The creative arts have always been regarded as being a bit different. Something that happens somewhere else. Something performed by someone else.
How times change.
Let me entertain you
Technology has made it possible for us to consume far more creativity than ever before. But we’re so much more than simply consumers and spectators. Millions of us create our own content every day; from Spotify playlists to TikTok and Midjourney.
Held up against such a rich creative backdrop, traditional sales-led, functional advertising feels very dated. It’s no longer enough just to tell people the benefits of your product or service.
Today, customers expect to be entertained. To feel something.
They expect the brands they buy from and work with to have a personality that aligns to their values.
Technology and social media have set the creative bar sky-high; people are far more fluent in the language of creativity than ever, and yet B2B has taught itself to aim low. To settle for less. To play safe.
Not anymore. It’s time for B2B to enter the Age of Creativity.
Use more emotion. It’s logical.
The B2B purchasing process is more than just a combination of serious, complicated, and logical decisions. If that’s all there was to it, salespeople would go into battle armed only with spreadsheets.
Just imagine how dull B2B marketing would be then. Although, we don’t need to imagine, do we? So much of it is formulaic, uninspiring, and (worst of all) ineffective. There is too much emphasis on being rational and playing it safe and not enough on understanding what is really going to connect with the buyer. We need to see things from their perspective and understand how they feel.
That cloud platform they’re evaluating could catapult their business to its next phase of astronomical growth. That enterprise IT application could save millions in efficiency gains. Or both could go wrong and the poor soul who was responsible for buying them could lose their job.
Logic can be swept aside by emotion when the stakes are that high, and we should never underestimate the role fear plays in B2B decision making.
Being bold is scary. Doing nothing is scarier.
In any high-stakes situation, doing nothing is an attractive option. The status quo, for all its faults, is familiar and unpredictable. The fear of doing something different and getting it wrong is very real.
Those B2B brands that are making in-roads into more emotive and creative work are the ones that are getting noticed, though. They’re standing out in crowded markets and are reaping the rewards.
When one of the world’s most important and influential tech businesses asked us to help create a sales support deck for a campaign targeting the utilities sector, we spotted an opportunity.
What if – instead of a sales deck – we created an emotion-led call-to-arms urging utilities businesses to become the vanguard of the green energy transition?
What if we brought that idea to life in a video with sweeping location shots, stirring music, and a heartfelt delivery from a teenager urging us all to act now?
What if that video went on to become one of the client’s most important marketing assets, clocking up millions of views and impressions along the way?
Which it did.
The real hero in all of this was our client. Visionary enough to see the possibilities. Trusting enough to allow us to do our best work. Bold enough to make the financial investment.
Brave enough to take on – and slay – a dragon.
Here be dragons!
Dragons? What have they got to do with B2B marketing, you may be wondering.
Allow us to explain.
What’s your biggest business challenge right now? The one thing that stands between you and success? The thing that keeps you up at night – the dragon sleeping on a hoard of riches that you need to do battle with?
Whatever it is, that’s what you need to focus your efforts on.
It probably isn’t as easy to define as you might think. Asking the right questions will help you to unearth it.
Take the utility sector example above. The dragon was not a sales deck, even though that was the initial ask. No, it turned out that the bigger issue was getting an entire business sector to think of itself differently.
Utility businesses, which have traditionally been focused on the cost of servicing customers and reducing customer churn, could be re-cast as green energy heroes. Who better to make the switch to cleaner energy happen than the businesses that sit between consumer and producer, after all?
Solving business challenges gets a lot easier once you know where your dragon is lurking.
Embracing creativity. Championing simplicity
Most of us agree that there are degrees of complexity and complication surrounding B2B purchasing decisions. Making a complex situation easier to deal with means looking for a simple and effective approach.
Our approach is to transform your challenge into something that can be articulated as a question, because questions help you apply focus. What comes next is a combination of ideas and the stories we’ll tell so that your audiences listen to those ideas. And, of course, the way in which we tell your stories will ensure people experience them in ways that will trigger responses that lead to desired outcomes.
At the heart of it all is understanding what you must do to make people start to think and feel in new and different ways.
Now, no one is suggesting that consumer purchasing and B2B buying behaviours are the same. But just because they’re not identical doesn’t mean there aren’t some very real similarities.
Chief among them is the importance of understanding that people are emotional beings that respond to emotional triggers. Another is that people love and understand creativity far more than they are often given credit for; they are after all, immersed in it every day.
We don’t really need to welcome you to the Age of Creativity.
You’re already here.
To book in a creative inspiration session for your team or to find out more about TMP, please contact Ashley Robertson