B2B Marketers, It’s Time to Get Creative

This year has marked a significant turning point. B2B marketing, once overshadowed by its consumer-focused counterpart, has now emerged from the shadows and is ready to get creative. It has transcended its traditional role as a lower-funnel marketing strategy, setting higher standards for creativity than ever before. In this article, we explore the resurgence of creativity in B2B marketing, examining its pivotal role, effectiveness, and how it has evolved to adapt to the evolving landscape of business marketing.

The Creative Revolution in B2B Marketing

The sharpened focus on creativity has been underscored by recent revelations from the Global B2B Marketing Benchmark. It has shown that “creative strategy and execution” is now the most crucial skill in the B2B Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) role. This shift is evident in the 46% increase in creative skills added to marketers’ profiles over the past year. B2B marketing has already achieved notable success by appealing to the emotions of business audiences, with campaigns like IBM’s ‘Smarter Planet’ (2008), Volvo Trucks ‘Epic Split’ (2013), and Xerox’s ‘Get Optimistic’ (2013) setting the bar high.

The Effectiveness of Creativity in B2B Marketing

But what makes B2B marketing so effective? According to Keith Browning, director of brand marketing at LinkedIn, the answer lies in the “95-5 rule.” Only 5% of potential buyers are actively seeking products or services at any given time, leaving the remaining 95% not yet ready to make a purchase. Creative marketing serves as a powerful tool to imprint your brand in the minds of future buyers, ensuring they remember your brand when they are in the market.

In a recent study of B2B marketing leaders on LinkedIn, it was revealed that over two-thirds (69%) agree that B2B purchasing decisions are just as emotionally driven as those in the B2C sector. Furthermore, 39% stated that they are increasingly leveraging storytelling, emotion, and humour to make their creative campaigns memorable. Astonishingly, more than three-quarters (81%) believe that B2B brands now produce creative campaigns that rival those of consumer brands.

The Evolution of B2B Marketing

What has truly pushed creative boundaries in 2023 is the integration of creativity with robust accountability and optimization. B2B marketing channels and formats have evolved beyond traditional methods like email marketing, events, and banner ads. Today, B2B marketers are embracing sophisticated content investments, search engine optimization (SEO), mobile and social formats, including video. Innovations such as influencer marketing and account-based targeted marketing with personalized landing pages and content are opening new doors for engagement.

The Power of Creative Campaigns

Among the multitude of options available, marketers are unwavering in their belief that creativity in B2B marketing yields results. According to LinkedIn’s B2B Institute, emotional campaigns have a longer-lasting impact than rational ones. This perspective is reinforced by the recent Inspire study, highlighting the importance of brand-building alongside product-based messaging in B2B marketing. It emphasizes how “Inspiring” brands are five times more likely to be a B2B buyer’s first choice and twice as likely to be remembered when buyers are in the market.

Inspiring Case Studies

Illustrating the potency of creativity, the Grand Prix Winner in the Cannes Lions Creative B2B category in 2023 was the ‘Earth4’ initiative by Brazil’s B3 Stock Exchange. This ambitious campaign transformed Earth into a tradable stock on the exchange to raise awareness about pressing environmental issues. It combined a grand concept with technology through an interactive real-world calculator and mobilized opinion-makers with compelling content. This campaign demonstrated the potential of an omnichannel, through-the-funnel approach and was described as a “powerful, highly relevant, and deeply emotional call to action” by jury president Tom Stein.

On a smaller scale, B2B video agency Umault achieved significant breakthroughs with its highly creative social videos on LinkedIn. For example, one video took a humorous twist on horror film conventions, featuring a young boy named Damien who believes he is “possessed” by a B2B marketer. These examples underscore the effectiveness of emotionally driven campaigns connected with relevant audiences.

Tools for Future Success

LinkedIn is committed to empowering B2B marketers to enhance their creativity. The platform offers solutions such as predictive audiences, Thought Leader Ads, and Accelerate, an AI-powered ad creation tool. These tools streamline the ad creation process, improve targeting, and enhance campaign effectiveness. As we look to the future, the integration of AI and machine learning promises to provide marketers with even more powerful tools for success.


In 2023, B2B marketing has undergone a remarkable transformation, embracing creativity as its driving force. It has emerged from the shadow of its consumer-oriented sibling and proven its ability to engage, inspire, and fuel business growth through emotionally driven campaigns. The future of B2B marketing will be shaped by the synergy of creativity, innovation, and data-driven optimization, ensuring its continued influence in the realm of business.

By Emma-Louise Brown
28th October 2023
3 minute read