Getting Funny, B2B Style
Humor is serious business. Wait, maybe it’s business is seriously humorous? I forget which is right but free thinking and smart marketing professionals know both can be true. It’s way past time for B2B to shed its stoic coat and celebrate the humor in life because if it ain’t funny, it ain’t interesting, even in the world of business.
A good sense of humor is said to be the most powerful aphrodisiac in the world, so why wouldn’t you use it to romance your clientele? Humor personalizes a relationship, makes it intimate and human. Too many B2B companies fail to get past first base with their customers because they can’t find a way to make them laugh. Let’s look at some B2B campaigns that got the whole funny thing right.
I Like It When He Gives Me the Business
Zendesk, the SaaS customer service platform, uses everyone’s mental image of grandma and grandpa to explain how relationship problems get in the way of good business. It starts out with an interviewer asking:
“Has your relationship seen any hard times?”
Whose hasn’t right? In this case, though, the elderly couple doesn’t represent two people talking about their 50-year marriage but a company owner and his customer telling the story of a rocky business relationship. Grandma responds with:
“When we first met, his customer service was just awful.”
It was so bad, she complained about it to everyone including her bridge club, her sister Lorraine and her 41,000 Twitter followers. Ouch, that hurts.
Grandpa businessman was able to fix his troubled customer service using ZenDesk and now Grandma loves it when he gives her the business. ZenDesk uses subtle humor to show the importance of good customer service and how their SaaS service can help. This video is part of a funny series ZenDesk did to highlight the complication of relationships.
Doctor! They are a Weird Bunch!
POSist, a Restaurant POS software and management system, took their B2B humor to the next level to show that they are a laid-back company, maybe too laid-back. A new employee is telling his psychiatrist (or is it?!) about his experience working at POSist.
“Since joining POSist, I’ve been noticing things…unnatural things!”
Their overwhelming niceness is a little too Stepford for him. So much so, he begs them to call him names and looks for ways to prove they are not perfect. It ends with:
“POSist Not every workplace sucks!”
The goal here is two-fold. As a company, POSist wants to draw the top talent into their unnatural fold and they also want to show their B2B customers a little about how they operate.
Our Jokes are Not Like Your Jokes
Intel makes a statement about their innovation while making fun of the fact that they really are a bunch of nerds. Dr. Mario Paniccia, Intel Photonics Research Director, nonchalantly sneaks up to a clear board with mathematical formulas on it and changes a minus sign to a plus. His colleague walks in, looks at the formula and says:
“Oh, very funny. You got me.”
Dr. Paniccia is in the background laughing in a way that guarantees you’ll laugh with him. It ends with:
“Our jokes are not like your jokes. Intel Sponsors of Tomorrow.”
It’s the kind of humor that is so stupid you can’t help but find it funny. For Intel, it’s enough just to remind you that they are at the top of the field.
Nuthin’ But an App Thang
“Oh back up cuz you know it bout to mash it up give it a microphone first so why combust like a buffer email and CRM together.”
They purposely made this video on the cheap to give it a more realistic look. It ends with the two tagging Vertical Response on a wall and then Mailing Lists of Any Size pops up.
Everyone Gets AI
Of course, there are many ways to deliver humor. CB Insights, a technology company that is built around machine learning and data visualization, did it in meme form on their newsletter. The meme consisted of Oprah pointing to her audience saying:
“You get AI, You get AI, Everyone Gets AI”
It works well for two reasons. One, it’s just funny, right? I mean come on who doesn’t love that Oprah gag? Second, it’s delivered as part of their newsletter, which shows CB Insights can laugh at themselves but still stay on point. Whether it’s a cartoon, cat meme or aliens, static images can be just as funny as a moving picture.
A Couple Things to Keep in Mind
Here are some tips for getting your funny on, B2B style:
- Corporate comedy is an art form so don’t be afraid to outsource it to a writer to get the best shtick possible. Look me up, I’m playing all week.
- Focus on pain points. Good comedy comes from a place of pain, so use that when developing funny campaigns.
- Don’t be afraid to get a little absurd with your service or product. It is a good way to showcase it and keep the laughs coming at the same time.
- Self-deprecating humor is the bomb. That’s right, make fun of yourself, your CEO, your process, whatever it takes because as soon as you start taking it all too seriously, your customers will know it.
Humor allows you to connect in a way that stands out, so go ahead show ‘em that your business is professional enough to be funny.
Darla F is a full-time freelance writer published internationally and an award-winning author. Over the last decade, she has ghostwritten memoirs for a successful entrepreneur and created byline pieces for USAToday, Jillian Michaels, USARiseUP, New York Times — About.com, Multibrief, MedCity News, LiveStrong and AOL. Darla is known for her ability to take complex topics and make them clear to anyone.