Sound waves tunnel in the dark

B2B brands don’t want their marketing to be boring. But if we’re being brutally honest, it often is. And one reason is that B2B brands aren’t bold enough with their creative.

Even today, in a media landscape full of opportunities, the bedrock of most B2B content is the same as it has been for years: eBooks, LinkedIn campaigns, blog posts. Don’t get me wrong, these all have their place. But if B2B brands really want to stand out, they need to be more bold, inventive, and brand-focused with their creative approach.

Connected TV (CTV) is a perfect place to do just that. It gives B2B brands a cost-effective way to deliver personalized ads to niche audiences — and bring their brand to life with imaginative, visual content that differentiates them from the crowd. 

But from experience, most B2Bs are hesitant to even get started. Before I explain why that’s a mistake, it’s worth a quick definition…

What is CTV?

A CTV is defined as any TV connected to the internet that lets viewers stream content — and 87% of US TV households have at least one CTV device. From an advertising perspective, CTV ads are served before or after the streaming of content, whereas linear TV ads are served during traditional commercial breaks.

How does CTV help deliver results?

Unlike some forms of traditional media, CTV ads can be tracked with high precision. You can see if someone watches your ad, then retarget them with a display ad that drives them to your website.

CTV also lets you use A/B testing to trial different creative executions, allowing you to run the version that’s driving most engagement. This is a far cry from producing ads for traditional TV, where the finished product was the finished product.

Crucially, CTV is the perfect medium for B2B. By allowing personalized ads to be delivered to niche audiences, marketing dollars can be spent more wisely. CTV consumption is also highest among Millennials, a demographic that represents a large proportion of B2B decision-makers.

So what’s holding B2B brands back?  

From my experience, B2Bs focus far too much on MQLs and choose formats (such as LinkedIn campaigns) that can deliver those kind of results. Often, they’re also nervous about change in general, and the idea of investing in a brand-led CTV ad feels risky.

But the problem is, this MQL-chasing mindset can lead to creative stagnation. It prevents B2Bs from pursuing the fun, bolder stuff that could shake up their industry and make their audience really pay attention. And isn’t that the point of marketing? To be noticed? To create an emotional reaction? To get people talking about your brand because you had something genuinely exciting (even entertaining) to say?

Paradoxically, the biggest risk of all is to stick with what feels safe and familiar.

There’s never been a better time.

Years ago, TV advertising was the preserve of the big boys. In the B2B space, only the likes of IBM and Microsoft had deep enough pockets to fund splashy campaigns. That’s no longer the case. Today, brands can run a TV commercial on Hulu for $500.

The downside to this is competition: it can lead to a saturated marketplace with unsophisticated content and broad targeting. But a strong creative message always rises above the noise.

At Ledger Bennett, our creative is designed to make sure that always happens — and it’s based on three distinct pillars. We make sure that it’s always enduring (it works and keeps working), relatable (it leads with emotion), and championable (it turns customers into advocates).

It’s an approach that helps B2B brands attract and keep their customers, turning them into their most loyal advocates.

It’s time for B2B to be bold.                                                       

I’ve explained why CTV has real potential as a marketing medium. But the message I most want to get across is that B2B brands need to be braver with their creative approach. If you always put out the same message, in the same formats, in the same places, you’ll always sound like everyone else.

Isn’t it worth being a bit more ambitious?