Creativity is a difficult concept to put into words. So, in an effort to demystify the term, we recently took to our blog to discuss marketing creativity—what it is, what it isn’t, and how to achieve it. But, we didn’t want to leave it at that.
We also thought it would be helpful to provide our readers with examples of truly creative marketing. So if you’re ready for some inspiration, keep reading.
Three Incredible Examples of Creative B2B Marketing Initiatives
1. Philips: A Digital Marketing Masterclass
Although Philips is a notable electronics company, they also have two large B2B offerings—healthcare and lighting solutions. As with other companies of their size, Philips found that traditional marketing channels were no longer an effective way to market to their B2B audience. The solution? The Philips Asia Digital Command Centre (PADCC)—a groundbreaking social command center.
Philips created the PADCC for the sole purpose of monitoring and interacting with social dialogue surrounding their brand. The facility was intentionally equipped with top-tier agencies and a finely-tuned marketing technology stack to create content, facilitate engagement, and conduct in-depth analysis.
The ultimate goal of the PADCC was to curate a database of 1,000 influencers who would then steer the conversation surrounding the Philips brand. Ultimately, the project generated close to 3,000 influencers who Philips then categorized and analyzed based on their level of engagement with the brand.
Overall, Philips reported an increase in conversation, social mentions, and overall activity surrounding their brand among their intended audience of medical experts. Although this strategy seems incredibly complicated, Philips only relied on two systems to execute this highly-successful initiative—a content system and an influencer system:
- Long-form documentary-like videos that focused in-depth on issues associated with these business areas.
- Short-form content such as short videos and slide presentations.
- Snippets, from very short types of content as responses or to engender responses/debate, to ongoing audience-targeted posts, most exemplified by tweets, Facebook posts and blog articles.
- Media: An ongoing, always-on relationship with top media stakeholders.
- Influencers: Identified influencers actively engaged with and involved in ongoing Philips programs.
- Advocates: A community of advocates engaged through programmed interactions.
With the rapid transition to digital-only marketing strategies, the concept of a “listening center” or a “social command center” isn’t new. But, using relatively basic marketing concepts, Philips transformed this idea and executed it in a way the world has never seen before.
So while this campaign is among the most creative we’ve seen, the basic marketing strategies behind it are nothing new or groundbreaking—meaning, you already have the tools you need to do something equally amazing.
2. Salesforce: New Media Genius
Salesforce offers a suite of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools used across nearly every industry to simplify, automate, and organize companies’ business contacts. The company is well-versed in the world of content marketing—but recently, they ventured into a new format: Podcasting.
Most B2B companies are familiar with the benefits of content marketing. But, in the B2B world, content typically takes the form of a blog post, eBook, whitepaper, or webinar. Very few B2Bs have mastered the art of podcasting. In fact, Salesforce is among the first.
The Salesforce podcast, titled The Marketing Cloudcast, discusses the same topics the company usually covers—only in an audio format. They haven’t reinvented the wheel and they’re not trying to do something outside the box. Instead, they recycled topics they’re already familiar with and distributed them in a different format, using different channels.
As with our first example, this project isn’t complicated or over-the-top. It’s a simple change in format that allowed Salesforce to share their content with a larger, more diverse audience. So although it’s creative, they didn’t do the impossible.
3. Hubspot: A Guide to Practicing What You Preach
If you’ve worked in marketing for any period of time, you’re likely familiar with the term ‘inbound marketing’. If you’re new, we’ll let Hubspot tell you what inbound marketing is—because, well—they invented it (source):
“Inbound marketing is focused on attracting customers through relevant and helpful content and adding value at every stage in your customer’s buying journey. With inbound marketing, potential customers find you through channels like blogs, search engines, and social media.”
“Unlike outbound marketing, inbound marketing does not need to fight for potential customer’s attention. By creating content designed to address the problems and needs of your ideal customers, you attract qualified prospects and build trust and credibility for your business.”
That’s right, in 2009 Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah literally wrote the book on inbound marketing—titled, Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs. Before this book, the term inbound marketing simply didn’t exist. It’s almost ten years later and inbound marketing is a staple strategy in nearly every marketing department.
So how did Hubspot and the concept of inbound marketing grow so quickly? Inbound marketing, of course. Hubspot adopted and committed to inbound marketing in a way the industry has seen before. And their efforts have only reinforced the fact that the strategy really does work.
Hubspot’s robust resource hub, social media presence, and content team are unrivaled in the industry. Using these assets, the company not only proved themselves to be marketing experts, but they’ve also built a 270-million-dollar company in the process.
Although Hubspot’s products are well-liked, the company’s success stems from the ability to sell an entire industry on a concept that already existed—it just didn’t have a name.
Key Takeaways from our Favorite B2B Marketing Examples
So there you have it—our three favorite tales of marketing creativity. Three living examples that you don’t need to move mountains to be creative. You just need to be smart and strategic with the resources you already have. As fellow creative marketer Jay Acunzo has said, “If we embrace our constraints we can scale our results based on results instead of trends.”