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Funny business: Why use humor in B2B marketing?

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At first glance, humor doesn’t really fit the B2B industry’s stern and stoic demeanor. After all, why should it? Wouldn’t business men clowning around drive away customers with their “unprofessional” behavior?

Not according to Tim Washer. He’s the Social Media Manager for Cisco, which is about as B2B as you can get. He’s injected the B2B marketing scene with some much-needed humor—such as with a Valentine’s Day video launching a new product—and gotten away with it. A laugh-inducing video from supply manager Kinaxis and a whimsical video from energy company Epuron show how other companies are bringing humor to otherwise serious industries with memorable and shareable videos.

If you’re still not sure why humor is a good idea, consider this:

Humor Humanizes

Even B2B relationships boil down to individual people. And the best way for a customer to relate to your brand is for it to be “human” as well. Brands that poke fun at themselves through humor are more relatable, and therefore, more approachable.

Humor Stands Out

Everyone is accustomed to dull, corporate speak and dry product brochures. So when a humorous video comes barging onto the scene, it’s a breath of fresh air. It catches people’s attention precisely because it’s so off-the-wall and different. That, more than anything, is what people will remember.

Stronger Connection

One of the most important things in B2B humor is to poke fun at the problem, not the product. Identify with the pain point and make light of it. It’s a sly wink that says “yeah, we get it,” and forges a stronger connection between your brand and your customers.

Of course, there is a risk in using B2B humor. Humor is very subjective, and half-hearted attempts at creating a funny video have a chance of failing. But if you jump into it with both feet and possess a good sense of humor (or hire someone who does), then you—and your brand—might just have the time of your lives.

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