Go to any awards. Look in any magazine, or visit any site, and I can guarantee, you will be underwhelmed with the creativity in the B2B world. So why is this?
There are 2 sides to this story and neither are solely to blame. But both need to take responsibility.
I have to blame the clients/brands! Sorry, but if we the agencies are creating poor work, you should be refusing to accept it. Maybe they are giving the agencies too little time to think it through, maybe they are giving the agencies tiny budgets, maybe the client is playing creative and creating something that they want to do (against the agencies recommendations). I could blame the recession, but I have been in this game long enough to have seen them come and go, but in general the quality of the creative stays the same.
Are clients scared?
If you flicked through a magazine 10 years ago and the same today, the style, messaging, imagery, cta are pretty similar, so why aren’t things moving along? Are clients scared to do anything different, if they take a chance and it doesn’t work they may lose their job, but if they just do the same each year then they seem to feel that’s a safer place to be. Clients have to fight for their lives to get any kind of budget to create campaigns, but then that seems to be where the fight ends. A new kind of campaign/idea and a different way of thinking could be the answer to making a difference to your product, the industry and the B2B world.
But I did say there are 2 sides to this story, and sadly I have to also put part of this blame at the agencies door.
It is very easy to look the part, but can you play the game.
There are more agencies than ever before, and it has never been easier to create a shop window that makes you look big and tell the right story. All you have to do is open your agency of choices website, change the colour and logo, shuffle a few words around and hey presto you’re a B2B specialist.
Clients trust agencies to give them advise, and agencies have to take responsibility for this. I have seen work from agencies that clearly was either given to the junior because the budget wasn’t big enough, or the agency couldn’t care less and just wanted to make a quick buck. Agencies have to start taking pride in their work more. We all know that an agency may well have 10-15% showcase work (the stuff that goes on their sites) and the rest might well be bread and butter projects, but that percentage is what’s killing our industry. It can’t just be swept under the agency carpet as this work is what populates our world.
You are responsible for the future of B2B.
So clients/brands be brave, be different and trust your agencies. Look to stand out from your competition and not just fit in with the rest. Agencies, show some pride in your work and take responsibility for the advice you’re giving and then one day, maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to look the B2C industry in the face and proudly say that the B2B world is a creative place to be.