MarketingProfs B2B Forum 2023

The Surprising Role of Creativity in B2B Marketing with Pierce Ujjainwalla

Creativity is the Best Way to Connect with Your Audience

Humans actually now have a shorter attention span than a goldfish—less than 10 seconds. We’re getting bombarded with more ads and more noise than ever before. 

So how do you stand out? I think that is about creativity. And today, I’m going to give you a four-step framework that’ll help you to be more creative. 

So at Knack, what we do twice a year is spend two hours creating memes. And everyone in the company does it. 



Here are a few that we came up with… and none of these were made by the marketing team. We have developers do these and our CTO created one. Because creativity is everywhere and it’s really up to you to tap into it. 

Have the Courage to Be Creative

I just saw Ben Chestnut, who is the founder of MailChimp recently. They just sold their company for 12 billion dollars. And you know… they have a monkey in their logo. In the early days, a lot of big companies were nervous about working with them, but Ben just said, let’s put the monkey in the logo anyway. And things turned out pretty well for him. 



Resist the Status Quo

Okay, let’s talk about the status quo. How many people here have said (or heard) “Well, that’s just the way we’ve always done things” or “We just do it that way.” This is what happens at a lot of companies when something’s been put in place—It can be hard to change the way of doing things. But is this not all just leading us all to create things that look the same? That aren’t actually creative at all? 

Let’s look at some, some logos here. Not a lot of creativity anymore. If you look at the earlier versions, everyone had a bit of their own personality in their logos. Now it’s just the same.



And it’s not just logos. If we look at things that we see around us, you know, they’re losing that character. The beauty, the thing that made them creative. 


Harness Technology to Keep Your Creative Edge

I run a tech company, so I can’t not talk about technology. Maybe I’m a little bit biased, but if you look at history from the time that we had print—to websites—to mobile—to now, we’re getting into AR and VR, the companies that embrace technology to be creative, always win. 

I want to share this artwork. It’s a beautiful piece of art, done by a guy named Jason Allen. And he, as you can see with that ribbon there, just won the Colorado State Fair for the category under digital artwork. And the amazing part about this piece of art is that he didn’t even make it. He used an AI generator.



And the reporter asked him, “How long did that take you?” 

And he said, “About 10 seconds.” 

And I bring this up not to scare everyone, not to say, “AI is going to take over our jobs,” because I don’t believe that to be the case at all. I think that since the beginning of time, humans have been the best at connecting with other humans. And Jason still had to type in a huge block of text for AI to make that image. 

And that’s where all of us come in. We’re going to use new technologies just like we always have to be creative and to connect with our audiences.

So this is me when I had a bit of a Justin Bieber haircut going on, at my first job… my first marketing job. And I wanna just wrap up by sharing my own story and how I use this four-step framework to be creative. 

I was never like the best student in school. I just was kind of going to get my degree to get the piece of paper. But I remember when I took my first marketing course and found that passion and realized I could actually use my creativity in a job and get paid for it. 



My first job was at a company called Cognos, which was bought by IBM. And when I started, I was so excited and had so many ideas. But then, I kind of met the status quo and the status quo for me was that these emails were all code and I didn’t know how to code and I didn’t really wanna learn how to code. 

But I didn’t just say, “Okay, that’s just how it is. I’m gonna just leave it that way.” Instead, eventually, I just started a company. It would’ve probably been a lot easier to just learn HTML, but I think it took some courage. I had to leave a safe, secure job. I met some amazing people at IBM and learned so much from them, but it wasn’t for me. I couldn’t use my creativity. 

I went on to a few other startups and then eventually started Knack. And that’s where this technology piece comes in for me today. I’m excited every day to help marketers be more creative because I feel like I got into marketing to be creative and to use that creativity. There are a lot of things that stand in the way of our being creative, and I’m happy to be able to help you unblock even just one of those today.

I’d like to leave everybody with this—

I think creativity is your superpower. So don’t let anything, whether it’s process, the status quo, or fear, be your kryptonite.



You can watch Pierce’s presentation here:


Published 2/22/23

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