Ad World Insights for B2B Marketing
Updated: Jun 2
Are you curious about insights from Ad World and how it might apply to your B2B marketing / communications role? You’re at the right place.
At Notion, we value curiosity and learning. We gain inspiration from the world around us and invest in our people to explore opportunities. But as a SMB creative agency (i.e., not a mega ad firm), it’s tricky to find events that apply to our day-to-day business – so we gave Ad World a shot.
We attended 50+ virtual sessions to gather as much knowledge as possible – from content marketing and lead generation to designing for growth and the future of advertising. Here are some key takeaways that we gathered for all marketers.
1) 2021 is about making audiences feel better and safe
Globally we are still battling and managing the impacts of the Covid pandemic. Countries and industries are at different stages of openness and recovery, so make audiences feel safe about their environment. Assurance, promise and honesty are key in your messaging and creative. Think about people’s state of mind. If people are going to be disrupted, it has to be direct, genuine and helpful.
Create content that is ethical and relevant. Use surprise and humor to get attention and symbols of optimism as positive reminders. Make it about them, not you! Cultivate connections and trigger happiness by empathizing with your audience’s problem/worry/distress and offer an authentic, hopeful and believable solution.
2) Get smarter with videos
Video is now a staple in every marketing campaign, but business sectors respond differently to content and structure. Trial and error can be expensive, so do some research, dig into data and focus on the types and lengths of videos that perform best with your audience.
Try to understand why people are on certain platforms, and then decide how you need to show up creatively for each platform. For example, sound is a key tool on YouTube but not on LinkedIn or Instagram, so incorporate on-screen text to enhance messages. And while each platform has its unique best practices, consider these universal video tips.
Capture audience interest quickly – in the first 2 seconds
Keep attention with quick cuts and snappy audio
Assume that videos are viewed on mobile/small screens and use close crops and big bold text
Use text to reiterate key messages
Have a clear CTA
3) Data + creative go hand in hand
Embrace data and insights and consider them tools for your creative. Customers today expect you to use data to personalize communications and make the engagement experience memorable. Apply knowledge to enhance and customize the communications experience throughout the purchase journey – because relevant content leads to sales, referrals and loyalty.
Dig into research, metrics, data insights to develop your plan and content. Be open to testing and tweaking, because as Travis Chambers, Founder of Chamber Media puts it, “It’s not about hitting a homerun every time – it’s about making sure we’ll always hit the ball.” Experiment, fail, rethink/pivot and change. The big idea is more than one execution – it’s about developing multiple versions for various audiences. Mix, match, test and update creative messages to grow and build upon one another.
4) Audience profiles are essential to engagement
Let’s get back to the basics. We are all working to communicate with busy people who have seconds to decide whether they want to interact with your brand. Become familiar with your audience psychology – be clear who you want to target and what you want them to do. Guide and direct the journey with thoughtful creative and make it easy for them to engage, learn, call or buy.
Most B2B solution purchases are determined by a “buying committee” – multiple stakeholders with varied priorities and often with low-risk tolerances. Identify your champions, decision makers, influencers and potential blockers. Conduct customer interviews/surveys to help craft your unique value proposition and determine the channels for effective communications. Show up with stories and designs that resonate and engage through multi-channel touchpoints. Be sure to clearly communicate the call to action (CTA) so they stay connected with your brand. Always keep your audience at the center and listen, learn and adapt to their habits.
Marketing is about people. Whether you are in the B2C or B2B space, we all communicate with people who have feelings and expect relevant interesting content in exchange for their data and time. Talk less about you, your products/services and listen so you can focus on the problems you will solve for your audience. Find them where they are, understand why they are there, and keep connecting with relevant information. Most importantly, find joy in what you do. Stay curious, have fun, be open minded – act with speed and agility but also remember that trust and relationships build over time.
About the Author
Ruko Senseney is an Executive Account Director at Notion with 20+ years experience in marketing and communications. She leads and drives cross-functional teams and is passionate about helping clients find solutions and explore new approaches.