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How to combine creativity and ambition to win in B2B marketing

Posted by Paula Fifield on 6th October 2022

There is a movement happening in B2B marketing right now calling for greater creativity, which is being positioned as a ‘superpower’ in the industry.

While I couldn’t agree more that creativity is key to campaign success, why limit yourself to one superpower when you have several at your disposal? I’d argue that combining ambition with creativity is where the real power lies.

Ambition is not dead

Wildfire’s purpose is to help tech companies turn their ambition into action. There is a growing movement happening in B2B marketing right now calling for ever greater creativity throughout the sector. What’s more, the message is becoming so loud that people are describing creativity as a ‘superpower’ within the industry.

But ambition seems to conjure different images for different people.

Views range from ambition being the ‘centre of evil’ to it being a ‘catalyst for good’. There are even suggestions that people have re-evaluated their priorities post-Covid and, as a result, ambition is dead.

While there is no doubt in my mind that people’s desires and drivers may have indeed changed post-Covid, ambition is not dead. It has simply changed direction.

Ambition and why it’s important

The Oxford Dictionary’s definition of ambition is, “a strong desire to do or achieve something”.

Unlike aspiration, which can be passive, ambition is more like a personality trait. It is persistent, pervasive and often linked with hope.

Ambition also infers boldness and offers an element of control.

The key thing to note is that the focus and strength of one person’s — or company’s — ambition can be quite different from another. Ambition could go in many directions.

Personal and professional ambition

Wildfire’s purpose is to help tech companies to turn their ambition into action.  We encourage our clients to embrace their bold side, using creativity to precipitate successful results.

We’ve found that the ambitions of businesses can vary greatly. However, within each brand, the ambitions of the company are usually reflected in the personal goals of the marketing and PR professionals that represent them.

These individuals, and teams, have wholeheartedly bought into the brand’s purpose and are looking to develop their marketing practice, department, or efforts into a strategic asset for the business to help it reach or sustain commercial success.

The ambition-creativity bridge

The ambition-creativity connection is interesting. There are articles which suggest that ambition can ruin creativity and vice versa. There is also evidence to suggest that the two are highly complementary.

WARC and The LinkedIn Institute have proven beyond all doubt that creative commitment leads to greater effectiveness in B2B and B2C marketing. Despite this, only 5% of the 435 campaigns analysed reached scores in the upper half of the creative effectiveness scale.

Taking WARC’s findings one step further, Wildfire has proof that creative marketing — which combines humour and emotion for long-term branding building with rational short-term campaign activations — can expedite the ambitions of marketers and the companies they serve.

The ambition-creativity connection bridges the desire to achieve something with the desire to use imagination and ideas to achieve something. The latter usually relates to something you want to share with others.

Using insights rooted in research combined with bold ideas, we work as a creative partner to our clients to create campaigns that they’re excited to share.

Right now, technology brands do not feature heavily on the WARC effectiveness list of companies. In fact, only two technology companies feature in the top 50. It may be that because many B2B tech brands are founded and run by engineers, creativity can be much further down the list of priorities.  Tech boffins typically prefer to concentrate on R&D and innovation until such time it becomes apparent that it’s going to take more than science to secure the commercial success of the brand.

It’s time tech marketers took the leap, embracing creativity to fulfil their ambitions and achieve great things for their brands.

Priorities and best practice

If your existing marketing efforts comfortably sit in the bottom half of the ‘The B2B Effectiveness ladder’, which includes ‘response trigger’, ‘lead generator’ and ‘sale closer’ campaigns, it’s time to start being more ambitious.

As B2B marketers, we need to address the reports that a lack of creativity has stunted the growth of the B2B industry by developing brand-led creative campaigns that inform, engage and delight our audiences over the longer term.

By prioritising this approach, marketers can use creativity not only to address existing demand but also to create new demand. By securing future commercial success and achieving their ambition of moving marketing from a cost base to a profit centre, they can position it as the strategic business asset we all need it to be.

In other words, they can turn creativity into a superpower.

Paula Fifield

Paula began working with the agency in 2007 as Business Development Director and was appointed as a board director in 2011. Prior to Wildfire, Paula worked at Sun Microsystems, Orange and Morse Group in a range of marketing, customer relationship management and business development roles.