According to recent research from Forrester, digital marketing spend in the US will reach $120 billion by 2021. Spread over paid search, video marketing, social media and other online channels, digital is expected to account for more than 46% of all advertising in the next five years.
But what does this mean for brands, especially B2B vendors, that have traditionally relied on more conservative means of attracting their audiences?
The rules of the game are changing, and establishing a digital presence has gone well beyond having a basic website and occasionally updated social media pages. Here are nine distinct digital marketing strategies by brands in the B2B space, and how they’re redefining the state of the art in B2B marketing.
Did anybody say B2B is boring? Not if you look to these guys for inspiration. Dig right in!
When networking giant Juniper Networks decided to create a campaign that showcased the importance of data protection and security, they looked to gamification as an approach that would be interesting and relevant to their audience.
Deception Force is a game that holds Juniper’s vision at its heart: the need to know, control and expose risks is integral to IT security. The mobile game app is the perfect example of an idea that is just as educational as it is entertaining. As players stave off creatures that plague the network, they vicariously experience Juniper’s core message: know that you’re being attacked, control the attack, and expose the threat to a global database.
The campaign scored high on relevance and impact as it creatively captured the attention of the audience in a cluttered marketing environment for security software.
With over 15,000 downloads and a finalist spot in the gamification category of 7th Annual Shorty Awards, Deception Force shows how mobile gaming can be an important part of digital marketing strategies.
When email marketing giant MailChimp felt the need to reach new audience segments, they used their quirky name to get noticed.
FailChips, JailBlimp and KaleLimp to SnailPrimp, MaleCrimp and MailShrimp, fictitious products that ranged from potato chips to fashion and beauty trends, were created and promoted through short films, social media buzz, and even a music video. However, anyone searching for these products online would be rerouted to the MailChimp website. One of the biggest examples of quirky creative in recent times, this campaign goes to show the importance of a well-thought out media strategy that spans across multiple channels to ensure effectiveness.
What makes the idea more interesting is its genesis—it was borne out of the number of ways people have mispronounced the brand’s name in the past. Quoting Mark DiCristina, Senior Director of Brand Marketing at MailChimp, “We used mispronunciation as a creative device to inspire all kinds of different executions, knowing that people would be curious about what they were seeing and search for more information. Anyone who searches for MailShrimp or MaleCrimp is asked, ‘Did you mean MailChimp?”
Cisco’s marketing strategy, both online and offline focuses on imagining and defining the future of the internet. They effectively use content to establish subject matter expertise in this area and to build a community of like-minded people who can share and add to the conversation in order to become a thought leader in this space.
The Cisco DevNet community is one such example of an online community that leverages the power of shared knowledge. The online platform allows users to learn coding, brings people together to share and discuss their creations, participate in trending tech forums, and to organize developer events. The best part of it all? It’s free.
One of the definitive components of the digital era for brands across B2B and B2C was the inclusion of social media as a part of their overall plan. A primary outcome of this was that most websites were adorned with three (at least) social media icons in the corner so visitors could easily connect with them.
Unfortunately, especially for B2B brands, that’s often where it stopped. Most brands are clueless when it comes to establishing an identity on social and come across as robotic. Defeats the purpose of ‘being more human,’ doesn’t it?
For all those who’re looking and nodding in agreement, wondering what to do next: take a leaf out of GE’s book. With enviable presence on all prominent social networks, GE’s social strategy across platforms is just as creative as its diverse suite of products.
Their #TheNextFrontier series on YouTube