B2B marketing gets more creative: eight in 10 marketers say “creative confidence” is on the up

Majority of senior B2B marketers believe brands are increasingly producing creative campaigns to rival consumer output, with short-term performance marketing and long-term branding results getting equal investment.

“Creative confidence” in B2B marketing is on the rise, according to a global survey of B2B marketing leaders, as 89% say they recognise that brand building is just as important to driving revenue growth in the B2B space as it is for consumer marketing.

Eight in 10 (81%) of respondents believe that B2B brands are increasingly producing creative campaigns that stand up against consumer brands, said the survey by LinkedIn, while a similar proportion said they are planning to create campaigns that improve short-term performance marketing and long-term brand marketing results in the same period. 

More than two-thirds (69%) agreed that B2B purchasing decisions were just as emotionally driven as B2C, and 39% said they were increasingly using storytelling, emotion and humour in their campaigns. 

The global survey of more than 1,600 marketing leaders found that “creative confidence” was at its highest level in Brazil and Australia (95% each), India and the United Arab Emirates (94% each). At the other end of the scale, the lowest confidence levels were in Italy (77%) and the UK (59%).

Tom Pepper, Senior Director, EMEA & LATAM, LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, said: “Despite the current economic climate, B2B brands realise the importance of long-term brand building and are developing bolder creative that stays in the minds of our members so when they are in market to buy, those brands are front of mind. 

“It’s positive to see creative confidence growing as companies move beyond reports and ebooks - which have long ruled in B2B advertising - to honing their brand marketing muscle. By building strong brands and harnessing the engaged professional community on LinkedIn, B2B companies are generating long-term ROI for their campaigns and transforming the B2B space as we know it.”

The findings coincide with a report from the B2B Institute, LinkedIn’s marketing think tank, and the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute at the University of South Australia, which showed that 95% of B2B buyers are not in the market to buy today, meaning that creating a “memory link”” becomes more important so that brands stay stop of mind, said the research.

Talent battle for B2B marketing

Despite the confidence in creativity rising among B2B marketers, those surveyed were concerned about losing their talented staff to consumer marketing. 

More than three quarters of respondents (79%) said they felt the best talent in the industry is being drawn to work in consumer marketing over B2B, while 57% said they were finding it challenging to recruit creative talent. 

At the same time more than half (56%) agreed that B2B marketing is more challenging than its consumer counterpart, with the top skills needed for creativity listed as innovation, customer insight and data analytics.

Diversity of experience is important, said respondents with almost half (49%) believe that creative talent is reliant on the diversity within a team, while diversity of skills (45%) and experience (45%) were equally important in considering agency partners.