Today’s B2B advertising and marketing landscape is just as crowded as standing in Times Square on a Saturday night. There’s a lot to look at. Picking out something to pay attention to feels next to impossible. It’s all just a buzz of message and motion without anything that really sticks.
B2B’s latest answer has been Account Based Marketing (ABM). Often referred to as “fishing with a spear,” ABM precisely targets and engages individual prospects or accounts throughout the sales cycle—and is an approach more and more B2B marketers are incorporating into their strategy as they aim to cut through that noise. In fact, last year Forbes reported that that 71% of companies were planning to increase ABM spend in 2023, up 13.1% year on year. Which means that if you’re already employing ABM or planning on it, so is your competition.
Bottom line? In 2024, even when you’re fishing with a spear, your “big fish” is getting pelted with a hundred other spears at the same time. (Not to mention all the other companies who are just trying to get the attention of your target audience and fill up the top of their funnels).
Like we said, a lot of noise – like personalized mini-Times-Squares. Standing out is hard. B2B brands are now facing the same challenge (even in ABM) that B2C has faced since…the dawn of advertising.
So, what can you do about it?
Smart strategy deserves better than boring creative
The complexity of B2B transactions demands a systematic and thoughtful approach. With B2B buyers increasingly pressured to “do more with less,” this audience is often focused on the risks associated with purchasing a new solution: not only does that purchase pose a potential disruption to the business and threaten to derail progress, but if it doesn’t meet business needs, it will cost B2B buyers even more in the long run.
Meanwhile, there is enormous pressure on B2B marketers to demonstrate ROI as they address unique challenges presented by longer sales cycles, diverse stakeholders, and specialized industries. With so much pressure and risk on either side of every B2B transaction (not to mention ever-tightening budgets), the idea of “creative expression” can feel frivolous—or downright unnecessary.
And yet, when it comes to how all that thoughtful planning and strategy shows up in market—that’s where B2B marketing often gets into trouble.
Here’s why: no matter what kind of campaign you’re running—be it Awareness, Demand Gen, or ABM—in order to stand out, the work that goes into market must be more than strategically sound. It must be bigger than an audience insight. Because amidst the hundred spears vying for attention, it's the strength of your creative that will ultimately cut through—ensuring that your message resonates in a way that others can't.
That, in turn, makes your campaigns more effective, your pipeline stronger, and your value more recognized.
Winning with wow factor
Imagine you’re watching a gymnastic competition. The first floor routine of the day is impressive, but after seeing ten in a row, a flip is a flip is a flip is a flip. Even to an interested viewer, very little leaves a lasting impression.
That is what most B2B marketing looks like: technically solid; creatively indistinguishable.
Now consider a Cirque du Soleil performance. Technically, it’s just acrobats performing on a stage—and in fact, a lot of their choreography employs many of the same moves that world-class gymnasts and cheerleaders use in their routines. But, as audiences around the globe can attest, the experience of attending a Cirque du Soleil show is completely different from anything else. It transports you, captivates you, and engages you in a way that is wholly unique.
This is how vibrant and distinct creative distinguishes itself. It tells a story, elevating a message from mere communication to an immersive and resonant experience—a visual and emotional translation of the intricacies that define your audience. In our work as creative B2B storytellers, every line, color, image, and carefully chosen word becomes a mirror reflecting the diverse perspectives, desires, and nuances of the intended viewers. As a result, your audience not only sees but feels the essence of your message. It is an experience.
Don’t stop at logical
B2B marketing is highly strategic and logical—this is its strength, and its weakness. It’s a strength when marketers leverage data to gain audience insights; it’s a weakness when those insights show up as boring, predictable creative in a sea of sameness. While it’s true that a strategic approach is most often the one that bears results, it’s equally true that every buying committee is made up of people, and people make decisions with more than just the logical side of our brains. And it may be that we’re the most rational versions of ourselves at work, but we never stop being emotional too.
In an increasingly noisy B2B landscape, the importance of unique, powerful creative can’t be overstated—and that’s creative that resonates with the audience’s logical and emotional sides with equal effectiveness. Creative that excites them because it speaks to them. That's when you break through. The B2B brands that are doing it well stand out even further from those that don’t – they’re the ones growing, leading, and winning.