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Unconventional B2B Marketing: 5 Of The Most Woke Marketers

Posted on Mar 27th, 2019
Written by Lane Ellis
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    Bearded punk man in glasses with purple hair image.

    Five of the most unconventional marketers are infusing a punk rock ethos and energy into their marketing efforts—and B2B marketers and brands should take notice.

    The examples we’ve lined up here skirt the marketing norms and represent unconventional marketers who shoot for the moon and win. Using wit, humor, bold actions, and tales of death-defying feats, lessons from these marketers may just inspire you to push beyond boring and into breathtaking territory.

    With messaging and tactics that might seem more at home in the mosh pit than the corporate boardroom, these marketing revolutionaries are dead set on breaking free of boring by replacing stodgy campaigns or yawny white papers with marketing messages that would have made Joey Ramone wail a speedy “Hey! Ho! Let’s Go!” and “Gabba Gabba Hey!”

    via GIPHY

    #1 & #2 — Hugh Jackman and Ryan Reynolds

    Written by Hugh Jackman and Ryan Reynolds, along with digital marketing veteran George Dewey and director Bryan Rowland, “Truce” is a humorous response to several highly-successful previous marketing video efforts, and the culmination of an ongoing social media exchange between the two famous actors.

    The contrast that the advertisements create between the actors’ two companies, Reynold’s Aviation Gin and Jackman’s Laughing Man Coffee, couldn’t be greater. And the spot has garnered a wealth of both social media and traditional media attention.

    Reynolds’s original Aviation Gin video is another fine example the type of subtle yet sharp humor that also resonates:

    What does it offer to B2B marketers?

    A great example of how to connect with both millennials and more general audiences using wit, parody, and humor — all aspects B2B marketers could benefit from.

    #3 — Jonathan Retseck, Founder and Managing Partner, RXR Sports

    Earning an Academy Award for a campaign is a rarity. But that’s just what Jonathan Retseck, founder of New York-based, sports-focused firm RXR Sports, accomplished with the wildly popular “Free Solo” film for National Geographic Documentary Film’s. The film, about rock climber Alex Honnold‘s ropeless ascent of El Capitan, won the 2019 Oscar for Best Documentary.

    While the film isn’t a B2B marketing campaign, the elements Retseck and his team brought to “Free Solo” feature components that could bring some much-needed drama and adventure to B2B advertising pushes.

    “My comfort zone is like a little bubble around me, and I've pushed it in different directions and made it bigger and bigger until these objectives that seemed totally crazy eventually fall within the realm of the possible.” @AlexHonnold Click To Tweet

    What does it offer to B2B marketers?

    Inspiration to push beyond traditional boundaries, as well as a reminder of the limitless pinnacles—both physical and psychological—that await those willing to do what it takes to reach beyond the same old B2B.

    #4 — Lizzie Wilson, Associate Creative Director, McCann New York

    State Street Global Advisors’ “Fearless Girl” is a Cannes Lions winner. From Lizzie Wilson and Tali Gumbiner for McCann New York, this piece utilizes marketing elements that could boost engagement rates in many types of B2B campaigns.

    What does it offer to B2B marketers?

    A symbol of boldness, fearlessness, and the ultimate power of the underdog.

    “I think there is something so relatable about a kid. I think you see yourself in her, but you also see your kids. You see the future, and you see your past,” Lizzie told Adweek after the campaign launched.

    #5 — David Droga, Founder, Droga5

    Also a Cannes Lions’ winner, MailChimp’s expansive campaign headed by David Droga — featuring brand sound-alike spin-offs JailBlimp, KaleLimp, VeilHymn, SnailPrimp, FailChips, and others — is a prime example of the type of excitement and creativity that can benefit B2B marketers.

    “Great advertising triggers an emotion in you. It has purpose. It touches a nerve, and that provokes a reaction.” — David Droga @ddroga Click To Tweet

    What does it offer to B2B marketers?

    An example of an umbrella campaign with wide-reaching offshoot marketing efforts, using both comedy, music, and inspiration.

    Bringing Punk’s Exploration & Energy to B2B

    via GIPHY

    Though their tactics, creativity, and campaigns vary significantly, these unique marketing leaders are using some of the energy and disruption the punk movement used to push the boundaries of old, boring B2B off the charts and bring it to a new frontier of marketing.

    The unorthodox methods Jackman, Reynolds, Retseck, Wilson, and Droga are using certainly won’t be right for every B2B campaign, but you can use their punk-like ideas to help infuse new energy in your own work. These five have helped open — or smash through — the B2B marketing door, placing exciting new opportunities there for the taking in front of you.

    “B2B marketers need move away from simply educating and to start creating content experiences that allow customers to engage.” — Lee Odden @LeeOdden Click To Tweet

    Bringing all of the elements represented in the campaigns outlined here to your own efforts may be a daunting task, which is why many B2B marketers choose to work with a proven professional agency such as TopRank Marketing, recently named by Forrester the only B2B marketing agency with influencer marketing capabilities.

    Here are five additional resources that can help you learn how to create more successful and energetic B2B content marketing campaigns:

    Break Free of Boring B2B Marketing Resources