Humor has its place in the B2B marketing world – yes, you read that right. You and your team probably use it without even realizing it. Cracking a joke with a client and lightening the mood with a prospect are effective techniques for strengthening your bond with them.
You don’t see humor as much in B2B marketing collateral, though, and I think that’s because people haven’t outlined how they want to use it and what they need to avoid. Here are a few hints to get you started.
Use a light touch. You don’t want your company or product to be laughed at, just one marketing piece in particular.
Choose something that is clearly a joke. If somebody has to work to figure out if you’re kidding or not, then your attempt at humor has failed.
Utilize April Fools’ Day. It’s a day where bizarre ideas can easily be written off. In fact, April Fools’ Day hijinks are often expected in the B2C marketing world.
Maintain the tone and style of your previous communication pieces. Changing your logo or website home page, or turning what’s typically a serious newsletter into a joke riot, can dilute your brand.
Use anything gross or crass. The goal is to be seen as a firm that is competent enough to be able to crack a joke, not an immature company filled with boorish employees. And don’t think you’re safe if you plaster “Not Safe For Work” in front of a link – it’s still inappropriate and somebody will pay the price.
Base an entire B2B campaign on it. Your company is here to stay and should be promoted as such. A short-lived meme that will be forgotten in two weeks is ill-advised, not to mention a poor use of your budget.
Offer something like a discount from a crazy mascot, only to have customers be disappointed because it was actually an attempt at a joke. Hi, I’m Craaaazy Bob from Bob’s Construction Company and I’m here to make all of your clients and prospects mad at you!
Forget to consider your audience. Who is this really for, you or your client? What can a humorous ad possibly gain you? Will decision makers be turned off by this piece?
Have you ever used humor in an ad or piece of collateral? Let us know how it worked for you in the comments below.