Showcasing a product in an unexpected manner is one way to grab the audience's attention, and the campaign devised by Eric Mower+Associates on behalf of GE Energy Masoneilan's control valve business is a prime example.
The campaign, launched in September 2011, features animal shapes formed out of control valves with witty headlines tied to each “animal.” For example, in a print ad featuring a charging bull made up of valves, the headline was: “Valve solutions that take charge.” An ad featuring a similarly composed owl sported the headline: “Digital field instruments to help you make wise decisions.”
Copy blocks explained how GE provides advanced valve solutions for difficult energy challenges. Arresting visuals, lots of white space, relevant headlines and sharp, brisk copy characterized the campaign.
“One of the disadvantages is making a product like valves interesting and relevant,” said John Favalo, managing partner, b-to-b group, at Eric Mower+Associates. “It's easy to fall into 'facts and figures' and 'features and benefits.' We tried to use rational appeal along with emotional appeal, bringing the human element into our work.”
Favalo said b-to-b marketing must focus on that emotional appeal. “People are always involved, and we always position our clients as problem-solvers,” he said.
Best honored 25 marketing executives and 46 campaigns in such categories as integrated programs, print, direct mail, TV, online video, online, out of home and trade shows.
During a question-and-answer period, most of the Top Marketer honorees agreed that 2013 would be characterized by a more personal, “humanized” approach that will focus on customers' problem-solving and success.
“In the past, we've talked about how wonderful our equipment is; but we hadn't been talking about how our instruments change lives,” said Barry Bruno, director-marketing, U.S., at Johnson & Johnson's Ortho Clinical Diagnostics division. “Now, we're focusing on the emotional connection, which has been a huge change for us, connecting with customers in better ways.”
Scott Coleman, VP-chief marketing and sales officer at DuPont, agreed.
“Many people have viewed us as a chemical company, but we'd like to be known as a science company, collaborating with open arms to help solve some of the world's most pressing problems.”
Some of that human element is focused within, according to Phil Clement, global chief marketing and communications officer at Aon Corp.
“Two years ago, during all the financial tumult, we were an entrepreneurial shop,” Clement said. “Now, we're building a wonderful marketing department through lots of training. Before, we were exclusively dedicated to the work itself, rather than how we're doing the work. Forty percent of my time now is devoted to this.”
Here are the complete lists of BtoB's Best Marketers,
and BtoB's Best Creative
winners, runners-up and honorable mentions for 2012.