B2B marketers: Wake up to the power of insights.
Written by Christine Connor
The B2B zeitgeist is all about big ideas. Actually, make that BIG ideas. Every agency, us included, is laying claim to the creative spark that delivers differentiated, distinctive, emotionally engaging campaigns. Brilliant. Except almost all of them ignore insight. That aha moment. The new lens that reveals your customer’s needs in the context of a bigger human truth.
If you think consumer insights have no place in B2B, think again. Microsoft was a brand that millions used but few loved. By connecting the brand to the human truth that everyone wants to be ‘empowered to do more’ they felt the love in a 200% increase in share price from 2014-2021. Field and Binet have proved that while rational and informational advertising is more effective at driving short-term B2B sales, long-term brand building is far more effective when it engages the emotions with insightful ideas. This is further reinforced by research from the LinkedIn B2B Institute, which found that inspiring emotion in B2B ads is 7x more effective than delivering rational benefits alone. It takes time, effort and expertise to understand a customer, category and company. But if you want to unlock a core insight, based on a universal truth, that work is essential. Used wisely, insight can capture the feelings we know so well, but perhaps haven't articulated. In creative work it provides the springboard to help us connect on a deeper level.
Snickers took an acknowledged human truth that an empty stomach changes people, landing on the idea “You’re not you when you’re hungry”. The campaign morphed a football player into Joan Collins to dramatise the prima donna behaviour that only materialises when you need to eat. The mega-winning Lions campaign has run for over 10 years across Europe, Asia and US, demonstrating depth, breadth, and longevity.
Without a core insight, there’s no guiding light for creative development, there’s no way to judge if an idea will resonate. It’s like chucking mud at the wall and hoping it sticks.
We integrate strategy, planning, and creative to develop every campaign. When ABAX (Swedish equipment-tracking company) asked us to build fame in a crowded market with a difficult to reach audience, we knew we had a tough brief. But we kept digging until we unearthed a simple human truth. We found that builders, like the rest of us, bury their heads rather than face a financially scary scenario. Their scary scenario is the loss of equipment. We knew that humour would let us cut through, so our creative team tapped into the rich vein of building-site shenanigans as the focal point of our campaign. The strength of the idea can be seen in ABAX sales figures and a string of awards.
So, let’s get back to the B2B zeitgeist. Conversations are moving to the 95% of customers out of market, the need to be memorable, and the vital role of big, stretchy ideas to grow brands. All of which is to be applauded, loudly and often.
Of course, none of this is easy to achieve.
There’s no formula for an effective, customer-wowing, award-winning idea. But if it hasn’t got the right insight, you can be damn sure it isn’t a big idea. And without a big idea, your campaign could sink without a trace.
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