Lack of creativity and short-term focus has led to ineffective B2B marketing

After sharing my blog on creativity in B2B marketing, I came across a LinkedIn B2B Institute study. What did it show? 75% of B2B brands miss the mark when it comes to building long-term growth through advertising. Main cause? You guessed it: lack of creativity. Padum Pats

B2B marketing organisation vs B2C

The research in question indicates that how organisations are organised is an important cause. Whereas B2C organisations are usually marketing-driven, B2B organisations are more product or sales driven. This difference means that people tend to communicate more rationally. The consensus is that it’s a fantastic product and we should emphasise its benefits and features. But doesn’t the competition do the same?

Figuur uit het onderzoek van het LinkedIn B2B Institute

Recognition in practice

I must confess that I often come across similar cases in practice. I hear from my sales colleague that a (new) client would like to carry out a campaign. When I ask what the USP’s are, very often product or company elements come up that the competition also claims. Subsequently, the campaign in question is not particularly successful.

But anyway, I don’t think it’s very proper to burn down a client here, especially when I know that we have fallen into the same trap at Smart Profile. To illustrate, when offering a call campaign, we use our tool called CLM7. CLM is an abbreviation for Closed Loop Marketing. In the first communication to the market, we were proud to talk about CLM7 and its fantastic features.

Not surprisingly, the search for CLM on Google did not produce many hits, and there were few requests for the product. By now, we no longer communicate the name CLM but mainly talk about our way of working. That is where our added value lies, and not so much in the CLM tool.

Reasons for the focus on the ratio?

Apart from recognisability, in practice, the underlying reasons for the focus on ratio are also quite recognisable in my opinion:

  • The focus on short term results
  • Shift from traditional media to online
  • Challenge to measure the value of creativity

I certainly recognise this in practice, especially in coronal times when budgets are frozen. It has become even more difficult to free up budget for something for which it is difficult to guarantee ROI.

The missing element: emotion

Therefore, the prevailing focus is on reason, or our right hemisphere, or system 2 (from the well-known book by Daniel Kahneman). It appears that we try too hard to convince someone based on rational factors. However, if we look at the impact of B2B decisions, in most cases, it is a lot bigger than in B2C. To put it simply, if you buy a product as a consumer and you don’t like it, you usually lose a few euros. While the choice of, for example, an ERP solution, logistics partner or energy contract involves entirely different amounts. What’s more, the wrong decision could be financially very detrimental to your organisation ánd your career.

In short, there are many more emotions that play a role in such a decision, while we often want to convince with reason.


A guide to more creativity, emotion and effectiveness

You may think, great story, but how do I convince the people in my organisation? I can already hear you say: You probably don’t know our financial director? No, I (most likely) do not, but there are tools to show why investing in a creative message that revolves around emotion is a very rational choice. And I’m not just talking about the data from this study.

To further convince your colleague(s), there is also the handle with the term “creative commitment”. We owe this term to James Hurman and Peter Field. The short version? Committing yourself as a marketing department to a specific message/advertising in various channels, over a more extended period and with a sufficient media budget. The result? The ad/message is remembered, which is actually quite logical and rational.

Here again, the reflection to daily reality, take a critical look at what you or your organisation have communicated in recent weeks and months. When I look around me, I see people who have been mixing up new products, vacancies, webinars and homework polls in the battle for attention. To be perfectly honest, little or nothing has stuck, as it has often been brought to people’s attention only once during a short period of time. Your attention quickly shifts to the next item.

Creativity tip: Use memorable elements

Ok, we have the data from the research and the creative commitment, but are there other things that can help me towards more effective advertising? Yes, there are, one of those elements is memorable characters. Sorry, what? Yes, look at Salesforce for example and see the characters that are used there over and over again. Even without the logo, you can see it’s Salesforce.

This may be rationally dismissed as: we are a serious company that does not suit us. But then consider that it helps to be memorable and memorable messages can help organisations generate 10 to 20 times more sales. The research clearly shows that. If you’re not much of a reader, there’s also an on-demand webinar available. That might even convince that inflexible colleague you need to convince.

Let it be a handle and an inspiration

I don’t want to say that I know it all and do it all right, but I would like to inspire you, just as it has inspired me to take a critical look and see this study as a handle to make 2021 an even better year. Or as I said before: time to realise your potential even more!