marketing,b2b,b2b marketing,visual marketing,visual content,graphic design,b2b graphic design

Effective visual B2B marketing ideas for CEOs

b2b marketing handshake cartoon

I felt like my previous boss always wanted to strangle me after every meeting.

In one of my previous marketing presentations to the CEO, I used Google forms to collect data. It automatically built charts to present the data. 

One time, I was so excited to share the results with the team that I didn’t bother to re-create the charts. It was a terrible mistake.

The team stalled in this one very confusing chart and I had to explain everything. The visual aid was not helpful at all and everyone, especially the CEO, was irritated instead of impressed. The chart looked like this:

bar graph bad example

The CEO spent the rest of the meeting lecturing me on how to present clear data and to avoid wasting their time. I remember seeing their flared nostrils from the other end of the conference table. *ugly cry*

CEOs are the targets of B2B Marketing and day in and day out, they look at charts and graphs to decide based on data.

Frustrate a CEO and you can say goodbye to the client account for good. You don’t want to incur the wrath of a top-level executive.

How to tame the dragon

Presenting or communicating to executives is tricky especially if you’re an outsider trying to introduce a product. For every interaction, you’ll have with them, in a meeting or in social media, hit them where they are weakest in…their lack of time.

I pondered why was my boss always irritated and yet not a single meeting was cancelled. 

After much thought, I realized they always mentioned the word: time – what a waste of time, they lost time, did I need more time to prepare, etc. Then it hit me: time is precious to C-Level executives.

Since then, I made a conscious effort to present information in the easiest way possible. I chewed the data and made it easier to digest. 

Soon, they were visibly impressed and, to my luck (?), they wanted to see more of me and my data in more meetings.

Learn from my mistakes. Help CEOs save time and brain space by making your message visually comprehensive. They’ll surely appreciate you for it. Once they’re grateful, selling to them would be easier.

This strategy is not only effective in the boardroom but in B2B marketing efforts as well. Good visual content is easy to consume, insightful, well-researched, and time-saving, all of a CEO’s favourite things.

female boss shouting cartoon
This is me, Alice in Corporate Land

Why is visual content engaging and memorable?

Humans are naturally visual creatures, which is reflected in our viewing habits and social media consumption. B2B marketers use visuals to highlight information, build an audience, and engage with that market segment.

Visual content marketing enhances the retention of bite-sized information. That makes it an essential part of a B2B content marketing strategy.

Here are eight visual content marketing ideas to enhance your campaigns.

1. Graphs and Charts

Graphs and charts are easy to reuse for various marketing channels. This is IF they’re comprehensive and well-designed. Do not, I repeat, do not spread the vile of ugly complicated charts like the one I had above. It’ll be bad for your brand.

Check out this chart from Statista. A Google image search shows that 1,560 websites have used this image, not because it had a museum-worthy design, but because it’s comprehensive.

All that exposure aids in Statista’s brand recognition and also improves lead generation.

most popular apps bar graph

2. Illustrations

Illustrations are the best tools that B2B marketers can use to explain business models and new concepts. Because illustrations are made from scratch by a professional designer, they can be altered to show the exact intention.

Here in Deer Designer’s onboarding deck, we used illustrations to introduce the design team you’ll be working with, processes, and instructions. We made sure that the illustrations are visually engaging and relevant.

If you create illustrations that share common characteristics, your audience will immediately recognize the brand through your marketing materials. That can result in clickthroughs to your site, a sale, or another positive outcome.

Client Onboarding Call Presentation

3. Action Photos

Action shots are one of the best sources of material if your company hosts a lot of events and hands-on projects. They’re great as proof of concept too. Remember to avoid stock photos because your competitor might be using the same ones too.

IBM promoted Quantum System One by using real-life action images of its installation procedure. This collaboration successfully caught the attention of Japanese laboratories and universities to adopt IBM’s system.

IBM instagram sample
IBM effectively using action photos for social media

4. User-Generated Content

User-generated content can help you connect with your company’s brand ambassadors and engage with your audience in the least sales-y way. 

You can collect a variety of designs, including videos, photos, social media updates, and even logos on walls.

It’s a terrific approach to gather visual content that demonstrates how your services benefit businesses and what real-world applications your products have. 

This also doubles as a testimonial or feedback which you can repurpose to onboard more clients.

hootsuite social media
User-generated content for Hootsuite

5. Pins on Pinterest

I don’t sell furniture! Pinterest is not for our company. I hear you but before you completely cancel Pinterest, it has its own merits.

Use your current inbound marketing content that can easily be repurposed for the platform. Remember to include graphics that are Pinterest-worthy.

Start small, one board at a time, and see how quickly your profile grows. The idea is to maximise Pinterest as a tool to spread the quality content you’ve already developed and to introduce people to your business in a new way.

GE pinterest sample
General Electric on Pinterest

Tickle the dragon

It’s tougher for B2B marketers to communicate through feelings but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. According to Forrester Research, empathy-driven content is needed to connect with B2B consumers on an emotional level.

Business buyers aren’t buying your product. They’re buying into your approach to solving their problem.

Visual content has to be well-designed. I can’t stress that enough. You want CEOs to whisper “awww” or “wow” and not curse under their breath because they can’t see well nor understand what’s being presented to them.

An excellent way to always deliver great designs is to engage a professional. The data and the hierarchy of information will come from your analysis.

Add a dash of creativity to wow your audience and you just might see more success in the B2B department.