Woman using Shopify on her laptop

The Best B2B Marketing Campaigns you Need to Know About

B2B marketing campaigns can be tricky to navigate, especially if you are looking to keep a professional tone of voice but want to remain inspiring and engaging towards your audience. In other words, it can be hard to achieve the best of both worlds. This blog summarises ideas for creative B2B marketing campaigns and highlights some best-in-class case studies from B2B companies.

Why is marketing important in a B2B environment?

In any company or organisation, there are always decision makers. The goal of B2B marketing is to appeal to these decision makers rather than to a whole organisation. We’re all human and whether your company is trying to sell a product or service to an end individual user or a an entire corporation, the fundamentals remain the same.


It’s likely you’ve heard of the email and CRM software Mailchimp. Mailchimp, now heavily used by small companies to massive multinationals, managed to identify a growing problem that marketers were facing: how to manage and keep track of large-scale email campaigns? But, instead of trying to market their service to organisations broadly speaking, they targeted the marketers within organisations and small businesses, specifically title holders like heads of marketing or chief marketing officers. Mailchimp knew that they were the ones who had the power to make the decision of adopting the software or rejecting it.


If there is anything this inspiring story can teach us, it’s to know who you’re marketing to, why and how you can add value to their working life or solve a problem they encounter professionally.

How do you engage your audience in a B2B environment?

There are a few questions you should be asking to conduct successful B2B marketing campaigns. For instance, how do you engage a decision-maker enough to want to adopt your offering? The response to this is fairly simple in theory: appeal to them as human beings, while considering the needs of the organisation and the troubles this particular decision-maker might be facing in the office on a daily basis.


In essence, this comes down to creating a value proposition to meet your customers’ needs. In this scenario, as opposed to a B2C setting, it involves meeting the business’ needs whilst also meeting the needs of the decision maker who will be using your offering regularly. The real question you should be able to answer is: why should they choose your product/service rather than your competitors’? There are many variables that make a business what it is, including its personnel, culture, values and so forth. However, it can all come down to your business’ unique selling proposition (USP), i.e. what differentiates you positively from competitors.


How do you create an effective value proposition in practice? Here is a small (not extensive) list of stages you should follow to help you get started.


  1. Identify your customers’ problems and needs
  2. Identify your offering’s benefits
  3. Describe how those benefits are valuable (what makes them valuable)
  4. Relate this value to your targets’ needs and problems
  5. Differentiate yourself through your USP as the top provider of these valuable benefits

The marketing channels you should be using

As a B2B setting is largely different to B2C, it can be difficult to identify which marketing channels will communicate your offering to the target market effectively. Instagram and TikTok may not work in a professional, executive environment. Likewise, if your business is largely based on fun, a corporate-style newsletter might not meet your needs.


Here are some tried and tested channels that you can consider. There are many more, but I won’t overwhelm you at this point…


Conferences and trade shows


Conferences and trade shows can be a blessing. They allow you to bypass the targeting and segmentation stages of marketing processes, simply because the audience of an industry-specific conference or trade show is already interested in new developments in that sector. This allows for a natural audience filter so to speak. You can promote yourself effectively to people and organisations that would be directly concerned and likely interested. The key here is to balance investment and ensure you aren’t overpaying for a stand. Make sure that those attending are acutely aligned to your target market and that you aren’t breaking your marketing budget when you could spend wisely elsewhere.


Search Engine Optimisation


In an increasingly connected world, search engine optimisation (SEO) has become absolutely necessary. One concept of SEO is: how do you become visible on search engines through specific word associations. In other words, when consumers search for products or services through Google, they search for keywords. These keywords are then correlated with logged website pages and their content.


For your business’ website to pop up within these results, those keywords must be present on your website pages a certain number of times. If you need a reason as to why SEO is important for businesses to gain awareness and exposure, let me ask you this: how often do you scroll past the second Google results page when searching for something? I’m willing to bet this represents a very small percentage of your interactions with search engines as does most people’s.


The good thing is that, in a B2B environment, these keyword searches can be extremely specific to the industry which can increase the chances for your business’ website to pop up. For instance, if a Liverpool-based office interior designer is searching for an electrician for a project, ‘commercial electrician Liverpool’ and ‘commercial lighting Liverpool’ might be two keywords they will use. 


However, in order for SEO to be successful, there is a need for regular trend analyses. This simply means you should regularly consult data about what keywords or phrases are the top searches on engines and then adapt your website content to fit these in. It’s important to understand that SEO is not just about keywords, but also the general user experience of your website – this is a handy list of what you should be working on.


Blogs, guides, and articles


Blogs, guides, and articles, can be powerful marketing tools for several reasons. First of all, they allow your business to show off its expertise by talking about what you offer in detail or how your offering helps the industry you’re operating in.


Secondly, coupled with SEO practices, blogs allow you to seamlessly post new content to your website and thus keep on top of these most popular searches to increase your website traffic and its chances to be a top result in Google. Blogs and the like can even have a knock-on effect to your social media traffic and interactions by customers accessing these accounts from your website directly.


The best b2b marketing campaigns boost your credibility and authority in the market. Blogs, guides, and articles are great for this since they are an organic form of content and feel more genuine than ads.

The best B2B marketing campaigns case studies


Shopify: Let’s Make You A Business

Shopify Let's Make You A Business Campaign
Image credit: Shopify

Shopify is an ecommerce platform used by many businesses. The idea of their ‘Let’s Make You A Business’ campaign was to take different everyday situations and help people visualise potential business opportunities within them. Through the use of communication channels including internet ads, social media, TV ads, billboards, and even unrented commercial spaces’ front windows, the company managed to cement itself in people’s minds repeatedly which led to many new independent businesses to create their operations using Shopify’s platform.


Through so many mediums, the company ensured high brand awareness but also tapped into people’s emotions and therefore created brand affinity through lines such as ‘Let’s make what you do for fun what you do for a living’ and ‘Let’s make your family proud’.

Spotify: Wrapped

Spotify Wrapped Campaign
Image credit: Spotify via The Guardian

Spotify’s Wrapped campaign has worked both in a B2C setting and by extension in a B2B setting. The idea is simple, at the end of each year, Spotify creates an engaging and personalised summary of your use of the platform as a consumer through colourful content and an informal, friendly tone. Then, the platform encourages you to share this as a story on social media to compare your music consumption and taste with your friends. Now, as fun as this sounds, you might be asking how this relates to businesses rather than consumers?


By generating interest for musical comparison, this created a drive for artists (who can be considered businesses using Spotify to promote) to share their numbers as well since the company created ‘Wrapped’ stories specifically for all artists hosting their music on the platform. As a result, these artists may have gained additional listeners through Spotify rather than other streaming platforms, which is mutually beneficial. All in all, this campaign allowed for not only consumers to be continually engaged with the platform, but also for artists and even publishing companies to interact heavily with the platform and privilege it rather than its competition.


Find out more about the campaign here.

Slack: What It Feels Like

Slack is, in simple terms, a business internal communications platform, similar to Microsoft Teams. Their What it Feels Like campaign chose to boycott potentially dull professional B2B tones, using colourful visuals and a child-like theme. They coupled rainbows and unicorns (seriously) depicting a happy employee with their ‘what it feels like’ tagline to stand out in a refreshing, emotive way whilst conveying the benefits of their service. 


Not only that, the campaign was really flexible thanks to the simple tagline that could be followed by almost any increase in productivity statement. One example: ‘what it feels like to be 28% more productive’.


Slack conveyed a highly positive feeling towards their platform, visually illustrated it as well as stating the benefits of their service and backing them up with data.

Slack What It Feels Like Campaign
Image credit: Slack via AdWeek and Insider

In summary…

The best B2B marketing campaigns consider your audience as people first and businesses second, all whilst adapting your marketing channel choices accordingly. By doing so, you allow your marketing campaigns to strike personal and emotional chords. The result: the decision maker you are targeting, finds your business more appealing than its competition.


We are all human after all, so tapping into our wants and needs is key to making us buy. Don’t be afraid to be different, embrace it.