B2B Marketing is BoringB2B marketers tend to use the same marketing tactics over and over again such as direct mail, email, paid search, telemarketing, and live events to name just a few. It usually involves a landing page that contains a blurb about the offer and a form that you need to fill out. B2B marketers rely on their targeted audience and customers to spread the word by forwarding on an email invite to a webinar or telling a fellow colleague about a great new software package that they just starting using. This is all great and has proven to be effective but is there another way to bring the same excitement that B2C marketers use to B2B? Just because you are targeting a business, does it need to be all about newsletters and white papers?
It's Time to get Interactive. It's Time to get ViralIf you think long and hard enough about what motivates your target market you have to think that there is more then providing them with a perfect case study (unless that's what they've asked for). If you're trying to grow your lists and get your name out there, how can your audience get enthused about your company or your product? A few B2B companies are now trying to use more interactive viral campaigns designed for their target audience. The goal is to entertain while demonstrating their understanding of what their target audience goes through in their day to day business functions. Viral marketing campaigns are typically "games" that provide a brief distraction from a stressful day or may bring some humour into the office. Think about a funny email one of your friends have forwarded to you. It may have made you have a brief laugh and was something that you could share with those around you.
Get Your Viral Game on: Intel & QuantumIntel has just launched a new game that they are calling the PEBCAK I.T. Translator. PEBACK is an inside "geek" term that stands for ("problem exists between keyboard and chair"). It's like FUBAR or other acronyms that are used to quickly summarize a situation. In this case, IT people refer to stupid questions that they may be asked as PEBCAK. The PEBCAK I.T. translator acts like a typical client or fellow employee approaching their I.T. person for help. It chooses random questions like "How do you move that little arrow around the screen?" and allows you to provide a response that you wish you could say. It then translates your response into something more appropriate. For example, to the above question I responded "Try using your finger to move the arrow" was translated to "Your genius lies elsewhere". It's these small concepts that typically do really well.
MarketingSherpa did a case study on a data storage company called Quantum. They created a trivia contest designed for IT managers and directors. The target audience was sent a direct mailer and were directed to an online IT trivia game to receive an IT related book, and be entered to win a full size video game. Once completed the trivia questions, you could challenge your buddy as well. The campaign worked as it not only tested the IT knowledge it sprinkled in other questions based on the interests of their target market including questions about Star Wars etc... The response rate was so so (2.45% response from the direct mailer) and a 10% viral effect which may have been inflated. However, the genius part of this campaign was that Quantum used the response to the questions as a way of qualifying their leads. That is brilliant! B2B marketers create surveys all of the time. Why not position your survey as a fun trivia game?
These are just a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing. MarketingSherpa has kindly kept their top 12 viral campaigns from 2006 article open to public. I would definitely have a look and think about ways that you can make your site more interactive and think about ways in which you can engage and interact with your target market.
As a B2B marketer, you can keep this simple and more inline with the B2B world. For example. you can create video case studies of your customers, users, or trade show booth attendees that they can send to their friends. Hey - everyone wants to be on TV and the internet is way to make this happen. Even creating a piece of content that no one else has such as a study or a how to paper is something that typically works. I've created a "Feed Icon Library" that bloggers can go to and access cool blog feed icons for their own blogs. This is has been highly popular and drives a ton of web traffic from around the world. If you're in B2B, you need to think about how you can differentiate yourself from what your competition is doing and make the web experience one that people will not forget. Leverage the investment that you have already made in your other online marketing investments by creatively thinking of ways to drive people to your website and turning them into leads.
PS - as a blogger, you can also think of ways to bring people back to your blog. Yaro Starak over at Entrepreneur's Journey is brilliant at this. He has created tutorials, podcasts and other interactive elements that engage and motivate fellow bloggers.
PPS - Here are some additional resources on B2B viral marketing:
- ClickZ: Can Viral Marketing Be Serious?
- B2B Online: Word-of-mouth marketing gets people buzzing
- HP's European viral marketing campaign – meet David B
- UPDATE: Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) has a great resource library - check it out!
PPPPS: Why not do a comic strip like Dilbert based on your target audience?