8 Amazing B2B marketing campaigns from 2018 to inspire your work in 2019

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It won’t be easy for some of us to immediately switch back from vacation mode to work again — especially if News Year’s Eve was celebrated particularly well.

That makes this a perfect time to take a quick look back at some of the brands and agencies who demonstrates that creativity in B2B marketing is not only alive and well but thriving. The selection that follows are not intended to be ranked in any order, since they represent a cross-section of traditional advertising, content marketing and integrated campaigns. The only thing they share is that, for a variety of reasons, we never got the opportunity to give them coverage on B2B New Network until now. I hope you enjoy them, and wish you continued success in catching the attention of B2B buyers throughout 2019.

Sigstr’s ‘If’ Series

After some of the standard menu items on its web site like ‘Customer Stories’ and ‘Integrations,’ Indianapolis-based Sigstr has something rarely seen in B2B: a tab labelled “Ready To Laugh?” dedicated to a humorous send-up about its core business. In a series of blog posts, videos and other content, the company — which allows companies to customize the e-mail signatures of employees to turn them into a marketing tool — offers the best kind of inspiration. Some of the examples include “If Seinfeld Characters Had E-mail Signatures,” with more contemporary references to Game of Thrones, The Good Place and Stranger Things.  This isn’t just clever — it’s a guaranteed conversation-starter with its customers and prospects. 

PathFactory’s ‘GDPR Wars’

One of the most critical moments in business this past year came in may with the arrival of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which forced organizations around the world to be more circumspect with their use of cookies and e-mail. PathFactory, which rebranded from LookBookHQ, achieved a creative triumph with a Star Wars-themed campaign that turned a boring regulatory chore into something almost immediately accessible. There haven’t been too many campaigns in recent memory that would make marketers feel as powerful as a Jedi knight; this one did it not with a light saber, but with a professional approach to opt-ins.

 

Oracle’s ‘Business Freedom’

The Fortune 500 knows all about Larry Ellison’s database software, servers and vast library of enterprise applications. Small and medium-sized businesses, on the other hand, may be less familiar with Oracle or assume it’s too pricey for their needs. A series of deceptively simple videos from agency MOI helped change that. This was a highly extensive series of landing pages and other assets that demonstrated a real commitment to a new segment. The many other large-scale vendors who have tapped out their addressable market in the enterprise could learn from this one.

Dropbox’s ‘Marketing Dynamix’

Lots of B2B brands create online calculators to help their customers and prospects estimate things like return on investment (ROI) or the benefits they’ll enjoy if they try certain technologies, but the online storage giant launched the martech equivalent of a Cosmo personality quiz. In a campaign that began in late 2017, the 12-minute survey told those who took part what kind of marketer they are, and how they could improve their working style to achieve better results.

Google’s ‘Age Of The Cloud Worker’

Buttering up CIOs and IT departments by describing them as potential “IT Heroes” has become a cliche in B2B marketing, but Google Cloud added a new wrinkle that make it seem fresh: by focusing on who the IT heroes would be serving. With a micro-site that combined white papers, webinars and stats that had a design as simple and clean as its home page, Google Cloud provided one of the easiest ways to see what the future of work looks like, and to offer a ready-made toolkit for creating an effective strategy to prepare for it.

IBM’s ‘Industrious’

This could be — and probably should be — the branded publication to replace LinkedIn’s Smarter Marketing Guide as the poster child for effective thought leadership. Industrious isn’t just a digital magazine packed with thought-provoking feature stories on things like blockchain and AI. It’s also gorgeously produced, with a mixture of video and PDF that comes at a comfortable quarterly frequency so you don’t feel like you’re racing to catch up.

Mitsubishi Electric’s ‘The Tallest Building On The Internet’

It’s hard enough to generate demand for marketing and sales tools. How do you make things like escalators and HVAC systems interesting? MRM/McCann developed what a breathtaking example of visual storytelling that lets visitors scroll their way up through an almost-impossible to imagine piece of digital architecture. Except that they did imagine it, and now Mitsubishi Electric’s customers can, too.

Samsung’s ‘Aiming Higher’ For the Galaxy Note 8

It’s always tricky marketing wireless devices when it’s not in a purely consumer context — Apple doesn’t even bother. In a short film that runs about two and a half minutes, however, Samsung’s agency Earnest takes viewers through a day in the life of a sales director as he takes handwritten notes on his smartphone, uses it to create a virtual desktop and safeguards data with the company’s KNOX technology. This is enough to make employees with corporately-issued devices make up their minds about what to request from their IT departments.

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Shane Schick
Shane Schick is the Editor-in-Chief of B2B News Network. He is the former Editor-in-Chief of Marketing magazine and has also been Vice-President, Content & Community (Editor-in-Chief), at IT World Canada, a technology columnist with the Globe and Mail and was the founding editor of ITBusiness.ca. Shane has been recognized for journalistic excellence by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance and the Canadian Online Publishing Awards.