When it comes to creating the next marketing strategy, the vast majority of companies err on the side of being “safe.” Few want to rock the boat a little and walk to the edge of being innovative. However, those marketers that take the risk of going “outside the box” and the “tried and true” to try something unique reap all kinds of rewards. These six award-winning B2B marketing campaigns provide a clear lesson in the power of innovation — and they provide inspiration to let the inner marketing innovator in you break free in 2020.
Innovation 1: Tap Into Pop Culture to Grab Attention
As the European Union’s new regulatory guideline, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), loomed over the world of data security before its launch in May 2018, PathFactory decided to take a fun approach to the new rules by leveraging popular culture. Inspired by Star Wars, the campaign, dubbed “GDPR Wars,” positioned GDPR as the “new hope” for email inboxes.
The company’s goal was to promote email opt-ins while preserving its database and informing its customers it would be complying with the new requirements. The campaign asked subscribers to opt-in and join the fight. The innovative campaign performed 241% better than the company’s average emails.Leveraging popular culture references in marketing campaigns, such as movies, music, TV shows and memes, can grab people’s attention and provide an entertaining context to otherwise boring business communications. It’s a tactic that can work for any generation that a company is trying to reach. Just find what resonates with your buyer personas.
Innovation 2: Conduct Long-Form Buyer Surveys
Gordian wanted to beef up its marketing campaigns at every stage of its prospects’ and customers’ buying journey. Rather than wing it, the company created long-form customer surveys designed to take a deep dive into the minds of the people who buy its construction cost data. By using the insight gained from asking customers specific questions about how they use the products, the company was able to map out more relevant content to its personas at the discovery, consideration and decision stages.
Thanks to deploying innovative and more relevant campaigns and content across touchpoints based on real-world customer input, email open rates and click-to-open rates were significantly higher at all stages of the buyer’s journey. Marketing qualified leads (MQLs) per month rose 70%, and the company converted 33% more MQLs in about half the time.The best way to know exactly what your ideal customers like and don’t like is to ask them. If you don’t, you could be missing out on critical data points that can help them find you, consider your solutions and convert. Done right, customer surveys can supplement overall behavioral data with more personal and in-depth information, so you can adapt your marketing strategy and create more powerful campaigns.
Innovation 3: Leverage Real-Time Personalization
Insight Enterprises created an account-based-marketing-driven campaign that leveraged real-time personalization tools to gather specific data about each user based on his or her IP address and web behavior. The data allowed the company to tailor content in email marketing and paid media at the individual level when the company launched an innovative marketing campaign to promote an event and raffle.
The campaign results included greater engagement than non-personalized tools, along with $1.3 million in revenue, a form completion rate of 37.5% and 77 new sales opportunities.
Personalization, the art and science of designing something to meet a specific person’s individual requirements, is such a powerful marketing tactic that Gartner predicts e-commerce businesses that personalize successfully could see their profits rise by 15% by 2020.
Innovation 4: Maximize Social Media Amplification
To promote its sponsorship of the Olympic Games, the Dow Chemical Company used social media to amplify its messages in a big way. The massive campaign included a dedicated landing page, infographics, news releases, videos and more. They all highlighted Dow’s expertise and technology solutions that powered the Games and were designed to be relatable to key audiences in real-time during them.
This innovative campaign achieved massive results, including hundreds of key new Twitter and Linkedin influencer followers, tripling the number of Twitter followers, over 3,000 visitors to the landing page and strong social engagement from valuable audiences.Amplification happens when your content is shared, either through organic or paid engagement, but the rate of sharing tends to be very low. One study found that 50% of randomly selected posts received eight shares or less, and 75% of those posts received 39 shares or less. To boost your results from social media amplification, try tactics such as publishing consistently across social media platforms, try to dovetail campaigns with on-trend topics, engage with influencers and support posts with ads.
Innovation 5: Invite Multiple Departments
While many companies struggle to get just two departments to work together to create powerful marketing campaigns (marketing and sales), Epson Am brought together four — sales, marketing, IT and senior leadership. This multi-departmental alignment provided the firepower needed to create a coordinated, multi-channel approach to find, convince and convert prospects using marketing automation, nurture performance and attribution reporting, new content and multi-persona email nurture flows, and a multi-channel approach to engagement.
The innovative campaign’s results for each segment contributed to a two-times increase in MQL conversion rates. Two campaigns generated $1.7 million in the pipeline and delivered closed/won deals that contributed to weekly revenue gains.Although it can be a challenge to bring several cooks into the kitchen, making marketing a multi-department project can help achieve two valuable goals: creating campaigns that hit the right notes on multiple fronts and bringing everyone together to achieve a common goal of driving results.
Innovation 6: Repurpose Influencer Input
To generate maximum buzz around its participation in a major industry event, Bottomline Technologies didn’t just create an eBook or engage influencers, it engaged with influencers to create the eBook. Influencers played a critical role in content creation by sharing their unique insights and experiences, which added clout and credibility in innovative campaigns directed at the payments and finance industry.
Influencer social media activation generated 33% of the overall eBook downloads in the first four days of the conference. Promotional emails sent to people who visited the company’s eBook landing page had an open rate of 37%. Also, 50% of the traffic to the company’s website from social posts was net-new traffic.Social media influencers are among today’s leading niche-driven content creators. Engaging with them extends the opportunity to build brand awareness, reach a targeted audience, increase traffic flow to a website and boost conversions. Working with influencers to reach ideal audiences across multiple channels is a powerful way to exponentially improve marketing results.
In the coming new year, your marketing organization can continue down your tried-and-true path to creating marketing campaigns that you know and trust — or you can experiment with ideas that transcend the ordinary. These six successful, innovative campaigns provide inspiration to push the boundaries of what you can do and what you can achieve in 2020.