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How to convince your CFO of creative cruciality

4 min read - by Alex Norbury - MD

Creativity in B2B is on a downwards trending trajectory. In fact 77% of B2B Ads generate NO sales.  

But with an economic downturn, it looks like the last thing marketers should do is default to short-term tactics. And 10 years of B2B research proves it.  

Creative commitment holds just as well in B2B as B2C. But it’s also declining YoY. But why is this happening? 

Perhaps because business leaders rarely prioritise the metrics that Brand can move. But don't recognise Brand as the tool that can achieve this. Or perhaps it’s because marketers realise how important it is to invest in media to grow. But few realise how important it is to invest in creativity alongside it. 

As the 2nd best tool (after brand size and share) to drive advertising profitability, creativity should be one of your top business priorities. 

‘Creativity, emotion, and fame are all tools that B2B marketers should be using to amplify the engagement and ROI they see from their comms, and to increase the value of marketing in their organisation.’ – James Hurman, Marketing Effectiveness Expert 

Growth relies on creativity 

With the majority of B2B ads generating no sales, it generates the perfect opportunity to stand out against the crowd. In an environment where the majority of creative isn’t hitting the mark, you can make sure yours is right on target. 

We were joined by Jen Shaw-Sweet, EMEA Lead of B2B Institute, at our recent event with the LinkedIn B2B Institute, where we spoke more about All-Weather Marketing and the Financial Case for Creativity. 

Jen spoke about how good creative and media campaigns impact hiring, marketing, and selling outcomes. As well as ways to uncover the most compelling data, we discussed how to change the CFO’s attitude and recognise creativity as a tool for driving business growth, and the difficulties being faced in pursuing long-term, strategic and creative marketing. I’d say that all sounds pretty invaluable, wouldn’t you? 

Keep reading for more insights from the session...


A simple formula for success 

Attention matters more than clicks! In fact, 60% of brand advertising in B2B is so poor that it’s misattributed. Essentially giving your competitors free advertising.

Imagine what your CFO would say to that!  

Give every creative campaign the quality it deserves with LinkedIn’s 3 tips for success: 

  1. Attention – advertising needs to get your attention to have any kind of impact. And attention metrics are more important to Brand than clicks. Invest in high-attention ad formats. 
  2. Branding – get your reader to remember your brand as well as the ad. Otherwise, you’re just marketing the biggest competitor in your industry. 
  3. Linkage – media investment should be linked to key messages to create keyword recognisability. Find the most consistent message and optimise attention through that message. And even begin to own niche areas of your category. 

To find out more about LinkedIn’s ABL approach, listen to our podcast from the event here


The B2B effectiveness code 

The LinkedIn B2B Institute, in collaboration with WARC and LIONs, have identified key creativity and effectiveness findings in B2B marketing from 2010-2021. 

They found that B2B brands require a balance of short-term sales-driven activity and long-term brand-focused advertising. The scales are tipped in favour of the short-term strategy but long-term campaigns are just as vital. 

The report also explores the B2B effectiveness ladder, which highlights 6 of the most important effects as a result of B2B marketing. Starting at number 6 which is the least commercially impactful, the 6 effects are ranked as follows: 

  1. Response trigger – creating a response or interaction 
  2. Lead generator – generating an SQL 
  3. Sale closer – converting existing demand to sales 
  4. Fame maker – creating awareness and talkability 
  5. Brand builder – creating a greater affinity with the brand 
  6. Strategic asset – driving the business forward into the future 

76% of case studies from the research reached level 1, with a mere 5% of case studies reaching level 6. So, where do you think your creative stacks up? If you want to make your way up the B2B effectiveness ladder, but aren’t sure where to start, get in touch

Creativity is crucial for driving B2B growth and advertising profitability.  

We know it’s not as simple as just going off and applying these principles overnight to every campaign. But we’d encourage you to take the first step.

Choose one campaign, and ask your team or agency to push the boundaries and test the attention you get from it. Trust us, it’ll be worth it. 


Like what you’ve read? 

If this blog has left you feeling jittery with creative anticipation, get in touch to see where we can help.