RES OF
U
T
N
E
V
D
A
E
THE AWESOM
Or: How to
Use Comics in
B2B Content
Marketing
Story: Fiona Campbell-Howes
Art: Kirsty Swan
Letters: Emily King
INTRODUCTION: THE TROUBLE
WITH B2B MARKETING
HOW MANY
LEADS DID THAT
LAST WEBINAR
GENERATE?
LET ME JUST
RUN THE
ANALYTICS…
HANG ON… HERE
WE GO… 1.
IN A BIG ENTERPRISE
TECHNOLOGY FIRM, A MARKETING
TEAM IS HAVING PROBLEMS…
ONE LEAD?
HOW MANY
PEOPLE
WATCHED THE
WEBINAR?
I’VE GOT
THAT HERE,
YES: 20.
TWENTY
PEOPLE
WATCHED AND
WE ONLY GOT
ONE LEAD?
THE OTHER 19
PEOPLE WERE
FROM OUR
AGENCY.
SALES ARE GOING
TO KILL US. WE’RE
MEANT TO DELIVER
50 MARKETING
QUALIFIED LEADS
BY FRIDAY. WHAT
ARE WE DOING
WRONG?
IF I MIGHT
MAKE A
SUGGESTION….
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1
#b2bcomic
OUR WEBINAR WAS
BORING. WHAT WAS THE
TITLE? “LEVERAGING
MEGACORP’S
AUTOMATED SOLUTIONS
TO MAXIMISE BUSINESS
EFFICIENCY”?
SO WHAT
YOU’RE SAYING
IS… WE NEED TO
USE LESS
JARGON?
WHO’S GOING TO
GET EXCITED
ABOUT THAT? IT’S
JUST JARGON.
I’M SAYING WE NEED TO
MAKE IT REAL. TELL
STORIES ABOUT REAL
PROBLEMS OUR
CUSTOMERS HAVE.
MAKE THEM LAUGH.
MAKE THEM CRY.
AND THEN TELL
THEM HOW TO MAKE
IT ALL BETTER.
MAYBE NOT A
WEBINAR.
MAYBE A….
RIGHT. WE NEED
TO RECORD A
WEBINAR THAT
WILL MAKE
PEOPLE CRY.
…A WHITE
PAPER?
A COMIC!
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#b2bcomic
CHAPTER 1:
WHY COMICS?
BUT… COMICS ARE FOR
KIDS, AREN’T THEY? I
LOVED SPIDER-MAN
WHEN I WAS LITTLE.
BUT WE’RE
MARKETING TO
GROWN-UPS, WITH
SERIOUS JOBS, AND
HARD DECISIONS TO
MAKE.
COMICS
AREN’T JUST
FOR KIDS.
LISTEN TO JOE
PULIZZI.
“HERE’S WHAT A COMIC BOOK
IS NOT: A GIMMICK JUST FOR
KIDS. BY REINFORCING TEXT
WITH VIVID PICTURES, COMIC
BOOKS COMMUNICATE IN A FUN,
FAST AND MEMORABLE WAY
TO READERS OF ALL AGES.
FOR INSTRUCTIONAL CONTENT,
COMICS MAY BE ONE OF THE
VERY BEST TACTICS
AVAILABLE.”
WELL, JOE
PULIZZI KNOWS
HIS STUFF.
HE’S THE
GODFATHER OF
CONTENT
MARKETING.
AND THE ONLY MAN ALIVE
WHO LOOKS GOOD IN ORANGE.
BUT WHY’S A COMIC BETTER
THAN AN EBOOK? THEY HAVE
VIVID PICTURES TOO. USUALLY
OF PIE CHARTS, BUT HEY,
WE’RE IN B2B.
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#b2bcomic
BUT WE’RE
SELLING REALLY
COMPLEX STUFF.
WOULDN’T A COMIC
MAKE IT ALL SEEM
A BIT TOO
SIMPLISTIC?
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE
STORY. DRAWING THE
AUDIENCE IN. CREATING
CHARACTERS THEY
IDENTIFY WITH, IN A
WORLD THEY
RECOGNISE. SHOWING
WE UNDERSTAND THEIR
PROBLEMS.
AND THAT WE
CAN HELP.
NOT IF WE DO IT
RIGHT. ASK
SCOTT MCCLOUD.
AND HERE’S
BUSINESS
ILLUSTRATOR’S
VIRPI OINONEN.
“A SIMPLE
STYLE DOESN’T
NECESSITATE
SIMPLE STORY.”
“WHILE IT
IS TRUE
THAT
SOME
AUDIENCES
MAY FIND
COMICS
[...] A BIT
IMMATURE,
YOU WOULD BE SURPRISED
HOW MANY SENIOR
MANAGERS IN CONSERVATIVE
INDUSTRIES APPRECIATE THIS
ART FORM!”
LIKE
PEANUTS?
OR
DILBERT?
OK, BUT… I’M STILL
NOT CONVINCED OUR
AUDIENCE WOULD
READ A COMIC.
DILBERT IS A
GOOD EXAMPLE
FOR US. HERE’S
SCOTT ADAMS ON
WHY DILBERT
APPEALS TO A
BUSINESS
AUDIENCE.
MAYBE NOT A
FULL GRAPHIC
NOVEL, IF THEY
WEREN’T USED TO
THE FORMAT. BUT
WHAT ABOUT A
CARTOON STRIP?
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“MANY OF THE SUGGESTIONS I
GET FROM READERS START WITH,
‘A COWORKER OF MINE HAS THIS
ANNOYING HABIT.’ NO MATTER HOW
RANDOM OR OBSCURE THAT
HABIT IS, I ALWAYS FEEL LIKE I
KNOW THAT PERSON TOO.”
SO I GET THAT
PEOPLE LOVE
COMICS ABOUT THEIR
WORK PROBLEMS.
AND THAT IF WE DO
IT RIGHT...
“CHARACTERS THEY
IDENTIFY WITH, IN A
WORLD THEY
RECOGNISE.”
WE CAN SHOW
PEOPLE WE
UNDERSTAND
THOSE PROBLEMS.
WE CREATE
EMPATHY WITH OUR
AUDIENCE.
EXACTLY.
…AND WITH LUCK WE
ALSO MAKE THEM LAUGH.
WHICH I’M PRETTY SURE
NONE OF OUR WHITE
PAPERS EVER HAS.
BUT I DON’T WANT TO BE THE
FIRST TO DO IT. WHAT IF IT DIDN’T
WORK? WHAT IF WE
LOOKED…STUPID?
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#b2bcomic
CHAPTER 2: WHO’S
DOING IT?
2002
WE WOULDN’T BE THE
FIRST TO DO IT. THERE’S
A WHOLE HISTORY OF
COMICS IN B2B
MARKETING.
C A RT O O N I S T H U G H MACL EO D
O F G A P I N G V O I D S TAR TS
DRA W I N G C A RT O O NS F O R
M I C RO S O F T , D E S I GNED TO ACT
A S ‘ S O C I A L O BJ E CTS’ , O R
C O N V E RS A T I O N - S TAR TER S.
G O O G L E U SES A 3 9-P AGE ONLINE
CO MI C TO EXP L AI N THE TEC HNIC A L
WO RKI NG S O F
I TS CHR O ME
B R O WSER . THE
AR TWO R K I S
CR EATED B Y
CO MI CS L EG END
SCO TT
MCCL O U D.
“I WANTED TO B E P ART O F
THE CO NVERSATI O N, AND
B ECAU SE I WAS THE O NL Y
O NE DO I NG CAR TO O NS I N
THE SP ACE, I G O T
NO TI CED.”
“P EO P L E SEEMED G ENU I NEL Y
SU R P R I SED B Y THE DEG REE TO
WHI CH THEY U NDER STO O D
WHAT THEY WER E R EADI NG AND
THE DEG R EE TO WHI CH THEY
WER E I NTER ESTED I N WHAT
THEY WER E R EADI NG .”
2008
2009
2 01 2
“ Y O U C A N ’ T J U S T S T A RT BE I N G
S O C I A L . Y O U H A V E T O BE
DO I N G S O M E T H I N G L I K A BL E
A N D S H A RA BL E I N T H E F I RS T
P L A C E . A N Y O N E C A N DO I T , I F
Y O U ’ RE DO I N G S O M E T H I N G
DE L I G H T F U L . ”
S A G E CR EA T E S A C O M I C - S T RI P
CHA R A CT E R, S A RA BA RL O W ,
F I X ED A S S E T S M A N A G E R, T O
S HOW CA S E T H E BE N E F I T S O F
I T S S OF T W A RE O N T H E S A G E
F I X ED A S S E T S BL O G .
2010
“O CTO B ER ' S CARTO O N-B L O G G I NG
AT THE R EAL -TI ME WEB SU MMI T
WAS A WEL L -RECEI VED
EXP ER I MENT I N I NNO VATI VE
EVENT CO VERAG E.”
M A RK E T E R- T U RNED-CAR TO O NI ST
T O M F I S H BU RN E STAR TS
M A RK E T O O N S T U DI O S, CR EATI NG
BE S P O K E C A RT O O NS F O R SO CI AL
S H A RI N G , F O R BR ANDS L I KE
V O DA F O N E , O RA CL E, G E, AND I NTU I T.
2014
2013
E-M A R KET I N G P L A T F O RM
M A I L CHI M P C RE A T E S A
W EB COM I C TO A L I G N T H E
M A I L CHI M P BRA N D W I T H I T S
S I S T ER A PP, M A N DRI L L .
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CAR TO O NI STS L I KE MATT B U CK
AND R O B CO TTI NG HAM STAR T
R ECEI VI NG CO MMI SSI O NS TO
DR AW THE DI SCU SSI O NS AT B 2 B
CO NF ER ENCES I N R EAL -TI ME.
M A RK E T I N G A U T O M A T I O N SO F TWAR E
C O M P A N Y M A RK E T O U SES CO MI C-B O O K
S T Y L E A N I M A L C H A RA C TERS TO B RI NG
I T S DE F I N I T I V E G U I DE T O L EAD
G E N E RA T I O N T O L I F E .
O K, SO L O TS O F
P EO P L E ARE DO I NG I T
AL R EADY. I ’ M WAR MI NG
TO THI S. B U T HO W DO
WE MAKE O NE?
“ T H I S M A RK ETI NG
M E N A G E RI E L ENDS A
L I G H T H E A RT E D VI SU AL
P U N C H L I N E T O WHAT
M I G H T ’ V E O T H E RWI SE B EEN
A BU T T O N E D - U P HO W-TO .”
#b2bcomic
7
CHAPTER 3: DIY OR DELEGATE?
THERE ARE LOTS OF
WAYS TO CREATE A
COMIC. SOMETIMES,
LOTS OF PEOPLE
ARE INVOLVED.
HI! I’M A COMICS
WRITER. YOU TELL ME
WHAT STORY YOU
WANT TO TELL, AND
WHO YOU WANT TO
TELL IT TO.
THEN I’LL WRITE A
SCRIPT, ALL DIVIDED UP
INTO PANELS, READY TO
BE DRAWN. THEN I’LL
HAND IT OVER TO…
…ME, THE
COMICS
ILLUSTRATOR.
I’LL TAKE THE
SCRIPT AND
DRAW IT,
USING THE
GLORIOUS
ARTISTIC
VISION I HAVE
INSIDE MY
OWN HEAD.
SOMETIMES
WE’RE THE
SAME PERSON.
(OR IN THE
STYLE THAT
YOU PREFER –
I’M VERY
VERSATILE.)
HI! I’M A COLOURIST. I
ADD COLOUR AND LIFE
TO THE ILLUSTRATOR’S
BLACK-AND-WHITE
DRAWINGS.
HI! I’M A LETTERER. I
DESIGN AND CREATE
THE CAPTIONS, THE
SPEECH. LIKE THIS
THING I’M SAYING
NOW.
MAYBE NOT ALL OF
THEM. WE COULD EVEN
HAVE A GO OURSELVES,
USING STICK PEOPLE,
OR AN ONLINE
COMICS-CREATION
TOOL LIKE PIXTON.COM.
TO BEGIN WITH,
ANYWAY.
HI! I’M AN INKER. I
REINFORCE THE
ILLUSTRATOR’S PENCIL
DRAWINGS WITH INK
OUTLINES, LIGHT AND
SHADOW.
WOAH, DO WE REALLY
NEED ALL THOSE
PEOPLE? THAT’S A LOT
OF POS TO RAISE.
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LET’S GIVE IT A TRY!
BUT…WHAT SHOULD IT
BE ABOUT?
#b2bcomic
CHAPTER 4: THEMES FOR B2B
COMICS
TOPICS THAT LEND
THEMSELVES WELL TO
COMICS? HOW ABOUT A
CASE STUDY?
ALLOW ME,
MADAM.
I WISH I COULD
COLLATE THESE
REPORTS FASTER, I’VE
GOT A DATE AT 7.30.
SOON HAVE
THEM ALL DONE
FOR YOU,
MADAM. SO YOU
CAN GO ON
YOUR DATE.
SOD THE DATE,
WHAT ARE YOU
DOING LATER?
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OR A BIT OF
INDUSTRY HUMOUR,
MAYBE…
I HEAR THE CEO HAS
BOUGHT ONE OF THOSE
TELEPRESENCE
DRONES.
I HEARD IT WAS SO
HE COULD SPY ON
EMPLOYEES.
SO HE CAN ATTEND
MEETINGS WITHOUT
LEAVING HIS
OFFICE? NICE.
BACK TO
WORK! BEFORE
I ZAP YOU!
SURELY HE’S
TOO BUSY FOR
THAT.
OR WE COULD EXPLORE A
TOPICAL ISSUE AFFECTING
OUR CUSTOMERS…
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DAMMIT ROY! THE
REGULATOR WILL BE HERE
IN 20 MINUTES! WHERE’S
OUR BUSINESS CONTINUITY
PLAN?
ER, IT WAS
DESTROYED IN THE
FIRE. WHICH IS IRONIC,
WHEN YOU THINK
ABOUT IT.
WELL FOR F—‘S SAKE
WRITE A NEW ONE! WE
CAN’T AFFORD TO
FAIL THE INDUSTRY
STRESS TEST!
ER, I’LL DO MY
BEST.
I TOOK THE
LIBERTY OF
PREPARING A
NEW PLAN FOR
YOU, SIR.
I CAN’T WRITE A BUSINESS
CONTINUITY PLAN IN 20
MINUTES. THOSE THINGS TAKE
MONTHS.
BASICALLY, ANYTHING THAT
WILL EDUCATE, ENTERTAIN OR
INFORM OUR CUSTOMERS…AND
WHICH LENDS ITSELF TO A
VISUAL STORYTELLING
FORMAT.
I CAN SEE IT NOW. BUT
ONCE WE’VE MADE IT, HOW
WILL ANYONE KNOW ABOUT
IT?
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#b2bcomic
CHAPTER 5: GETTING IT OUT
THERE
LOTS OF WAYS! HERE
ARE SOME IDEAS:
TRADESHOW GIVEAWAY…
WEBSITE SERIALISATION…
PRESS/BLOGGER
EXCLUSIVE…
E-MARKETING CAMPAIGN…
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this:
“YOUR EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW
OF “HI, ROBOT”, THE NEW
ONLINE COMIC FROM
MEGACORP…”
12
#b2bcomic
ROBOTS, AWESOME!
SLIDESHARE EMBED…
PRINTED DM PIECE…
USING ALL OUR
FAVOURITE TOOLS TO
MEASURE ITS SUCCESS,
OF COURSE…
OK, I’M CONVINCED.
LET’S DO IT!
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#b2bcomic
Want to make a comic? We want to write it for you!
Two things make a really good comic: a great story and art
that makes it come alive. If you’re excited about including
comic strips or even full-on comic books (like this one) in your
marketing mix, we’d love to write the story for you.
Radix is a niche copywriting agency specialising in content
development and brand storytelling for B2B technology brands.
We’ve written reams of content in many formats (including
comics) for brands including Avaya, Basware, Fujitsu, Oracle,
Rackspace, Salesforce, Wipro and many more. Talk to us to find
out how we can help you create content that stands out and
gets results.
Fiona Campbell-Howes
Radix Communications Ltd
Tel: +44 (0)1326 373592
Email: [email protected]
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DISCLAIMER: The inclusion of quotes and entities in this document does not mean that the sources
of these share the views of this document or Radix Communications Ltd. or endorse either.
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Or: How to Use Comics in B2B Content Marketing