If you’ve read the bio at the end of any of my blog posts, you know that I am currently in my undergrad at UGA studying Communications (please don’t hold this against me). One of my Communications classes, Persuasion, looks at advertisements (usually B2C television ads) and dissects their method of persuasion and how affective it is. One day, the professor showed the class a video on the “Got Milk?” campaign; one of the most successful ad campaigns in history.
The “Got Milk?” campaign, while a b2c campaign, offers some incredibly powerful insights for b2b marketers.
At the time, 70% of Californians claimed to drink milk on a regular basis and 94% claimed to know that it was good for you, but that wasn’t keeping milk consumption from plummeting. When Jeff Manning took over in 1993, he abandoned the boring health conscious messages that Californians could recite in their sleep and used humor to reshape people’s perception of milk. Overnight milk was transformed from the stuff that your mom made you drink into the coolest beverage around.
In 1994, milk consumption increased by 15 million gallons (the first increase in over a decade.)
Check out this video highlighting the “Got Milk?” campaign and how it transformed the industry.
So how does this apply to us as B2B marketers? While TV ads are expensive and impractical for most B2B companies these days, the principles behind the “Got Milk?” campaign are extremely relevant.
Milk isn’t the only boring thing out there.
Let’s face it; b2b marketing if left unchecked can suffer from a severe case of the doldrums. If you’re catching yourself yawning over the backhoe industry, chances are you’re not the only one.
Questions you need to ask:
1) What is the perception of your product/service/industry?
If people perceive it as boring, or dated, while they may need facts and statistics, changing a negative or neutral perception is key to changing buyer behavior.
2) How can I humanize my product/service/industry?
Why does your product matter to your consumer? Don’t forget that in b2b marketing you are marketing to real humans, and it helps to have a message they can relate to.
3) Is there a way to find humor in my product/service/industry?
A humorous message is much more likely to be appreciated than a humorless one. Is there a way for you to communicate the same thing in a way that makes people smile?
While b2b buyers are often times more rational and fact based than b2c buyers, and b2b marketers should make sure that their marketing efforts appear authoritative and not goofy, personality can be the secret ingredient in separating you from competitors. Check out Hubspot’s 5 B2C Marketing Tactics That B2B Companies Should Steal.
Change your Industry’s perception. Change history.