10 thoughts on “B2B marketing without creative has no punch

  1. “Never quit learning.” Personally, I think this is your key point. You have to be a student of your sport/career/life. If you quit learning you are dead, and if you’re dead, you can’t punch your audience in the nose with your TKO creative message. So dig deeper, and then teach what you’ve learned to someone who needs your new expertise.

    Great post, thanks for sharing your thoughts!!

  2. Thanks for commenting John. I agree with you about which part was the key point. My personal motto used to be “Never let yourself become a prisoner of your own routine”. I still think that way but act on my new motto everyday. “Never quit learning”.

  3. Billy,

    Great post! I am a huge fan of powerful, creative ideas and campaigns. Analytics are great but there is no substitute for creativity. Reminds me of how Apple’s campaign beat the PC with a powerful creative approach that personified cool vs uncool — effectively repositioning Microsoft and creating a new customer base. Really like your points, particularly #7 & 8. Creative ideas can come at any time and perhaps when you least expect or are in a more relaxed state of mind and let the ideas flow. Great post and thanks for sharing.

    Mark Burgess

  4. Super list, Billy! You’ve got two of my favs on it: learning and storytelling.

    From the perspective of creativity, I find play is a key element of learning — and it’s probably the piece that’s most overlooked in business. (And I’m not talking about playing foosball in the breakroom, I mean playing with concepts, messages, images, formats, and even tools). I find that when I actively play, explore, and experiment (“do”) rather than just “think,” I see better results.

    And, to your point to “Keep working on it,” here’s a story: I once worked on a writing team where the boss would shoo us out of the office at various points in the writing process. We’d go for coffee, walk along the river, or listen to a musician on a street corner (this was Harvard Square after all). If one of us was having a hard time coming up with the hook or a narrative focus, we’d be given the afternoon or an entire day “off.” Smart guy, that boss. He knew that when you’re a writer, you’re never “off.” The thoughts and words are always percolating — and they need space to that.

  5. Thanks Mark,

    I know what you mean about ideas coming at anytime. With deadlines it pays to have a process for thinking through a creative block to assure they at least come in time or on time. Sometimes, if the schedule allows, moving away from the problem to work on something else or relax will help. But other times you have to just work or think through it and do your best. And that part about sleeping on it could be expanded to drive with it, shower with it etc. Don’t obsess on a challenge or idea as much as keep it as an open file in the back of your brain. Nothing beats that eureka moment when you KNOW you have the big idea.

  6. Great post, Billy. I can relate to everything here…right down to the well-summarized 10 ways to be more creative. (Although my ‘fluffy stuff’ differed slightly with ‘oh, you’re the girls who make everything look pretty,’ I still experienced the same urge to punch him in the nose!). Your post also underscores the importance of hiring the right team. This is a team sport requiring the support of other pros who can laugh, help you bring those big ideas to life, tell you when your words are full of clutter – and in the end help you create something really great. Thanks for the post – was fun to be reminded how much I love what I do (and how much I cherish the marketing team we have at INgage Networks)!

  7. What a great read, Billy! I really enjoyed the tactical advice from your list, especially the value in taking an opposite approach such as in #5 and #10 – something with which I still struggle. On a larger level though, I think you make a phenomenal (and often overlooked) argument for firms not to sequester agency creative staff away from front-line divisions in the company. “The closer to “street level” the creatives can get, the closer they get to the Big Idea.” – Love this. And who’s to say that there isn’t an element of reciprocity for the divisions to gain insight from the creatives on some level as well? I really enjoy the candid writing style and am looking forward to more, Billy!

  8. I think “Now Cut It by Half” is a very important thing we all need to remember. Yes, all the information may be applicable – but is it important enough to motivate the prospect to buy? I’ve been blogging about the issue of continual partial attention recently, and cutting the information down to what is most important is further needed when one looks at the societal shift of today and how people just don’t have the time to read every message they’re inundated with daily. We have to be smart and concise with our messaging. GREAT post, Billy!

  9. Excellent! All are great points. What’s the hook and Now cut it half are two point sometimes overlooked. B2B marketing absolutely has to be creative. Thanks!

  10. Mary,

    Thanks for commenting! I agree with totally about the potential of “playtime” as a creative environment. I need to remember that idea more often and agree that your boss was very clever!


    Funny you had the same reaction I did to having someone take your role and work as a creative too lightly.

    It can definitely be fun to be part of a creative team, especially when the collaboration pays off in great ideas and a successful marketing campaign. It may appear like the fluffy and pretty stuff to some, but they say that to you and me at their own risk!


    I know you have written on creativity and the creative proscess yourself so I really appreciate your comment and I enjoy your writing style too.


    I saw a headline today about “Adult Attention Deficit Disorder” and think we all may have it to some degree. Maybe it’s a defense mechanism against the assault of too many messages from too many directions. Simple is almost always the best way and the creative process is all about refining a message to it’s core essence. Thanks for commenting Vann!

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