Tutorial & How To

Why SurveyMonkey stepped away from traditional B2B creative – ClickZ

In a recent ClickZ podcast episode, Siegel+Gale Global CMO Margaret Molloy spoke on the importance of simplicity, especially for B2B brands. B2B industries and verticals are fraught with technical jargon and sales speak. SurveyMonkey’s ‘Ask, listen, and act’ campaign breaks through the buzzwords and is a testament to the impact of simplicity.

Putting the ‘BB’ in B2B, Breaking Bad star Giancarlo Esposito helped SurveyMonkey to drive over 1.5 million visits to a dedicated webpage. Shared everywhere from Reddit to CTV through the Trade Desk, this video campaign brilliantly cuts through the noise, confusion, and uncertainty of the past few years with three simple words. Lara Belonogoff, Senior Director of Brand Management at Momentive (following 2019’s SurveyMonkey rebrand), breaks down SurveyMonkey’s move away from traditional B2B branding.

1) What was the message behind the ‘Ask, listen, act’ campaign?

Lara Belonogoff: When you think of SurveyMonkey, what do you think? Simply enough it is a platform that helps people in organizations all over the world get answers to their questions. Millions of users rely on Momentive products, including SurveyMonkey, our flagship surveys and forms product, to get critical insights for their business. In a nutshell, we help organizations that want to stand out and win. Our platform enables them to deliver better products and services, as well as customer and employee experiences.

But we felt that in the world we live in today, not enough questions are being asked. Too many assumptions are being made. And those assumptions can make people mad and frustrate your employees. They create distance between you and your customers. And worst of all, those assumptions make us stick to the status quo or do what’s always been done, and worst of all doesn’t provide the positive change that the world needs now more than ever. What is an effective response? How do you improve employee morale and customer satisfaction? How do you get the answers you need? Simple… Just Ask.

‘Ask, listen, and act’ is a plainspoken way to show the power of what our platform offers. It’s about the power of finding out what people want and using that to inform your next move. It is a reminder that when you listen to what matters to people, you are more likely to succeed. Yes, it might sound simple. But it’s something we think more businesses need to be doing to meet the needs of their customers, markets, and employees.

2) How did you deliver and measure the impact of ‘Ask, listen, and act’?

Lara Belonogoff: We selected Giancarlo Esposito because he has a strong digital presence across all our social and display partners. For social, we featured his creative on Meta, Twitter, TikTok, LinkedIn, and Reddit. On Reddit, specifically, we ran a 1-day first view takeover. All users in the U.S. saw Giancarlo as their first ad of the day when scrolling the platform.

For programmatic, Giancarlo creative ran on YouTube, DV360 display featuring a Padsquad rich media unit, and CTV through The TradeDesk. Lastly, for direct branding partners, we ran this campaign on Apple News, Bloomberg, Forbes, Hulu, iHeart Radio, New York Times, Samsung CTV, Spotify, Vistar DOOH, and Wall Street Journal.

Since launching in the Summer of 2022, we have delivered over 710 mm video views. This garnered over 1.5 mm clicks that led users to the SurveyMonkey JustAsk site. We measured all the normal KPIs for media for this campaign (brand lift, view rates, clickthrough rates). But we also have ongoing quarterly brand studies using our solutions. These quarterly studies help us understand sentiment about our brand as we work to make sure we stay relevant. It means we can remain top-of-mind for our most important audiences.

3) How did a novel approach to B2B marketing help this campaign perform so well?

Lara Belonogoff: Stepping away from traditional B2B marketing creatives and strategies led to this campaign resonating with SurveyMonkey users, new and old. We leaned into YouTube and TikTok influencers for the first time. Allowing their voices to share the power of “Just Ask” ensured we weren’t just advertising on a platform, but rather creating a holistic story.

We also knew that standard ads were not the splash we were looking for. We needed moments that were big, unique, and cut through all the clutter. Using takeover elements on Reddit, TikTok, and Hulu allowed our message to hit users in ways that stood out from the endless scrolling we are all used to.

Finally, we brought the whole team in on day one. This was not a single-person effort, but the effort of over seven teams working together. From creative to media to influencers, and so much more, working across divisions helped us to push this campaign forward. It meant we could reach our desired channels.

4) How did you gather the audience insights you needed to create this campaign?

Lara Belonogoff: We use our products to understand what our prospects are looking for, and how our customers are feeling, and learn what our employees need to be successful. We knew our audience was, and still is, facing heightened decisions. A lot is at stake for their businesses. They need to act fast, and sales cycles are tightening. And from using our products we know we can help them make the right next move and do it quickly so that they can succeed.

5) Why did SurveyMonkey choose Giancarlo Esposito as the ambassador for this B2B campaign?

Lara Belonogoff: We wanted to acknowledge the pain points of our customers, show empathy, and more importantly, a path forward. This video was our wake-up call to anyone struggling to figure out why it is so hard right now for them.

We knew Giancarlo Esposito was the right choice from the beginning. Even though he plays himself in the ad, his past work (Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, The Mandalorian) gives him the credibility to knock a picture off a wall and clear a desk. He always speaks with uncomplicated authority. This was perfect to deliver our simple message, and we loved to see it. He was so eager to bring this concept forward and was the right champion for the message. Listen to the people to successfully decide your next move.

6) What customer journey was SurveyMonkey trying to create with this campaign?

Lara Belonogoff: This campaign was all about getting the SurveyMonkey brand back in front of users in a new and exciting way. While we kept our performance marketing campaigns live, our goal with these brand efforts was to remind people that SurveyMonkey was here to answer the big questions you may have in 2022 and beyond.

We measured the brand lift, campaign engagement (ad recall, total impressions, video views at 100%, comments, shares, engagement), site traffic, and free user sign-ups. The goal was to curate creative that people cared about and wanted to engage with. We wanted to re-establish SurveyMonkey as a household name to everyone in today’s workforce.

7) How will SurveyMonkey use customer insights to create effective B2B campaigns in the future?

Lara Belonogoff: We will always use our products to make sure our messages resonate. And by integrating data on user behavior with the insights we can get in a snap from our platform we’re able to move incredibly fast.

We also have started a new series of “Ask the people” including our most recent video, Ask the gamers, which is a continuation of the story we started with Giancarlo Esposito. Lastly, via our social channels, we’re also partnering with social media influencers. We’re learning how they’ve seen value by asking the right questions. We truly believe that asking, listening, and then acting on feedback is how every business can thrive and transform. We’re excited to keep asking our audience about what they need.


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