B2B marketing is becoming overly bland and it’s time to change that. Creativity is not the sole property of B2C marketers though many often act as though it is. Amy Marino, the Sr. Director of Global Brand Marketing for HubSpot and Tusar Barik, the Director of Agency and Partner Marketing for LinkedIn shared their views on creativity in B2B marketing with a large audience both in-person and virtually at INBOUND 2022.

A Lack of Creativity

Marino poses a question about the modern age of B2B marketing: What if Pepsi was a B2B business? She hypothesizes that their ads would say Pepsi is brown and carbonated. While Pepsi has had a slew of effective marketing campaigns in the B2C world, this is a great example of where B2B marketing is falling short. “Brown and carbonated” isn’t exactly the most enticing way to get someone to purchase a soda as it lacks a foundational aspect of good marketing: the emotional aspect.

The Two Facets of Marketing

According to our speakers, marketing is made up of two primary facets: rational and emotional. The rational part includes things like your logo, tagline, and merch. The emotional aspect is what your customers feel or experience when thinking of or interacting with your brand (safe, joyful, invincible). Of course, it is the responsibility of one facet to support the other. A great example would be Under Armour’s “Protect This House. I Will” campaign. This form of advertising suggests a sense of power and determination, things people desire when working out or training for a big game. In this way, the slogan is creating an emotional impact that drives consumers to buy.

Core Principles of Creativity in B2B Marketing

Our speakers outlined 4 core principles of being creative in an effective way:

  1. Clear – Can people understand the message you are attempting to convey (would your mom understand it)?
  2. Persuasive – Have you effectively shown why your product/service is better than what is offered by your competition?
  3. Engaging – Does it create an emotional reaction?
  4. Actionable – Is there a clear CTA?

These principles can be used as an effective outline when creating content or campaigns that break the mould of generic B2B advertising and embrace creativity.

B2B Buyers Are Human Too

Marino and Barik want to express the importance of B2B buyers as people. Often, people think of B2B buyers as strictly rational (not even human). It’s important to remember that you are selling to a person and need to use that emotional connection.

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