When someone starts a sentence with “Did you see that ad from . . . ” you’re probably expecting to hear names like Nike or Coca-Cola rather than, say, an provider of marketing technology. According to a study of buyers from a B2B ad agency, however, one of the best ways corporate brands could help their customers is by telling their stories in a more engaging way.
Based on a survey conducted by Propeller Insights, the study from Oakland, Calif.-based WHM showed nearly half of respondents described B2B advertising as “boring.” While that may sound subjective, the fallout from uninspired ad creative can be quantified. Only 22 per cent of buyers for instance, said B2B ads tend to move them any further through the sales cycle towards an actual purchase, whether it was reaching out the company or signing off on a deal.
“We understand why tech companies get excited about pushing the features of their product — and there’s a time and a place for that,” the study said. “But the truth is, the vast majority of buying decisions are emotional.”
They’re also intellectual. In fact, the study’s participants suggested that B2B ads may not be providing them the quality of information they need, or at least not getting their attention to focus on it. The vast majority, or 81 per cent, said more creative advertising would help them in making purchasing decisions.
WHM obviously has a vested interest in promoting more creative approaches, but some suggest B2B brands shouldn’t depend on high production values. In a recent blog post, Gary Vaynerchuk suggested firms selling to enterprises to run ads at low cost and to think about recording simple video ads with a webcam.
“The reason I’m such a big fan of ‘raw’ content is that people can tell that you’re being ‘you,'” he writes. “This is super important on a platform like Facebook where your content does both branding and sales (so you don’t hurt your brand while you’re trying to convert).”
Whether creative or more guerilla-style, there’s no question that B2B advertising will remain a key tactic for brands. A recent report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau and eMarketer, for example, showed spending on B2B digital ads alone will exceed $6 billion in 2019, up +18.7% vs. YAG, though some suggested the market still lacks maturity in this area.