by Lisa Zone

January 28, 2014

The Big Game is this weekend, and with it comes the main attraction. No, I’m not talking about the kickoff or the half-time show. I’m talking about the commercials! Super Bowl advertising has become an integral part of the game day experience – and for good reason. Marketers sink millions of dollars into a 30-second spot to win the hearts and minds of viewers. And behind those 30 seconds on your TV are months of planning and testing.

Most of the B2B companies we work with don’t have marketing budgets that are even in the same stratosphere as Super Bowl advertisers, and their audiences are certainly different. That said, I still think there are a few lessons B2B companies could learn from their B2C counterparts about how to best leverage their marketing spend.

Consider Humor

Most of the highest-ranked ads in each year’s Super Bowl broadcast are funny. Pay attention to the commercials you like best during this Sunday’s game. They’ll probably involve a doofus guy (or old lady… or coworker… or – you get the point), an animal doing a crazy trick or a celebrity in a precarious situation. Don’t believe me? Take a look at this teaser Volkswagen just put out about what makes the perfect Super Bowl ad. Too often, B2B companies focus on the features and benefits of their products or services without adding a human element or emotional pull. B2B marketing is almost always serious (which, sadly, often translates to boring). Adding humor is a way for B2B marketers to make their brands stand out in the marketplace. As long as the humor is relevant and true to your target audience, why not consider adding some to your next campaign?

Get Social

This isn’t the first time you’ve heard this from me. Some of the best campaigns from last year’s Super Bowl weren’t even purchased TV spots. Oreo was wildly lauded last year for its slam-dunk (pun intended) Twitter ad about the blackout during the game. Even though the company spent millions of dollars on a spot that ran during the game, this real-time marketing effort on social media is what won it the most praise. For B2B marketers, that means a thoughtful, proactive social media strategy can often reach – and engage – customers and prospects in a way other types of marketing can’t.

Embrace Video

Certainly, Super Bowl advertisers understand the power of telling a story through a moving picture. Why, then, do so many B2B marketers try to explain complex concepts with white papers or technical sheets? Why not use a video to explain those same ideas in a more compelling, succinct way? If your B2B company isn’t using video on your website or a YouTube channel, you may be missing opportunities to tell stories as successfully as Super Bowl advertisers do.

I’ll be sharing more about these and other insights at the Cleveland American Marketing Association’s Annual Super Bowl Ad Review next Monday. Would love to hear your thoughts on these ideas if you’re there. (Or if you have a junk food hangover from Sunday, you can comment below too.)