You’re back home after a long day at work, and while you toss your dinner in the oven to warm up, you pick up your phone to scroll through your Instagram feed.
After some mindless scrolling, you come across the famous “grumpy cat” meme that one of your connections has shared. You might think, “Oh no, not another cat meme,” but wait.
What if I tell you that Grumpy Cat’s owner, Tabetha Bundesen, was able to quit her day job as she could bag ad campaigns and book movie deals just by creating memes of her cat?
That’s the power of memes. It can help you gain followers, spread brand awareness, and initiate conversations!
But, what are memes and what is B2B meme marketing?
A quick background to memes and B2B meme marketing.
Memes are concepts or ideas that trend on the internet. If you think of memes, the first picture that may come to mind is one with bold, white text. That’s just one of the possible forms. A meme can be in any format — gif, video, text, or a basic image.
As Hubspot defines, “Meme marketing is the use of memes to promote your brand narrative. It’s a fun, low-effort way to connect with your audience and increase your engagement rate, as memes are highly shareable.”
Memes are relatable, shareable, and low-effort for brands, so B2B companies are now incorporating memes into their marketing campaigns and social media posts.
Why does meme marketing work?
Buyers don't wait for your product to appear on social media before buying. They want information, education, and a wow experience when they encounter brands on social channels.
Memes are fun and relatable. They can subtly put across your point in front of potential customers. Most importantly, when a customer shares a meme, they are not sharing a brand or a product but a relatable experience that they think others can relate to. And that's why most memes go viral because they spark emotion.
How can you use B2B meme marketing across the funnel?
To put things into perspective, let’s take a look at how memes can be used across the B2B content marketing funnel, to fuel different business objectives.
Memes for the top of the funnel
Many brands like to drop memes on their socials to go viral and boost engagement. But do you know memes can work as excellent top-of-the-funnel awareness-type content when you tie them back to your company's product value?
Here's an example from Datree that beautifully connects their products to their memes.
Here’s another meme marketing campaign from MailChimp that builds brand awareness in a fun and engaging way!
Middle and bottom of the funnel memes
At the middle of the funnel, the customer is considering your product. They have a pain point, and they’re considering if your product can solve their problem.
Solution-focused memes work best for MoFu marketing campaigns. Here’s a great example from Buffer - a social media scheduling tool. The biggest pain point for social media marketers are scheduling social media posts and Buffer solves that pain point with their offering. The meme subtly puts across the message in a fun way.
Similarly, you can use the meme to share success stories that fuel the bottom of the funnel. Only at that stage, you will need to find the right mix between memes and real-life stories and be comfortable sharing successes in a fun way!
Status Quo with meme marketing
While meme marketing can be super effective and gain traction for your brand, many brands do it all wrong.
Remember, memes are not just a way to boost your brand's engagement but also a tool to educate and wow your customers. So, your memes will only work when they are relevant to your target audience and to your brand. In short, memes should be strategized, and don’t forget to give your brand spin to a trending meme.
How to get B2B meme marketing right?
While there is no one set way of doing things, we do recommend following a few things when using memes in your content marketing strategy:
You can drop all the trending memes on your social channels and pray for sales to start rolling.
Or you can strategically use a trending meme to highlight a problem your ideal customers face on their day-to-day job and how your product can solve their pain points.
Pique their attention with intention.
Make them curious enough about your product through an engaging meme. Here’s an example from The Marketing Millennials and how they use memes to promote their newsletter.
Why it works: It has humor, and it piques FOMO in the user (not being in TikTok in this case). It’s funny, relatable and shareable too.
Spin trending memes with your product offering
Using trending meme videos or images is an excellent way to capture your audience’s attention because they’re likely to stop the scroll when they see something familiar in their feed. Use these trending memes and give it your brand spin. Any memes can become relevant to your brand if you know how to bring in creativity.
For example, Mailchimp shares its version of the Valentine’s Day meme highlighting its brand proposition.
Why it works: The meme reads as if a lover is proposing to their partner while the brand has subtly incorporated its offerings for prospective customers. The meme is smart and creative. MailChimp is an email marketing and automation tool that helps customers grow their brand by converting customers, offering flexible automation, and helping design email campaigns. So, MailChimp carefully spread its brand awareness by using a trending Valentine's Day meme.
Negativity bias for boosting engagement
Negativity boosts engagement, clicks, and sparks conversations. But that doesn't mean you need to spread negativity. What we mean is a message with a negative slant that is relatable and humorous at the same time. And so, brands love to create memes in a cynical way that makes your audience click and laugh because it’s relatable to their day-to-day job’s pain points.
Here's a perfect example of B2B meme marketing from Hootsuite:
Why it works: Hootsuite is a social media management platform and it taps the right emotion that social media managers go through whenever there is a strategy shifting update which means they need to redo their entire month’s social media updates.
B2B meme marketing best practices
If you’re getting started with meme marketing for your SaaS brand, here are some pointers to keep in mind:
1. Know your target audience
Like any other marketing campaign, you need to know your target audience well before creating a meme campaign strategy. This will ensure you create the right message that your target audience can resonate with.
For example, here’s a meme that Zapier dropped recently. Zapier helps to automate workflow, and this meme perfectly targets its users.
2. Watch the tone
Don’t go overboard with the tone of your meme. Remember, your meme should be humorous, relatable, and informative, but at the same time, it should maintain brand consistency. Here’s a great example from Slack that reflects the brand’s friendly tone.
3. Leverage the ongoing trend
Memes work best when the timing is right. With social media on the rise, some topics are always "trending”. Creating memes on the trending topic relevant to your product and target audience has a high chance of going 'viral' because it's timely and relatable. Here's how Semrush used a trending topic as a part of their B2B meme marketing campaign.
4. Listen, monitor and optimize
Just like any other marketing tactic, ensure you are not using memes as a one-off engagement post. Use analytics to look into how your target audience engages with the content and how they feel about it.
The idea is to glean insights that help you use the memes more contextually across the right channels.
Memes are fun, relatable, and shareable!
But a meme marketing campaign becomes memorable only when it’s popular and has some relevance to your product offering.
So, always remember to tie back the meme meaning to your brand and product.
Finally, remember, memes are not just for a specific industry; any industry can leverage them if they use them strategically.
Statutory Warning: Done wrong without any strategy may damage the brand perception.