We love doing B2B trade advertising. It’s something that’s easy to get wrong, but when it’s good it can really make an impact.

Like we do with all our projects, we like to start by determining what the goals of the piece are. Generally speaking, we believe trade advertising is best used for two things:

Trade advertising can be an excellent opportunity to create a positive brand impression on your potential clients or customers. Especially if your competition is YELLING TONS OF INFORMATION AT THEM.

If all your competitors are advertising in a trade publication that your potential clients are reading, advertising in the same pub lends credibility to your company and services.

We don’t believe trying to convert your potential clients to active customers is the best use of a print ad. Pre-internet it was, but generally speaking these days your website will be the place that a potential client will make the decision to reach out to you. Your print ad should simply (yet crucially!) make a positive brand impression, and/or send them to your website.

The next thing we do is look at the competition, as well as the general look of the advertising in the publication. Taking a look at them gives us a good idea what visual and verbal opportunities there are to stand out and make a positive impression.

That’s when we head back to the studio with all these learnings and craft a message and a look that conveys our client’s brand and products or services in a manner that quickly communicates in a manner that stands out.

This is the method we used for our client CAN Capital, who supplies small business loans. These print ads were targeting independent sales organizations (they deal with credit/debit card processing) and bank partners who could use CAN Capital loan products when offering loans to their small business customers.

We looked through the two publications this ad would run in and found that the ads were generally copy heavy. In the ISO & Agency pub we found that many of the ads didn’t have true headlines (a common issue in B2B advertising) and none have very bold messaging. 

The Digital Transactions pub had ads that were more visually effective, but they still tended to be copy heavy and we thought there was opportunity to make a powerful impression.

We decided that a successful ad would have a bold headline or a headline with a tangible promise. We thought visually it would have to be bold in either color or execution.

We developed a round of creative that took numerous different executions that used this plan. After presenting and discussing all the options with CAN Capital, this ad with the headline “MORE” was selected. 

This ad was a success. It stood out from the competition in exactly the manner it was designed to, maximizing the chances of making a positive brand impression for CAN Capital.