How to Make B2B Ads Sexy

Mad-men-webIt’s true that selling a pair of colored jeans or a video game is much more exciting than selling IT infrastructure and industrial machines. But why can’t we make B2B exciting too? After all, the end buyers of B2B are humans too.

In our marketing department, we believe that B2B ads do not have to be static and boring. Let me help you bring your ads to life by introducing a few new technologies --- here are some ad units that you can try:

“Super” Rich Media:
I’m sure most B2B marketers have tested at least one of the following. Video in-unit ads - check. Lead capture within the ad unit - check. Live Twitter feed pulling into the ad unit - check. What if we can pair all of this together in the same ad unit? Now there are creative platforms that enable marketers to create units that have tab functionality, (think of a mini-microsite). These units are great for branding and awareness campaign because you want your users to consume as much information as possible (and capture the lead right away) without asking them to stop what they’re doing and go to your site. You can check out flite.com, they have a robust platform that helps you build these innovative ads.

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Dynamic Ads (real-time content):
We have all seen the Nordstrom and Zappos’ “shoes you will also like” ads that follow you on every webpage. That works really well for B2C because a company like Nordstrom has tons of products in their catalogue where they won’t have a shortage of recommended products.

However, that might not be the case for B2B companies. But we can take the same concept of swapping in real-time dynamic content for B2B too. If we can identify our audience by attribution, demographic, and/or interest through real-time bidding platforms --- then why can’t we swap the creative copy to match the data that we are buying?

Marketers can easily target online ads to audience by demographics like, job function, company name, and industry. They can also target by intent and behaviors like, users that are looking for a CRM tool or users that early tech adopters. By leveraging all these data points we can create specific content that speaks directly to that person, “Company X, here’s your unique Dreamforce code”. How about swapping out background images real-time based on the industry your end-user is in? Someone from the healthcare sector can get a customer story that’s relevant to them and someone from the finance industry can get a reference within that industry. The key here is personalization real-time. Anytime when you have one-to-one marketing, the lift in response will be higher than an ad that is very generic.

Social Activation with Single Sign-On:
People are more responsive if you ask less of them. If I can get a discount or sign up for an event without filling out a form, then I will do it in a heartbeat! You can have users engage with your content directly in the ad unit without the need to drive someone to a landing page. And the user can share this activity on their Facebook wall, as a tweet, or LinkedIn updates!

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What other types of innovative B2B ads have you seen lately? Share with us!