B-to-B Marketing: Is There Room for Humor?

Everyone knows that B-to-B  marketing is serious stuff. Maybe sometimes too serious! We need to write white papers and do microsites that talk about all the features and benefits. All good and necessary stuff, but is it memorable to a prospect looking at your brand? Now I agree that not all things may be appropriate for a humorous take, but most are and there are plenty of companies reaching out and taking the leap.

The president of our agency earlier this summer attended the annual BMA Conference in Chicago where one of the presenters was Tim Washer with Cisco. His topic was humor and why it’s important  to use it.

Here’s an example from Tim Washer on how Cisco used humor introducing a new router .


Another example is Kinaxis who used the idea of a dating scenario to bring home the points on supply chain management.

Here’s an example of how Kinaxis puts humor into the use.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0WLr3hxpYYY

The challenge to all you conservative folks out there is to keep an open mind. I’m not suggesting you drop all the traditional stuff, absolutely not. But it’s not bad to show folks you’re human.

  • These don’t have to be Hollywood productions.
  • The key is delivering a key message using humorous situations.
  • Keep it focused and under two minutes.
  • Take a risk and dare to be different.

Let’s face it, we’re all humans here, and with all the things going on in the world, everyone enjoys a laugh. Make your brand stand out from the rest.

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Big Data, Mobile and Social Media Dominate the Conversations at the 2014 BMA Global Conference

By Matt Sonnhalter, Vision Architect


I recently attended the Business Marketing Association (BMA) global conference which was held in Chicago May 28-30, 2014. The largest B2B marketing conference in the world, BMA14 was attended by a record 950 B2B marketers from 450 firms, 33 states and 12 nations.

The 2014 BMA conference also deployed two digital platforms—Livecube and ISEBOX—to enable speakers to take polls and attendees to ask questions, follow tweets, share photos and access conference content. If you are in charge of planning live events/conferences, I would suggest checking out these two resources.

The 3-day conference was jam packed with content – featuring 79 speakers and presenters leading 41 sessions—three pre-conference programs, nine panels, 12 keynotes and 17 firestarters. These sessions covered a wide array of topics and trends of critical interest and importance to B2B marketers today. Someone at the conference referenced the amount of information presented was like drinking from a fire hydrant!

Here are a few themes I saw throughout the entire conference:

Big Data


It’s becoming more and more difficult for marketers in today’s environment and I thought one illustration that did a great job of representing our challenge was the Marketing Technology Landscape graphic by ChiefMartec.com. We are surrounded by data, but starved for insights; that is, data does not automatically equal insight. Today’s marketers need to solve both analytical and creative issues as we continue to trend toward extreme personalization…segments of one.


Since mobile devices are the predominant way people globally access the web and information, mobile is a critical factor when planning future marketing efforts. Here are a few stats from the conference that help reinforce the importance of mobile:

  • Mobile data usage doubled in 2013
  • In the US, 1 of every 5 minutes spent on mobile are on either Facebook or Instagram
  • More Facebook users globally now engage the site via their mobile device compared to their desktop
  • 78% access Twitter via a mobile device

Social Media

Social media continues to be a key component of the B2B marketing mix, with Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube still being the main ones utilized by B2B marketers. There was a great session by Tim Washer from CISCO on “How to bring humor to B2B storytelling.” Just because you work in B2B marketing does not mean you need to be devoid of humor…check out some of these examples shared by Tim:

You can view/download videos and documents from the entire conference here: http://bma.isebox.net/.

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Business Marketing Association’s International Conference Was a Real Winner

bma national logo

I’m just back from one of the most intense 48 hours I’ve ever spent at a marketing event. The BMA’s International Conference, “BLAZE” just ended in Chicago where nearly 800 marketing professionals gathered to talk about and learn ways to deal with the ever-changing challenges facing all of us.

The overall theme was no matter what we do, we need to focus on our customers and their needs. B-to-B industry thought leaders gave us practical examples of what’s happening in the market and how we might deal with them. Of particular interest to me was a study just being released that was done by Forrester on industry trends. Here are some highlights:

  • Marketing role continues to get broader
  • New skills are needed by 97% of marketers
  • 70% are concerned about brand integrity
  • 45% can find people with the right skill sets
  • 97% are doing things they’ve never done before
  • Budgets are not keeping up with the demands that are being put on marketing

The general consensus was that we need better collaboration between marketing, sales and IT. We need to tear down the silos and have a common strategy, better integration and customer insights.

They also challenged us on where to find growth over the next five years. How do you compete with the likes of Amazon (who’s growing 25% a year)? 40% of all online sales are coming from mobile devices. What are you doing in this area?

If you’re not familiar with the BMA, you should look into it. They are the only game in town that focuses on B-to-B. Along with their international conference, they have 10 regional events and those cities that have chapters hold monthly meetings.

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