine your integrity, just remember that many brands have done this successfully and if you pitch it right you can keep your reputation intact and even improve it by showing a human side.There's nothing wrong in having a laugh from time to time and if you can make someone laugh at work then they will appreciate the light relief and consider your company next time they need your product or service.
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