5 Creative Lead Generation Campaigns to Inspire Your Next B2B Marketing Campaign

February 7, 2020
Contributed by Gartner Digital Markets Analysts

B2B can take some cues from successful B2C or blended company marketing tactics.

For software vendors, successful B2B marketing requires creative lead generation campaigns. Without disruptive thinking, you’ll miss out on generating new leads, promoting brand awareness, and nurturing your customer relationships. You run the risk of falling behind and eventually becoming unknown.

Don’t panic: Here are five creative lead generation campaign ideas to get your next B2B marketing campaign started.


Five creative lead generation campaigns to jump-start your B2B marketing

According to Salesforce, 73% of customers say that having an extraordinary customer experience in one sales environment raises their expectations for what they’ll get in every sales environment — personal or business.

This means that the B2B marketing experience is starting to look more and more like the B2C experience. Adjusting your marketing efforts accordingly is a good way to ensure you stay competitive with ever-evolving consumer trends.


1. Use customer feedback to create marketing material

What they did: Marketing automation platform MailChimp noticed a large number of their prospects were confused by the company’s name and how it relates to marketing automation. They decided to leverage that confusion to craft a marketing campaign, incorporating the various consumer mispronunciations of their name into their ads. MailChimp then went on to release a series of videos with increasingly bizarre variations. Consumers picked up on their clever antics and began generating memes and social posts around the brand.

MailChimp embraced feedback and used it to craft a campaign and solve their company brand confusion. Ultimately, this helped the company develop a memorable brand identity and increase brand recognition.

What you should do: Whether your customer feedback is about something simple, such as the pronunciation of your company name, or something more substantial, such as the efficacy of your product itself, it’s important to listen to all of it. It’s also important to let customers and potential leads know when you make improvements or course corrections. This can be as small as announcing it in email blasts or a post on your website.

By using negative/constructive reviews — and your responses to them — to generate marketing material, it shows potential leads that you’re honest, attentive and willing to treat your customers as partners.


2. Develop a mobile-specific campaign

What they did: When IKEA came out with its IKEA Place App, it revolutionized B2C marketing by letting customers use their smartphones to visualize what a particular piece of furniture would look like in their actual living space.

The idea behind it was simple: If potential customers could visualize what their house would look like with IKEA products, they would be more likely to actually buy the furniture.

What you should do: According to a 2019 Gartner survey, 23% of buyers cite demos and free trials as important factors in their selection of a software vendor.

Providing such content in the form of a mobile app allows potential leads to better determine if your product is right for them by letting them visualize themselves working with your software. It also lets them do so from their phones, where SMB owners are making more and more of their business choices.

You can also use a mobile campaign to provide location-specific notifications and content. This creates a personalized touch that demonstrates your awareness of potential leads and what matters to them.


3. Create original videos (or partner with someone who does)

What they did: Kruzgesagt is a YouTube channel that explains complex concepts in entertaining, easy-to-follow videos. Brilliant.org is an online learning platform that provides instruction on topics ranging from the scientific to the professional.

The two recently partnered on a series of Kruzgesagt videos on topics that correspond with some of Brilliant’s course offerings, which reached Kruzgesagt’s 7 million subscribers. The only reference to Brilliant’s involvement was a brief sponsorship clip and a call to action (CTA) at the end of the videos.

What you should do: Search for content creators on YouTube or Vimeo who feature content that you connect with and cover topics that are of interest to your market. While it’s always important to keep your audience in mind, in this case, it’s essential.

As a B2B marketer, your videos should be geared toward individuals who work with a company’s decision makers and will help influence their decision. This way, when it comes time to change or invest in software, your name is recognizable. Often, brand recognition makes all the difference in lead generation.


4. Personalize your CTA

What they did: Humboldt County implemented a creative CTA designed to pull in leads. They created a short quiz that simply asks site visitors what type of experience they’re looking for.

Based on user response, the website provides a curated offering for their users, which can lead to a much higher conversion rate.

What you should do: Not only does a quiz for a CTA create an experience that users can shape to match what they’re looking for, it also shows the versatility of what you have to offer and your brand’s distinct personality.

The quiz on your own site doesn’t have to be complex — Humboldt’s isn’t. But it should conclude by showing the user the best version of your product for them (how it meets their specific needs) and entice them to stay on your site longer, both of which help generate leads.


5. Engage your community with experiential marketing

What they did: One Monday, as part of their “Surprisingly Painless” campaign, Esurance set up pop-up wellness fairs in the business districts of 10 cities. The fairs included makeovers, coffee and pastries, and — in some spots — playtime with adoptable puppies.

What you should do: This — a positive community impact — is incredibly important for SMB owners, who often need to treat the personal side of business as equally important to the financial side if they want to survive.

You can opt for the route that Esurance took and tie events in with your branding, or take a route that correlates to what your company actually does.

Say you sell cybersecurity software and have a slogan about customers resting easy when they use your product. Offering yoga classes is one way to go, or you could offer in-house self-defense classes to various businesses. Both provide a valuable community service that you can link to your product.

The primary focus in these scenarios (and whatever you come up with for your SMB) is engaging with your community to promote your brand while demonstrating that you care.


Use this checklist to evaluate your own lead generation ideas

There are a lot of ways to approach B2B marketing, especially as expectations shift toward a more B2C-esque experience.

As you strategize for your own creative lead generation campaign, ask the following five questions about each of your ideas:

  • Does it further establish your brand? If not, make sure your campaign speaks to your core company identity.
  • Does it engage current customers? If not, examine the feedback you’ve received and try to find trends. Use those trends to shape your marketing strategy.
  • Does it help or entertain people? If not, be sure that you’re demonstrating your value not just to businesses you’re selling to but also the communities they belong to.
  • Does it reach a wide audience? If not, see who you could partner with in channels you’re not using.
  • Is it genuine? If not, take a step back and think about what matters to your business. Let that dictate what you do next.


Want even more expert advice? Download our Lead Nurturing Kit with tips on how to prioritize, engage and convert B2B software leads.



Gartner Small Business Software Buying Trends 2019 Survey

Results presented are based on a Gartner study to understand software buying behaviors of small and midsize business owners in the past 12 months. The primary research was conducted online during September and October 2019 among 488 respondents in the U.S., Canada, Germany, France and Spain.

Companies were screened for number of employees and revenue in fiscal year 2018 to arrive at small and midsize businesses. They were also required to have purchased at least one software for USD 5,000 or more, in the immediate past 12 months. Respondents were required to be at least office managers, influencing software purchase decisions in their organizations.

The study was developed collaboratively by Gartner analysts and the primary research team who follow digital markets

Disclaimer: Results do not represent “global” findings or the market as a whole but reflect sentiment of the respondents and companies surveyed.

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