Be a Clown: Using Humor in B2B Marketing

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impactnow
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Humor
impactnow   4/19/2012 11:29:07 AM
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Its be done well but remember the original Monster ads  but it's also been done poorly the Groupon debacle last year. Using Humor without careful testing can be a nightmare for a company. I think its also off limits in some categories such as health, etc.


infinity
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Re: THE RISK WITH HUMOR
infinity   4/12/2012 1:07:21 PM
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I agree, Mitch -- the public is quite forgetful. Today's shocking/scandalous/offensive video or commercial is tomorrow's tame video or commercial. There's always a new offense/scandal to bump the old one out. I know I've been offended by some commercials in the past (Go Daddy's portrayal of women, for instance), but I don't even think about that now, largely because I haven't seen those commercials in ages. the lifespan of a company's video/campaign is usually fairly short and people are quick to jump off of one bandwagon and onto the next.

Mitch Wagner
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Re: THE RISK WITH HUMOR
Mitch Wagner   4/12/2012 10:29:23 AM
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Ryck, I have to disagree that the negative effect of misfired humor is "relentless" and brands "may never recover." 

Sure, a brand might get a black eye, but black eyes heal. The public is forgetful. 

 

kicheko
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Re: THE RISK WITH HUMOR
kicheko   4/12/2012 7:54:59 AM
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I'll add my voice to the thought that humor is tricky. But if you can capture it well, the benefits are great. It can be done however if you are determined since there are a lot of talented people out there in the oddest places. It could be at the company, or out at some university where you can conduct a talent audition etc. I've seen a local brand get built on humor and it worked, but same guy recycled on another brand failed. Its trial and error but its worth a try.

Mitch Wagner
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Our own example
Mitch Wagner   4/11/2012 7:29:07 PM
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The CMO Site is published by DeusM, a B2B marketing company. Here's our own humorous marketing video

Mitch Wagner
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Re: THE RISK WITH HUMOR
Mitch Wagner   4/11/2012 7:28:06 PM
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I think it's relatively easy to steer clear of significant blowback. Don't make ethnic jokes or jokes about disabilities or overweight. 

Also, before debuting the video publicly, show it far and wide to trusted customers, business partners, and even friends and family members, to find out if you've gone too far. 

Ryck
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Re: THE RISK WITH HUMOR
Ryck   4/11/2012 5:42:21 PM
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Mitch, that's probably true, but today the negative repercussions of offending someone can be instantaneous and relentless.  With social media, you can be overwhelmed in seconds, and may never fully recover.  The consequences may be catastrophic for a firm.

Mitch Wagner
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Re: THE RISK WITH HUMOR
Mitch Wagner   4/11/2012 5:22:47 PM
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Hi, Constance! Good to have you back on The CMO Site. 

One of the things I initially found surprising about B2B marketing is how well the personal touch works. B2B customers are people, and their livelihoods depend on the products they use, so they develop emotional attachments to them. They also take pride in their work, and feel underappreciated (EVERYBODY feels underappreciated on the job).

This should not have surprised me because I come from a corporate IT background. People get just as passionate about corporate technology as they do about Apple vs. Google or whatever the latest consumer technology religious war is. 

Mitch Wagner
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Re: THE RISK WITH HUMOR
Mitch Wagner   4/11/2012 5:20:10 PM
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Regarding the risk of giving offense: Ultimately, you have to take risks. If you offend no one, then you'll also end up producing content that no one will pay attention to. 

The key is to be sure you can live with offending the people you've offended when you're done. 

Constance Aguilar
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Re: THE RISK WITH HUMOR
Constance Aguilar   4/11/2012 3:51:23 PM
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I believe that for B2B's the best approach to humor is to appeal to your industry and use it as a PR tool. Most journalists who are targets for those companies are inundated with the most boring content/pitches. If you can spice it up with humor, you're going to win them over. Then you can actually deliver an ROI to your boss. Nothing is better than making a $300 video and in return receiving $200,000 worth of press coverage.

 

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