You already know that a good design strategy is an important part of your B2B marketing strategy and in getting results from your target audience. (You do know that, right?) But what is good B2B graphic design? And is it different than consumer graphic design?
In case you missed the memo, the days of boring “industrial graphic design” are long gone. Here are four rules our graphic design team tries to follow when creating marketing campaigns.
The audiences you are trying to reach are human, after all. The same people who buy and spec your products are influenced by marketing from leading consumer marketers. They don’t put on a robotic “now-I-am-a-B2B-buyer” suit when they choose a vendor for their widget or service, so don’t treat them differently than consumer marketers do.
Are consumer marketers using pastel colors or soft serif fonts? Maybe you should too. Are they using candid lifestyle photography or funny illustrations? Maybe it’s time to “take a chance” and step away from big blocky type or graphics filled with “safe” colors like red and blue, or industrial photos of your manufacturing facility. (After all, when did you ever buy a pair of pants because you saw a photo of the building it was sewn in?)
Your customers are human, and they’d like for you to speak to them as though they are.
As I’m writing this, I just finished sitting in on the most amazing webinar I’ve ever experienced. It included five speakers, video clips, product promos and a Q&A. But never once did I get bored; in fact, I was disappointed when it ended after 75 minutes.
It was put on by Wistia, a video hosting company for marketers — yes, a B2B company that targets companies like ours. And it was absolutely captivating, because they used humor, including some clever B2B graphic design, throughout to sell their service and keep our attention. Through a series of brief Saturday-morning-style cartoons (cleverly titled “Gear Squad vs Dr. Boring”), they demonstrated what they had to offer and made me want to use their service more.
They even themed the whole event around the Saturday-morning motif: all the presenters were wearing branded PJs, they showed 90s-style “commercials” between episodes and had a cereal “taste test” as part of the webinar. The comments section was FULL of dozens of amazing responses, folks writing back with their own humorous remarks, and a generally glowing positive reaction. (When was the last time a webinar YOU put on got that kind of response?) The whole marketing campaign is genius, frankly.
If done right, humor can be a strong emotional pull, but don’t be afraid to appeal to other emotions as well: desire, frustration, happiness, etc.
As B2B marketers, we’re probably selling complex products or services. So don’t clutter up your message with complex graphic design; simple and clear is better. The easier you make it for the audience to understand your value proposition, the more likely it is they’ll take action. Never let your B2B graphic design detract from your overall business goal.
Do you want your target audience to download a white paper. MAKE IT SUPER CLEAR. Do you want your audience to contact their distributor? MAKE IT SUPER CLEAR. Do you want them to “buy now”? MAKE IT… ok, you get the drift.
Too often as B2B marketers we make it hard for the audience to understand their next step. Good B2B graphic design will make the end goal clear, funneling the audience to that call to action. (And on that topic, good design can make the CTA stand out.)
Are these common sense concepts for B2B graphic design strategy? You’ll probably agree they are. I haven’t said anything revolutionary above. But if we’re honest with ourselves, how many of these things are we intentionally doing? Or how many are we discouraging our designers to violate? In 2022, avoid the temptation to fall into the “that isn’t the way B2B design should look” trap and see how much more attention you can get with your marketing strategy as a result.