B2B Content CAN Be Funny
As a rule of thumb, B2B marketing should avoid certain false steps or ‘faux-pas.’ The list includes attributes like being vague, presumptuous, or ill-researched. But somewhere along the way, marketers added "humorous"" to that list. Why?
Through history, humour has been used as an engaging tool to connect with audiences. Last week in our article "Live, Laugh, Blog," we explored the merits of humour in content marketing. It’s an important aspect of engagement and ensures that your content stands out from the crowd. In this piece, we’ll extend that conversation, borrowing from successful examples of funny and successful B2B content.
Finding Your Timing
Humour isn’t just engaging. It’s also strategic. According to Tim Washer, Executive Producer of Rich Media Marketing at Cisco, "Comedy can cut through all the noise, it makes the point in a very clever way, and it connects with people so they listen." When people listen to you, they’re more likely to associate you with that field of expertise.1 Humour leads to strong connections, something that’s crucial in the B2B marketing space because of constant new competition.
We might do well to listen to Tim Washer. Cisco flexed their comedic muscles with their campaign, "The Perfect Gift for Valentines Day." Cisco positioned their ASR9000 as one of the most ideal gifts you can give your partner. By pairing something inherently unromantic with the most romantic day of the year, Cisco won the hearts of audiences and clients alike. By poking fun at themselves, Cisco also grew their sales and their exposure.
Laughing at Yourself
One of the best examples of funny B2B marketing comes from Mailchimp, the well-known email marketing company. Mailchimp realized that people often forgot their name, and their value in the process. Their ‘Did You Mean’ campaign released a series of ads for fake businesses, all with names that rhymed or vaguely sounded like 'MailChimp'. This included: FailChips, JailBlimp, MaleShrimps, and more. When customers searched these businesses online, they would find themselves redirected to a simple ask, "Did you mean MailChimp?""
"We have a history of not taking ourselves too seriously and having fun with our name,"" said Mark DiChristina, senior brand director at MailChimp. This felt like a perfect way to introduce ourselves to potential new customers in a big and creative way."" For Mailchimp, the decision to be funny was an effective one. Through that campaign, MailChimp gained $988 million in earned media impressions and $3.52 million in earned media value.2
Making Humour Make Sense
It can be intimidating to include humour in your content, especially if you’re wary of businesses reacting the wrong way3
- Establish Trust by Directing Humour to Yourself: It will humanize your brand and show your humility.
- Criticize Authority with Humour: It will help you make a point that might otherwise be received with blunt criticism. Humour softens the blow and allows your audience to comprehend your point with a new lens.
- Choose Interesting over Funny: This might sound contradictory, but it’s not. When you’re passionate about something, you’re comfortable explaining it. Similarly, your content will make more people smile if it’s interesting, than if it’s embedded with slapstick or forced humour.
Writing with humour can seem like an unforgiving mountain to climb because of its perceived risk and tricky tact. For B2B businesses, however, humour can serve as a podium to elevate your content by making it more engaging.
If writing humorous content sounds like a scary challenge, we are here to help. At MintCopy, our talented team of writers are trained in best SEO practices, ensuring your B2B content is crafted skilfully and strategically.