Come On B2B, Let’s Go Party! 4 Lessons From ‘Barbie’

Published: July 18, 2023

The “Barbie” movie’s marketing is everything — and B2B is just Ken. Through a combination of paid and unpaid opportunities, the movie’s marketing team successfully immersed the world in hot pink through an all-encompassing brand awareness campaign. Here are the top four takeaways from the strategy and how B2B marketers can replicate it.

1. Don’t Reveal Everything At Once

When the first trailer for the “Barbie” movie came out, it left much to be desired — in the best way. With the plot of the movie kept tightly under wraps, the “Barbie” marketing team carefully doled out bite-sized glimpses into Barbie World with each new trailer they released. Through this trail of breadcrumbs, the team gradually revealed much of the movie’s focus while still maintaining some level of mystery.

While B2B marketers can’t use this strategy for customer acquisition or expansion campaigns, as buyers want all the information at their fingertips, they can leverage this tactic for new releases. Whether it’s a rebrand, refreshed website or a new offering, practitioners can create campaigns that give their target audiences enough information to be hooked while still generating interest for the big release.

2. Create Brand Associations

Everywhere you look, there’s hot pink something. Whether or not it’s related to the “Barbie” movie is irrelevant; the marketing team created the color association by carefully creating experiences that tied visuals to the movie. From the Barbie Dreamhouse in Malibu to billboards featuring a swatch of pink, that level of synonymity (Pink and the Barbie brand) is what B2B marketers should strive for — and it’s all achieved by curating consistent brand experiences.

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3. Leverage Influencer Marketing To Spread The Word

The red-carpet premiere for the “Barbie” movie featured various celebrities, influencers and even well-known figures from TV advertising (looking at you, Flo and Jamie), even if they were unrelated to the movie. And in addition to those in-person appearances, the marketing team partnered with hundreds of brands to release Barbie-themed tie-ins: I’ve personally received targeted ads for everything from Barbie-branded curling irons to frozen yogurt flavors.

The one commonality between the motley crew of collaborations is that they were all paid opportunities — even if they seemed unrelated to the movie. With more than 81% of U.S. marketers planning to use paid advertising in 2023, it’s important that they look beyond their traditional audience and see what B2B influencers can help expand their brand.

4. Encourage Word-Of-Mouth Marketing

On the unpaid side, social media exploded with “Barbie”-related videos. When the trailer first premiered, TikTok and Reels users flocked to the respective video platforms to analyze the trailer and discuss what the movie could potentially be about. As more trailers were released, social media doubled down on its interest and dissected every element of the trailer.

This shows that encouraging conversations around your brand is essential: Whether it’s revealing pieces of your solution or partnering with influencers to reach their audiences, all opportunities should be crafted to generate organic interest.

The one thing uniting these four strategies is the complete immersion into Barbie World. No matter where you look, whether it’s in person or digitally, you’ll come across some sort of advertisement for the “Barbie” movie. And while we won’t know the true monetary gain from these efforts, the movie is predicted to rake in $80 to $100 million opening weekend — compared to just $40 to $50 million predicted for its adversary, “Oppenheimer.” 

As we wait for time to tell the true success of the movie, one thing is clear: The “Barbie” marketing team serves as a de-facto case study for building strong brand awareness and crafting campaigns that encourage brand recognition.  

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