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Entertaining business customers with content marketing

Content marketing created by B2B companies tends to be a little dry. Marketing content should project a professional image and treat clients with due respect, but this doesn't mean messages have to be stoic or monotone.

The customers who come into contact with B2B marketing are people with emotions, ideas and fears. Treating content consumers like human beings forces marketers to think outside the box when generating entertaining blogs, videos, social media campaigns and other informational materials.

Treat customers like people
Businesses trying to provide products or services to other businesses need to be persuasive. People are not machines; they are rarely swayed by appeals of pure logic.

Adweek went all the way back to Aristotle when discussing foundations for B2B marketing (1). Aristotle believed there were three basic elements of persuasion: Pathos, Logos and Ethos. B2B marketers can sometimes fall into the trap of providing statistics, numbers and data that relies heavily on logical arguments, but ignore the other two key points of persuasion.

Ethos is an appeal to ethics. B2B marketing strategies need to account for customers' desire to be won over by companies who display rock-solid values and similar goals. Pathos is an emotional argument. Marketing materials need to do more than inform, they need to delight, comfort and inspire the viewer.

More than just comedy
Another assumption often made by companies is that "entertaining" automatically means "funny." While comedy can be an excellent attention getter, it should just be one of the tools in a B2B marketer's toolbox.

Entertaining content is material that appeals to the emotions and ethics of potential business clients. It can be funny to create a comfortable atmosphere, but it can also be beautiful to demonstrate creativity or dramatic to encourage investment. B2B Marketing, an international information provider for business marketers, explained entertaining content marketing involves materials that are engaging in a useful or memorable way (2).

The goal is to capture the attention of casual viewers and provide messaging that voices every part of a brand, not just a cut and dry pitch. A company should use humor if it speaks to its core values, if it is trying to portray an image of personal informality or wishes to satirize old business ideas. B2B marketers should determine what needs to be communicated and brainstorm all the different appeals available.

Engagement is first step toward relationships
B2B marketing that is creative and insightful comes from real ideas and values. Entertaining materials can provide a business with a human voice.

Media Post argued personal connections are more important for B2B marketers than their B2C counterparts (3). Marketing content created by companies wishing to appeal to professional partners is the first step in a long relationship. Inbound marketing tactics are introductions. Basic content may seem like corporate advertising, while entertaining content serves as a greeting from a potential human partner.

Marketing professionals speak for the individuals who make up a company. By communicating the unique values and ideas of the people creating the service or product, content becomes the voice of a group of people. The employees of a company who are looking for business partners will see themselves in marketing content with a human face. This not only promotes initial interest, it can also lead to brand loyalty and advocacy.

Entertaining doesn't mean irreverent
The primary goal of entertaining B2B marketing isn't to make the customer laugh or cry; it should be focused on delivering vital educational materials in an engaging way.

Companies can't generate content that trades information for attention generation. Business2Community stated companies would stop following marketing channels that had a habit of spreading irreverent material (4). Some businesses would immediately drop a brand that didn't seem focused. A funny video is just distracting if it's not providing insight into an organization's product and procedures.

Entertainment is a tactic that works in conjunction with other marketing priorities. By carefully weaving emotional appeals and creative approaches into informative business messaging and content, a company can see the benefits without making sacrifices. A marketing professional can work with a business to determine the best balance between logical, emotional and ethical appeals.

Multi-channel engagement
Everybody is entertained by different things. To create engaging materials, a B2B marketer must prepare content for a variety of audiences.

Some businesses will trust a video that shows current clients working with a company's product. Meanwhile, other audiences will want to communicate financial fears through a social channel. A marketer has to provide entertaining content on the viewer's preferred platform.  Social media pages offer many options for video, text, image and audio content.

Marketing software tools can track viewer engagement to measure the effectiveness of new strategies. When a business creates entertaining content marketing, it should utilize tools to ensure the audience is responding the way it hoped.

(1). Why B2B Marketing Still Lacks Emotional Appeal
(2). Your audience awaits: Marketing as entertainment
(3). B2B Marketers Need To Step Up Emotional Connections
(4). Why B2B Marketing Doesn't Have To Be Boring

Sheila Kloefkorn

With more than 25 years of hands on marketing strategy and operations experience, Sheila Kloefkorn is dedicated to developing marketing strategies and plans that help clients succeed. Some of the world's largest brands have depended on Sheila for marketing programs that delivered tangible and substantial results. Specialties: B2B marketing, lead generation, lead nurturing, sales strategy, marketing strategy, competitive marketing strategy, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), mobile marketing, email marketing, website design, marketing plans.