For those of you who are regulars of my musings on various aspects of our industry, you know that on occasion my background in marketing communications causes me to look at and marvel or disapprove of the ways people and companies try to sell themselves. And, for the record, I will state up front that I believe there is a preponderance of evidence that the computer and communications industries, particularly in a B2B context but for the most part overall, have the not so wonderful distinction of being arguably the two worst industries for communicating their messages.
Let’s be honest. How many marketing campaigns can you remember, from any tech company, that were not aimed at the mass market? Wouldn’t it be great to have a war between Cisco and Juniper (BTW. I happen to admire them both so this is just as example) like the current one Microsoft is waging against Google regarding search and privacy, or the Apple versus Samsung wars over which is cooler?
Make a list of memorable B2B tech marketing campaigns, or even just one advertisement. Do not include those from your company since that would prejudice the results. I will give you two minutes although my guess is it will not take that long.
Sorry, but time is up. I bet that list is very short.
Those of us who took business oriented classes know from Marketing 101 that sex and humor sell. On the sex front, this does not mean so called “booth babes” at conventions or scantily glad individuals of either gender draped over a box with blinking lights or pointing at a dashboard on a screen—both of which I happen to abhor for a variety of personal and professional reasons but which seem to be old habits that will die hard with a vengeance.
On the humor front, and please remember this is about B2B tech marketing, I am hard pressed to remember a good one. In fact, if you can think of any send them along or put them in your comments, and in a follow-up I will post links to the suggestions.
Where am I going with this? The answer can be seen in the embedded video from The Most Interesting SAN Architect in the World.
I don’t know if he really is the most interesting storage area network (SAN) architect in the world. However, I am inclined to take him at his word until proven wrong given the ingenuity at work here. What I do know is that he certainly has figured out how to use humor, lampooning a very popular beer commercial, to cut through the industry noise to gain attention and make it memorable.
This is clearly the first of several such videos. What it has done, which is the object of good marketing, is make me want to know:
· What humorous twist he will do next, e.g., get me to return for the next installment
· More about his company, what they do and who he is
At the end of the day, the Internet as we all know is a huge megaphone. It is very noisy out there and getting nosier thanks to videos and social media. In short, it is getting more challenging rather than less to be distinctive. In B2B this also means understanding the delicate balance between being pointed/edgy without crossing the line of being unprofessional. That actually is art. You need to have a feel for what your audience will like or be offended by.
That said, just because computer and communications products and business services are “techie,” i.e., dull to all but what we assume is a handful of aficionados; this does not mean that the presentation of their value can’t be sparkle.
The truth is that in marketing, memorable sells. The Most Interesting SAN Architect in fact has hopefully taught everyone in our industry a good lesson. We all have a sense of humor, it is what makes us human, and good humor is a great trigger. I trust the lesson itself will be memorable and look forward to hearing about your favorite marketing campaigns.
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