Humour in B2B Marketing – Really?

Humour in B2B: Eloqua Example

Think B2B marketing and you probably don’t think – light, fun, and entertaining. You think serious script, growth charts, ROI calculations, and perhaps a TCO tool.  B2B is all about traditional marketing for a straight forward, rational decision making process, right? Well you are right that informative marketing is a core piece of B2B marketing… but there is room for some humour that differentiates.

Advertising Age’s top B2B trend in marketing for 2015 is storytelling! If you want to make a story interesting then you better have some humour baked in. In fact it is a great way to break the mold, become memorable, and differentiate.


A great example of memorable video marketing for B2B is an ad by Taulia – from 2013. Vidyard pointed this one out in their blog on content marketing by Jennifer Pepper, Examples of B2B Video Marketing.  This one is definitely over the top. It is compelling to watch, and just entertaining. Most importantly it breaks to mold on advertising a straight laced, boring invoicing B2B product. You expect a white paper, or ad selling you on the benefits of Taulia. Instead they use an approach that etches itself into your memory with humour.



Admittedly, Taulia’s approach takes a bold approach to B2B marketing memorability. It will NOT work for every B2B brand persona. In that respect, I was pleasantly surprised to see humour injected into a Cisco video. This humour is a little more subdued… but a great example of the ability to use humour in B2B to a traditionally serious market – with a traditionally facts based, rational marketing approach. Thanks to Ann Handley’s blog for pointing this one out in Humor and B2B Marketing: A Love Story.


Still not convinced? As I alluded earlier, humour in B2B marketing will not suit every firm and ever brand persona. A more common approach that is used widely is the cartoon story approach. A video or storyline along a cartoon theme is common in B2B and gives the brand more flexibility with a contained humour approach within the cartoon storyline. It gives the brand or product category a fresh sense of optimism about the facts, and compelling points, told in such a way that it engages and interests the prospect.

Our final example here was also noted by Vidyard in Jennifer Pepper’s blog referenced above. This video is by Eloqua, another well known, established B2B brand. They use a great storyline to paint their vision. Were this told without a touch of drama, plot, animation and story… you have to wonder whether anyone would actually watch this it. With the touch of humour – it is actually interesting to watch through to the end!


Humour / No Humour

All told, marketing in the B2B world does NOT have to be boring. It must include the compelling facts, figures, and proof points that a customer wants and needs to know to consider your offering. However, as the above video examples have shown, there is always room for humour in our work. Take the time to make your next marketing series memorable. Humour might just be the key you need.




B2B = Business to Business
ROI = Return on Investment
TCO = Total Cost of Ownership


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