I had a great time chatting with my favorite marketing funnyman and fellow improviser, Tim Washer, about one of my fave marketing topics: adding humor to b2b marketing. Tim says he’ll be back at least 5 times to keep up his SNL-like co-hosting bonafides! I’m holding him to that.

2014 is THE Year for Humor in B2B

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Adding Humor to Your B2B Marketing?

You will have to check out the podcast for all the great details. Tim and I chatted about a number of ways to add humor, including:

1) Start with fun. If you can get funny – that’s great. Even fun will make a huge difference in what you do, and in the results you get.
Tweet: When you make someone smile or laugh, the intellectual shield is lowered and you’ve created a space for connecting. That’s huge in a world of noise.

2) Use the power of human conversation. As part of Cisco’s Voice of the Customer Team, Tim and his group created a great set of videos called, “Fast Innovation and the Slow Waiter.” In these videos, Tim interviews real CIOs in a casual environment (read: no conference room and no corp-speak!) to elicit a real human conversation. He plays a funny, dim-witted (his words!) waiter and the CIOs are in on the fun.

What’s great about these is that it brings out the best in the CIOs as they talk about their stories and their passion in helping their customers. Tim’s waiter character puts them at ease and often elicits laughter and smiles. The key point: it’s not a script and it’s not silly or over the top; it’s a real conversation that makes the CIOs look good. One of the rules of improv: “make your partner look good.” Amen! This has low financial and creative risk (and huge upside), and I think it is something every b2b company can do. No more excuses!

3) Make it a great interrupter. Humor is an under-appreciated, under-used disruptive device: it is a great way to disarm and change the tone of a conversation. It’s about the element of surprise. How can your business interrupt the expected pattern? If customers expect you to be stiff, be light-hearted. Change the expected game, and you’ve changed the dynamics of a conversation because you’ve interrupted the expected pattern.

4) Look in the right places Let the best storytellers be involved. Find humor talent at a university, or a local improv group. Just because ad agencies understand ad copy doesn’t mean they understand humor. It is a craft.

How is humor working for you? Leave a comment, or a takeaway from the podcast!

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2 Responses to Make 2014 the YEAR You Add Humor to Your B2B Marketing – My Chat with Tim Washer

  1. Tim Washer says:

    Kathy – the B2B Volvo Trucks example is in this post, as well as a few other ideas on how to create fun videos on a shoestring budget: http://po.st/IOdCFO. Thanks so much for having me back on your show!

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I’ll also send you my latest ebook on adding humor to your presentations: Don’t Present; Connect! Hey, ‘research’ shows that 92.3% of audiences are human, and humor is human.

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