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B2B brands: Start using creative to stop wasting your media spend

Sean McEntee
Sean McEntee
4 min read
3 August 2022

Why do B2B brands ignore creative strategy? It’s a troubling reality, especially considering creative accounts for 75% of an ad’s ability to make a brand impression. Many brands spend so much of their digital marketing budgets on media spend across various channels, but aren’t doing everything they can to maximize that investment.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of B2B brands just don’t look at creative the same way that many B2C businesses do – and it’s hurting their performance. Creative assets are stale, not updated regularly, rarely tested, and take a “one-size-fits-all” approach rather than taking target personas into account.

Many brands aren’t looking at the bigger picture of how a piece of creative would fit into their broader brand vision and strategy. They understand the importance of unique and dedicated budgets, strategies, and management for each of the channels within their paid media program. In-house teams or media agencies more often than not consider channel nativity when it comes to B2B creative, as ensuring the aspect ratio is correct for the placement like cutting a desktop ad for LinkedIn to a square for placement on Instagram (although that is even often missed). But of course, prospects on LinkedIn are not consuming media the same way they do on Instagram. Rather than meeting prospects where they are and messaging in a way that feels native for the platform, too often we see ad spend wasted on creative that fails to even capture attention.

With growing signal loss and the impending death of third-party cookies, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to target your audience. That’s why it’s more important than ever to build a holistic, integrated strategy that applies to everything you do – including your creative approach. Creative strategy has always been a “growth driver” that is an omnipresent, powerful factor in everything you do across the brand and buying experience. And in a world now beyond third-party data and attribution, it’s a lever that’s ALWAYS in your control. Some B2B brands that have done a great job implementing an effective creative strategy include Slack,, Shopify, TikTok for Business, UpWork, and Paypal.

Something important to note here is that a strong creative strategy might sound difficult to outline and implement, but in reality, it doesn’t have to be. If you’re just getting started…

  • Align your media strategy with your creative planning, and document measurable goals. Think about the key KPIs and the segments you need to hit within the different channels to reach your broader goals. Once that’s done, you can build out a quarterly creative strategy.
  • Start with what you know about creative performance. What has worked well on what channels? What can you infer from historical performance trends? Then build on that.
  • Look at your competition within the vertical and platform, and use that to inform your approach.
  • Build an execution strategy that allows broad messaging to your key personas, but avoid a “one-size-fits-all” strategy.
  • Don’t neglect the middle funnel. Too often, B2B brands avoid educational content and don’t talk about the key product features, don’t show the product as solutions to common pain points, and don’t cover persona-specific use cases.
  • Build a learning and testing agenda into your creative execution, and think about how those learnings can improve performance. Knowing that one call to action is better than another is good, but you need to CONSTANTLY be learning.
  • Most importantly, track your results and ensure they are shared within the organization. Creative learnings can do more than improve click-through rates on your next ad – you can uncover new audience opportunities, product positioning, or unearth opportunities for new channels.

At DEPT®, we work with businesses to develop a comprehensive creative approach aligned with a media program that will improve brand awareness, grow addressable audiences, and convert more customers. To see how we can help you get started on the path to creative success, reach out today.

Learn more about our creative performance offering


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Sean McEntee