6 things B2B tech marketers can learn from Marmite

Yes, you read that right.

Late last week Marmite rolled out its latest PR campaign “The Marmite Gene project” driven by advertising agency Adam&Eve. The premise of the campaign is simple: Do we have a genetic predisposition to loving or hating Marmite? How can you know for sure if you’ve never tested it out? It’s a pretty simple and brilliantly fresh way of reviving a classic brand, and so I decided to take a look under the digital execution of the campaign to see what B2B can learn from consumer marketing.

1. It really does start with your website, sorry: Right from the beginning, taking a deliberate and well thought out approach to the CMS platform you use, its long term development strategy and the content formats it can support, its taxonomy and its room for growth will pay dividends in your marketing campaigns.  

My first thought when I clicked on the Marmite Gene project campaign page was, “Nice, but where does this sit in relation with the main site?” There's nothing worse than a campaign solution which lives in its own universe on a completely different CMS from the main marketing site either because the main marketing site doesn't have the capability to host creative work or the campaign page isn't actually expected to form a long standing identity with the brand beyond its first 5 minutes of attention and click through.

I know B2B companies hate a website redesign but your marketing and content campaigns will remain stuck in the dark ages without one. Partner with a solid development agency, have a smart in-house content strategist who understands the anatomy, science and structure of a website. I took a look at the backend source code of the Marmite Gene Project page and it's a fairly simply Wordpress site with a very neatly done CSS and Javascript coding - it's quite beautiful in its simplicity and it works. The site map alone is a thing of compact beauty.

2. Have a consistent message: The core message of the Marmite campaign is just try it. Give it a go. How do you really know you hate Marmite if you've never tried it? It's pure conversion marketing and I love it. 

3. Invest in scientific research: It gives your campaigns validity, it makes sense and it’s what’s likely to be picked up by the press. The great thing about the B2B world is that we are often trying to solve real business problems, so why not put in the research to back this up?  Where we often fall short unfortunately is the creative execution of the research question. With this campaign the whitepaper is introduced with a video of the researchers and the TV ad, clear copy stating the research question and a click through if you'd like to read more. For B2B this would easily be where your data capture will happen. And there's lots of data capture opportunities in the Marmite campaign. Here and here - in exchange for something tangible.

4. It can be ok to create for two audiences: The Marmite campaign is supported by a well researched genetics whitepaper carried out by genetics company DNA Fit, a research video showcasing the science behind the campaign, fun gene tests and a hilarious TV ad - these content pieces are all for different audiences.

This approach is highly debatable in B2B marketing. However, I feel personally that most purchasing decisions are driven by the pain needs of business decision makers and not necessarily those of the technical experts. Undoubtedly you need the type of content your technical audience should see to wow them with your expertise. But those experts often have to go back to the business and communicate your solution in easy speak to those who clear the budgets, and that audience requires a different language.

I genuinely believe your main messaging in B2B, the emotive communication should be to the business audience who doesn't necessarily understand the jargon of your product or industry - they just want to know if this solution will make their lives easier and more profitable. Leave the technical communication to fact sheets which your technical audience can easily find or be sent when communicating with your sales and product  teams.

5. Think the customer journey through to your commercial goal: the entire campaign is to encourage indifferent nay sayers to give Marmite a go. Clicking through to Take the Test takes you to the commercial goal - no one's actually going to spend £90 on the DNA test kit (not to shame anyone who does) but what you might be motivated to do is buy the Gene jar, which is just another jar of Marmite with your name on it for less than a fiver. Opt in for Marmite's marketing content and it's a double win. The B2B sales path is a lot more intricate than this but look for opportunities and conversion points to put your audience in touch with your sales team without having to go all the way to the Contact Us a page.

6. Always partner strategy with creative: Enough said. Great ideas are only worth their salt if they meet the goals and objectives and speak to the right audiences in the right way. 

The great ad man David Ogilvy once said, "My philosphy of advertising is rather simple. I believe in giving the consumer the facts about the product and making those facts fascinating.” I genuinely feel this is the key to unlocking B2B marketing.