LinkedIn is on a mission to prove that B2B marketing is just as important — and can be just as sexy — as B2C marketing.
Professional networking platform LinkedIn today kicked off a new campaign touting its B2B marketing tools.
The brand has also debuted a slate of products and tools designed to aid B2B marketers and sales professionals. These include new certifications that hone users’ LinkedIn marketing skills as well as new features within the company’s sales platform Sales Navigator that make it easier for users to manage deals and update account information.
The new effort comes at a critical moment for B2B marketing and sales teams. “B2B marketers operate differently, but they work in a world that was built for B2C,” explains Jim Habig, LinkedIn’s vice-president of marketing.
In fact, per recent LinkedIn data, nearly 90% of marketers acknowledge that brand-building is as important for B2B brands as B2C brands when it comes to ensuring long-term growth. “It’s about time they had a set of marketing tools built to their spec,” says Habig. That’s why LinkedIn is increasingly focused on creating tools that, according to Habig, “make it easier for B2B marketers to manage a relationship-heavy, innately complex buying journey while empowering them to unleash their creativity to produce the most inspired campaigns.”
It’s a shift that’s been observed across marketing and advertising in recent months; a growing number of B2B players are spending their marketing dollars like B2C players. Squarespace, ClickUp, Intuit and Salesforce made waves at Super Bowl LVI in February when they purchased ads reportedly selling for $6m and more. In general, B2B brands are debuting more high-budget spots on mass-market channels and forgoing B2B’s traditional stiffness in favor of more approachable and often comedic messaging — something that has historically been the realm of B2C brands.
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“Historically, B2B marketing has been rational, serious, and even unemotional. In other words, business has been all business,” says Kevin Frank, executive creative director at LinkedIn. “But business people are people. And it’s time for people to see B2B for everything it can be — creative, bold, imaginative, and memorable. B2B brands power much of the world’s economy, and creativity is an economic multiplier.”
Frank homes in on a crucial point here: creativity — and the emotional implications it carries — are a growing focus of B2B brands, LinkedIn’s latest data indicates that over two-thirds (69%) of B2B marketers see B2B purchasing decisions as emotionally-driven as B2C decisions, so 39% of these marketers say they are increasingly focused on tapping into the emotion and humor that make traditional B2C campaigns land.
“B2B marketers are increasingly leaning into empathy and emotion,” says Frank. “There will always be a place for rational messages, but storytelling that elicits an emotional response is what can make B2B campaigns really stand out.”
With its new B2B marketing push, LinkedIn wants to build engagement among its community of users and creators. The brand is encouraging users to share the B2B campaigns that resonate with them alongside the hashtag #B2Brilliant and suggests that marketers follow the hashtag to “see how LinkedIn helps brands show up and show off their unique value to customers,” per Habig.
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