The business of marketing B2B: Surprising, interesting and unexpected

February 22, 2022

Mark Dello Stritto

Mark Dello Stritto knows advertising and marketing. Working in agency roles in Pittsburgh before relocating to Happy Valley, he has more than 25 years in advertising and spent more than a decade overseeing his own ad agency, Loaded Creative, before selling to Pittsburgh-based Blink in 2019. Now, he’s one of Blink’s four partners and vice president of creative. Blink operates two offices, one in Pittsburgh and one in Dello Stritto’s Bellefonte, offering full-service capabilities including internal video production and digital marketing. 

Blink has worked with a range of B2B clients, from Aethon, which serves the healthcare and hospitality sectors with autonomous mobile robots, to Acrelec, a global technology company focused on the restaurant and retail sectors. On a day-to-day basis, Dello Stritto plays a large role in ensuring Blink’s B2B clients get the kind of marketing and branding they need to succeed in an ever-changing landscape — and that landscape, he says, is filled with new challenges that require B2B companies to break out of their comfort zones. 

Changing landscape, changing tactics 

“The past few years have dramatically changed many B2B industries and upended their approaches to marketing and sales. Industry literature and publications are lighter and thinner, trade-shows aren’t quite like they used to be, media has consolidated and the changing workforce is altering both internal and client-side operations,” he says. “B2B clients need to reconsider their marketing tactics, evaluate their brand messaging and invest in and explore a more tailored and data-driven advertising plan. There has to be a perfect marriage between the creative idea, data and the touchpoint where a prospect may interact with the advertising. Investing in branding and a marketing strategy for B2B clients is more important now than ever.”

Unfortunately, for a lot of B2B businesses, it’s not always easy to deviate away from the same ol’ marketing tactics, something Dello Stritto considers a struggle particular to this group of clients, compared to B2C clients or those who are more lifestyle than business or industry-focused.

He notes, “I believe the most unique challenge that our B2B clients face is not marketing their company's specialization or productization, but the ability to allow themselves to get out of their comfort zone with their advertising and messaging. Many B2B businesses are hesitant to try surprising, interesting or unexpected ideas in their space. When our clients break the habit of playing it safe with their B2B advertising, they become more excited about their marketing than ever before. A non-conventional approach to tech/industry/manufacturing/research advertising, whether through the use of humor, cleverness, thought-provoking or provocative ideas, cuts through the B2B clutter and samenesses. We always suggest that our B2B clients allow themselves to leave that safe place and see how their messaging performs. Usually, it just comes down to going with their gut and giving it a shot.” 

The results speak for themselves 

And when those clients give it a shot and trust their marketing agency to make the right creative decisions that will allow a B2B brand to succeed? Dello Stritto says that’s when the projects that he’s most proud of come about. 

“When our client’s get excited to try something different and they continue to receive a positive response through applause, inquiries and sales, then our clients become just as passionate as we are when it comes to creating impactful and meaningful advertising. That makes for a great agency-client relationship,” he says. 

What do you think are the biggest challenges B2B businesses face in their marketing and advertising? What marketing challenges has your B2B business encountered and how did you overcome them? Let us share your story. Get in touch, at greg@affinityconnection.com

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