Go For Gold: 3 B2B Marketing Award Winners (& The Lessons You Can Learn From Them)

If someone is really successful at something, it’s only natural for people to want to take inspiration from them. Of course, it makes sense to start with the best of the best, and in this case, that’s the winners of the 2019 B2B Marketing Awards. Focusing on the winners from three categories – account-based marketing, content marketing and influencer marketing – we will be reviewing how they came to win their award and the key takeaways from each.

Atos, Account-based Marketing (ABM)

If you read our blog post on ABM, you would know it’s becoming increasingly popular in the world of B2B marketing thanks to its high ROI.  Proving the point, Atos was awarded the prize for ‘Best Use of ABM’ thanks to their new marketing model which delivered an ROI of 40:1. 

To provide some context, Atos is a digital services and consulting company operating in 73 countries with an annual revenue of €11 billion. Their ABM strategy was officially launched when the Senior Vice President for Sales and Marketing challenged the marketing team at Atos to devise a strategic plan for the sales work they had been involved with to help create a model that could be implemented across the company. 

The new ABM approach meant marketers at Atos were now spending half of their day supporting deals, working to win new business from both existing and new clients. From providing detailed 12-month campaigns to gain confidence from new clients, to using innovation to attract new business from existing customers. Everything Atos did consisted of thorough planning and research, and they ensured anything they delivered was tailor-made for each business they presented to. 

Of course, hard work comes at a cost. In fact, this turned out to be the biggest investment Atos has ever made into a marketing programme – but it paid off.  Along with benefitting their sales and building stronger relationships with their clients, adopting an ABM strategy also helped the marketers employed by Atos to feel more valued, gave them more confidence in their approach, and encouraged them to be more proactive and creative.

Key takeaways: 

  • Big investments bring big results: whilst money is important, when it comes to your clients, nothing is more important than time. By investing your time, you are showing your clients that you are dedicated and that you truly value them.
  • Do your homework: when it comes to ABM, personalisation is key. To truly show you understand everything there is to know about a client and present an amazing tailor-made solution that will win you the business, you need to have an in-depth understanding of their company. It’s not good enough to simply know what they do and how they do it – that will only help you to produce a very generic proposal (and anyone can do that) – you need to take the time to analyse the market, their competitors and understand everything you need to know (and more) about the company itself. 

CACI, Content Marketing

The CACI Children and Young People division run a youth justice project (ChildView) which is focused on empowering Youth Offending Teams (YOTs) and local governments with the technology to understand and report on the needs of troubled youths. 

When the marketing team at CACI realised their technical approach to content marketing for ChildView just wasn’t cutting it anymore, they decided to adopt a different approach: get emotional. We’ve said it countless times in previous blog posts, but emotion really does sell, and CACI has really highlighted this with their ‘Walk in their shoes’ campaign.

The ‘Walk in their shoes’ campaign was developed to highlight the social and monetary costs of unaddressed youth problems and promote the work of both the CACI and YOTs. The campaign made use of a range of different channels to get the message seen by the target audience, including: blog, digital advertising, live event, email and social advertising.

To personify the issues they wanted to raise awareness about, the CACI focused their campaign around ‘Johnny’, a troubled teen who represents a number of different youths the YOT has had to deal with over the years. The campaign addressed emotional arguments to help establish a deeper, more personal relationship with the target audience and then presented rational arguments to reinforce their message in the decision-making process. 

The campaign proved a success, not only by significantly increasing awareness of ChildView and YOTs, but also by bringing in £1.65 million into the sales pipeline – pretty impressive for a budget of just £21,880.

Key takeaways: 

  • Market research is fundamental: CACI recognised their work was no longer having the impact it used to, and that’s because the market had become saturated with similar companies offering similar solutions. They realised they had to evolve their marketing and come up with an innovative solution that would differentiate them from their competitors. They discovered a niche in the market that was unaddressed and devised a unique strategy to target this. 
  • Emotion sells: by personifying the key issues faced by YOT, the ‘Walk in their shoes’ campaign was able to reach audiences on a more personal level. It turned the issues into something tangible, making the situation seem more real and engaging the target audience on a deeper level. 

Hep2O, Influencer Marketing

Many people are still stuck in the mindset that influencers are only good for selling clothes, shoes and diet shakes – they couldn’t be more wrong. Hep2O proved the power of influencer marketing with their campaign launched in 2018. 

Hep2O spent time getting to know their target audience, which enabled them to understand exactly what content they were most interested in seeing, and identify which channels would be most effective to communicate that content to them. They identified ‘work-related advice and inspiration’ as being most desired by their target audience, and what better way to deliver this than through some of the most experienced and trusted people in the trade: influencers. Hep2O devised a detailed strategic influencer campaign which included ongoing influencer liaison, influencer visits to the Hep2O factory, live Q&As and industry surveys created with the help of influencers.

Hep2O found influencer marketing not only helped to increase reach, but also helped to increase the authenticity of communications and create increased trust for the brand. Overall, the campaign led to a big increase in both relevance and consideration, seeing a range of successes from a 105% increase in Google searches for Hep2O, increased engagement levels and traffic to their landing page doubling. 

Key takeaways:

  • Start with your audience: you could be producing the best content in the industry, but if your audience isn’t going to see it, what’s the point? You need to take the time to research which channels will be most effective for delivering your message to your audience, and more importantly, ensure that you understand exactly what your audience is interested in, and plan your content and influencers around this – relevance is key. 
  • People buy from people: at the end of the day, people want to buy from people, not another faceless corporate company. They need to establish an emotional connection with a brand, and what better way to do that than by getting influencers – some of the most trusted people in the industry – to become your advocates. 

 

Now you’ve seen what three of the best in B2B marketing have to offer, take some time to delve deeper into your industry and gauge an understanding of what success looks like. In the words of Walt Disney: “The best way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing”.