One of the backbones of Internet marketing is the ability to capture the audience's attention. As more information and data floods the Web, creating unique and original content that manages to grab and hold the customer's attention will become increasingly more difficult. To generate leads and spread brand awareness, B2B marketing professionals need to find better ways to seize the audience's attention.
A great way to do this is by using comedy. Even in more somber industries, incorporating humor into your online marketing strategy can be an effective tool to use alongside search engine optimization and website analytics. While some executives may see humor as too crass or inappropriate for their fields, when used correctly, a healthy dose of comedy can make a world of difference in making your ad campaign go viral.
And customers agree. According to a recent survey, 47 percent of respondents from around the world said humorous messages resonate with them (1). Humor beat out real-life situations, family- and value-oriented for the top spot of what kind of marketing message works best. It's no secret: People like to laugh. Despite how much customers respond to comedy, it's surprising so few B2B marketing professionals take advantage of it.
However, when companies do successfully incorporate a funny element into their campaigns, the results can be quite significant, even in the most stoic of industries. Taulia, a company that provides cloud-based invoice, payment and dynamic discounting management solutions for large buying organizations throughout the world, created a comedy video for their product that has generated more than $100 million in leads (2). Meanwhile, Eporun, a German wind-energy company, created a comedy video seen by almost 5 million people, and went on to win numerous advertising awards (3). Cisco launched its incredibly successful campaign that involved a video of what to buy your sweetheart for Valentine's Day, which turned out to be a $80,000 ASR 9000 router.
"When a brand shows that it doesn't take itself too seriously, it's a powerful way to demonstrate authenticity and confidence, as well as connect with your community," said Tim Washer, the marketing guru behind Cisco's Valentine Day's router campaign.
Here are four simple tips for keeping your content funny without going too far:
1. Wallow in the misery
This may seem counterintuitive at first, but good comedy pokes fun at what hurts and what customers dislike. Take some of the most annoying or mundane aspects of the product or industry and focus on them. You'd be surprised how much humor you can squeeze out of people's anguish.
2. Don't go overboard
Even though comedy tends to revel on crossing the line, you're not trying to offend anyone; you're trying to nurture lead generation and create brand awareness. There is still a safe zone you should operate within, and remember, tasteful and funny are not mutually exclusive.
3. Utilize irony
The use of irony has impacted comedy so much so that most people probably fail to recognize it. The reason it has permeated the culture is because of its effectiveness. This is saying or doing something contrary to what one expects will happen. The Valentine's Day video is ironic because no one expects a boyfriend to buy an $80,000 router for their girlfriend. People like to be surprised and turning an expected moment on its head is the perfect way to get their attention.
4. Don't take yourself too seriously
This can be one of the easiest ways to relate your humor. Self-deprecating comedy illustrates how confident you are in your product or service. It also demonstrates a level of self-awareness that increases your authenticity and makes it seem like you're letting customers in on an inside joke.