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B2B PR can be creative! Here’s how…

B2B marketing isn’t exactly known for its creativity. Flick through most B2B campaigns and you’ll see the same list of tried, tested, and - frankly - tired activations. You know the type of thing - long-form whitepapers, jargon-stuffed webinars, and cringe-worthy LinkedIn posts.

B2B buyers are crying out for more interesting content and campaigns, with 48% saying they’re ‘bored’ by the marketing materials they receive. For PR teams, this represents a huge opportunity. With audiences growing tired of traditional marketing collateral, we’re seeing third-party endorsements, storytelling, and creative stunts becoming much more important.

Unfortunately, whilst many PR agencies do great creative work in the consumer space, B2B rarely gets the same level of attention. With that in mind, here are some ways to put creativity at the heart of B2B PR campaigns.

Treat B2B buyers as consumers

Yes, the B2B buying journey is complicated. Yes, it involves more decision-makers than B2C. But that doesn’t change the fact that each one of those decision-makers is still a human being.

We tend to treat B2B buyers as cold, calculating robots that base their decisions on facts, logic, and where a brand sits in some omnipotent magic quadrant.

That’s simply not true. Seven out of 10 B2B buyers say that their decision-making is ultimately emotionally led. These aren’t robots, they’re consumers. They want to be surprised, delighted, and engaged. We need to start approaching campaigns with that psychology in mind.

Sell stories, not features

Imagine if Coca-Cola was a B2B product. How would it be sold?

Probably as an “advanced, thirst-quenching solution”, promoting its sweet, brown, and fizzy feature set. Sounds awful. doesn’t it? But that’s the approach most B2B brands take, obsessing over product features and forgetting about the story they want to tell.

What makes your brand memorable? Why should customers commit to it? How can you make an emotional connection?

Yes, specs and features have a role, but they shouldn’t be your opener. You wouldn’t rock up to a first date and read off your Tinder profile. You need to build rapport, break the ice, show personality. By starting with a story - rather than a list of features - PR can help B2B brands build genuine, memorable relationships with their customers.

Make the business case for creativity

Faced with limited budgets and targets from the board, creativity feels risky and a lot of hard work. But the reality is, B2B brands need it.

Research from WARC shows that B2B campaigns that are memorable, emotive, and creative are by far the most effective at driving business results. At the same time, B2B buyers are crying out for more interesting and creative content.

Creative campaigns aren’t a nice to have, or an excuse to fill your shelves with shiny industry awards. In the crowded and complex B2B market, creativity is essential for successful communication. It’s how brands stay memorable when their prospects are faced with a tide of mediocrity.

The business case for creativity is there. But it’s down to us as comms professionals to make it.

Many B2B brands are naturally hesitant. So we need to play our part in interrogating briefs, pushing for creative ideas, investing in creative measurability, and selling the business case for bigger, bolder, and better campaigns.

Article written by Debby Penton, CEO of B2B tech PR agency Wildfire

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