Informative advertising: is creativity valuable in B2B tech?

Updated: Jan 18


In advertising, we are familiar with the idea that creativity is valuable. After all, we are bombarded with so many adverts these days, on the radio, on TV, on social media and in a wider sense the internet. With so much competition it makes sense that companies would have to work harder to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Their adverts need to be memorable and easily identifiable to the company or brand. However, when we think about products or services targeted to businesses, we may not have the same impression. We assume functionality and features take precedence over creativity. A slick advert doesn’t necessarily mean a product or services effectiveness or practicability. In order to explore this subject further, this blog post will use the case study of Procore, cloud-based construction software. To find out more just keep reading.

The Case Study

Brand: Procore Ad descriptive: Cloud-based Construction Software

Figure: Procore, Cloud-Based Construction Software: Sidebar Ad, http://blog.capterra.com/b2b-facebook-advertising-tips/

Article: Baack, D. Wilson, R. van Dessel, M. & Patti, C. 2016, “Advertising to businesses: Does creativity matter?”, Industrial Marketing Management, vol.55, p. 169, viewed 26 July 2017, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.indmarman.2015.10.001

Analytical critique: Snapshot

Criteria Analysis in Brief Objective Centralise business services and ease the sharing of data cross-departmentally; Aperture concept Intended Audience Contractors, owners, professionals in the construction industry Effectiveness Highly effective as cloud-based software greater accessibility, reporting can be done in real time, reduced costs to the business as servers don’t need to be maintained Room for Improvement Clearly communicate the measures the company will take to ensure the security of data

Analytical critique: In full

The advertisement

The product on offer by Procore is one designed to centralize business functions, increase dependability on business data, streamline work efforts and assist in cross-departmental communications in the construction industry. The software serves the purpose of centralizing project management functions such as engineering drawings, progress schedules, engineering specifications, and submittals/transmittals. It also centralizes data for quality and safety such as inspection reports and punch lists. Lastly, it also centralizes data regarding costs for contracts and contract variations. Having the ability to share data across departments is already a considerable advantage. The fact that this brand offers businesses the possibility to store this data online means that companies are no longer constrained to needing access to a specific computer. Accessibility is critical in business and a local server glitch can spell disaster so any software that uses remote servers to carry out business functions and data storage is advantageous. The ready appeal of being able to store, manage and process business information for an architect, engineer or construction manager working on a site rather than an office is inestimable. Working remotely need not be an ordeal if the product is fit for purpose. Less costly, more accessible and reduced delays in business processes can only pique the interest of the average B2B (business to business) consumer as there will be a return on investment in terms of increased productivity.

The article When we talk of advertising for general consumers and business consumers a false dichotomy arises. One that tells us that business consumers are more detached, attracted simply by tangible benefits and are unbiased in their consumer choices (Brown et al., 2011 in Baack, Wilson, van Dessel & Patti, 2016, p. 170). We have come to understand the B2B consumer purchasing process a simple and only consisting of four steps: need identification, the definition of specifications, evaluation of alternatives and lastly vendor selection (Baack et al., 2016, p. 170). B2B consumers are said to not obey the laws of general consumers, however, research shows they too are subject to the influence of arbitrary information (in Baack, 2016, p. 170). The choices that B2B consumers are making are affected by the potential impact the decision will have on the business, by how involved the decision-making process is and how risky the decision-making process is (in Baack, 2016, p. 170). Any B2B consumer will be concerned about making the right choice, justifying that choice and ensuring that it will not result in a loss to the company (Baack, 2016, p. 170).

If a brand can build “trust, peace of mind and security, can increase customer engagement (and) build customer relationships (Lynch & de Chernatony, 2004 in Baack et al., 2016, p. 170) all of which are subjective factors while answering all objective B2B consumer criteria it stands to reason that purchasing intent will increase. The brand can engage the customer with “different, unusual or divergent” Ang & Low, 2000; Smith & Yang, 2004 in Baack et al., 2016, p. 171) elements while still retaining elements that have unambiguous meaning to the B2B consumer (Baack et al., 2016, p. 171). These unusual elements will clarify the message, add value to the marketing argument and increase the potential for favourable purchasing outcomes for the brand. Piquing B2B consumers curiosity means more product inquiries, more brand awareness, and potentially increased sales.

We understand then that all consumers can be swayed by the way an advertising message is received. No consumer is truly making unbiased choices. Company politics, personal or professional experiences and industry influences, for example, may rise above any purely practical concerns. So, it’s not a question of either creativity in the delivery of information or type and quality of information delivered. Creativity and function can happily coexist and influence B2B customers purchasing choices. The challenge is of course to find just the right balance of both.

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