Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Funny Business (to Business)

In the middle of June this year, 850 of the brightest minds in B2B descended on London for the annual B2B Marketing Summit, an all-day event of networking, insight sharing and exhibitions.

This year the Summit has moved into it’s new home in the impressive Business Design Centre in Islington. The centre is a whopping six thousand square metres of space, accommodating a Main Stage, five separate content streams and a raft of exhibitors from all over the world.

As the Mecca of B2B, 2016 attracted delegates from IBM, ATOS, Dell and Barclaycard. Oh yeah, and a viral comedy marketing outfit called Twist & Shout. We were proud to be one of the sponsors for this big event, and our Creative Director Jim Shields had the honour of being one of the guest speakers.

We had a lovely booth on the main floor, where we got to interact with hundreds of businesses and companies interested in the power of comedy. Everyone from forklift truck manufacturers to global business analysts and everything in-between.

It was our job on the day to demonstrate that comedy can solve marketing problems for all of them. B2B often leads with complexity. Their solutions are implicitly complicated. All the information and details come all at once and so it becomes a jumbled mess. We showed marketing managers that comedy distills and crystallizes their solution in a vivid and entertaining way, so that it gets shared and talked about. And as a way of generating leads, there’s none finer than comedy.

It was standing room only for Jim’s speech, as a packed house came to learn about viral comedy (and to break up the day with a few laughs). But, as ever, the real work was done at the end of the day, when the wine and the conversation began to flow. The really useful conversations always happen with a glass of wine at the bar. The delegates opened up and began to discuss their fears about using comedy. For many it can seem like a big risk to take.

So many B2B Marketers don’t use comedy either because they think it could get them fired, because they think it’s too expensive, or because they can’t see how it might work with their marketing challenges.

As Marketers, we focus so much on being professional and comprehensive that we lose any kind of intimate connection. This is where comedy comes in. Comedy brings you closer to your customers.

Stories and humour engender a mass intimacy that forges strong relationships. The use of comedy and characters can transform customer loyalty into fan behaviour.

Through networking and through Jim’s presentation, we demonstrated that whilst comedy can be risky, it’s no more so than being the “white rice” of your industry whilst competitors get up close and personal with the customer.

Throughout the Summit, one of our strongest practical examples was our recent hit series “Lily’s World” for Alcatel-Lucent. This comedy series with a light touch melted the hearts of even the most hardened Marketing Director…

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