August 13, 2019 John

Humor in B2B Marketing? You Can’t Be Serious.

If you’re a B2B Marketer wondering if humor has a place in your messaging, stop.  The answer is NO.

Everyone knows that humor is a great way to reach people and make that all-important bond with your audience.  People are just very receptive to the insights and truths that humor brings to a human interaction.

Which is why it absolutely will NOT work in B2B marketing.  No way.  How could it?

You can’t market or communicate to a business the way you would to a person! The thought of it makes me laugh! (But that’s because I’m a person, and people like me do enjoy laughing.)

Businesses are serious places with serious intentions and dire stakes for dire stakeholders. Any attempt to connect with a business via humor would be a tragic mistake.

(There is one exception however, and that is if the business happens to be a company where human people work.  In that rare instance, humor works great.)

But otherwise, a business is not going to get your jokes.  A business is not going to relate to the  emotional connection made through a common pain point or truth that a human being might.  They’re just not built that way.  They’re built to make products and occupy large buildings and buildings do not like to laugh.  They don’t even know how.

(Now, again, if those buildings just happen to be filled with walking, talking, feeling life forms, well that’s a different story. Humor hits right in the feelings and “people” actually respond very well to that.)

But we’re talking about B2B here, not B2CCA (Comedy Club Audience.)

So remember:

  1. Businesses don’t laugh. They do business.
  2. Humor is for People, with thoughts and feelings.
  3. Humor is about nuance, meaning it’s not even always about “jokes” or being “funny,” it’s really about a self-awareness that people really respond to, especially when your marketing shows your understanding and empathy towards their daily challenges and needs. Businesses don’t get nuance, they’re all brick and desk lamps and binder clip trays or whatever.

Actually, It occurred to me that if you are the first “B” in B2B, you are also a business, and so you probably don’t even understand any of what I’ve written here.  That’s my fault.  I should know better.  But since I went through all the trouble, if a human has stumbled upon this article and your business happens to be delivering important messaging to other humans whose business is to care about your message, humor is actually great for that.  Seriously.

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