Messaging can be hard to get right. In a world where consumers are being blasted with marketing messages from all directions, it feels impossible to rise above the noise.

But don’t despair! In this article, we’ll look at ten examples of B2B and B2C companies that are nailing their messaging. Better yet – we’ll dive into the lessons that each of them can teach us. 

Let’s get to it.

#10: CeraVe

We’re starting our top ten strong with an inspired message from skincare brand CeraVe: “Developed with dermatologists. Not Michael Cera. He’s not a dermatologist.” 

It’s silly, it’s smart, and most importantly, it’s memorable.

Photo of Michael Cera holding a pot of CeraVe lotion. There is a blue cross over his face. Image text reads: “Developed with dermatologists. Not Michael Cera. He’s not a dermatologist.”
Source: CeraVe

You might be wondering where this messaging sprang from. Did people honestly believe that the A-list actor was also a skincare mogul? Did he sign a deal after buying dozens of bottles of lotion? The answer isn’t clear. 

What is clear is that consumers will never again watch Arrested Development without picturing Michael Cera massaging skin cream into the face of a cliff – and isn’t that beautiful? 

The lesson: Sometimes it pays to be a little silly

CeraVe’s messaging has traditionally been a little, well, traditional. Think pictures of radiant young women rubbing lotion onto smooth shoulders, superimposed with phrases like “3 essential ceramides to restore skin’s natural barrier.” 😴

While their old marketing was undoubtedly effective (after all, CeraVe is now the number-one skincare brand in the US), this more playful approach is a masterstroke, making the brand go viral and raising awareness among people who may never have used CeraVe’s products before.

#9: Grammarly

Let it be known that we’re fans of Grammarly here at Go-to-Market Alliance. Perhaps that’s why it’s impossible to spend more than five minutes on YouTube (for research purposes, of course!) without encountering a Grammarly ad. Lucky for us, their ads are pretty great. 

Grammarly’s “Get your tone just right” messaging hits the nail on the head. To explain what makes it work, who better to ask than Grammarly Writing Assistant? Here’s what our robot friend had to say:

“Grammarly's ‘get your tone just right’ marketing message is a powerful and effective strategy that appeals to both professional and personal contexts. 
“By emphasizing the importance of tone in communication, Grammarly positions itself as a must-have tool for anyone who wants to get their message across effectively. 
“Whether you're writing an email to a client, a report for your boss, or a social media post for your followers, Grammarly's tone detector can help you sound confident, friendly, professional, or any other tone you're aiming for.
“The messaging is particularly relevant in today's digital age, where the way we communicate has changed dramatically. With more and more interactions happening online, it's easy for messages to be misinterpreted, leading to confusion, frustration, and even conflict. 
“By using Grammarly's tone detector, users can ensure that their tone is appropriate and consistent, which can go a long way in building trust and credibility with their audience. 
“Overall, Grammarly's ‘get your tone just right’ message is a clear and compelling way to show the value of their product and how it can help users communicate more effectively in any context.”

We couldn’t have put it better ourselves.

The lesson: Hone in on your audience’s pain points

What makes Grammarly’s messaging so compelling is how it zooms in on an all-too-common modern anxiety (coming across as either too vague or too aggressive in written communication) and succinctly offers a solution. If you can do the same for your audience, you’ll be laughing your way to the bank.

#8: Timex

Another brilliant piece of messaging neatly summarizing the frustrations of modern consumers comes from Timex: “Know the time without seeing you have 1,249 unanswered emails.” 

Times billboard ad. There's a picture of a watch against a blank background. Underneath, the text reads: “Know the time without seeing you have 1,249 unanswered emails.”

The lesson: Make sure your audience can see themselves in your story

As our esteemed CEO, Richard King, said when he shared this stellar example of messaging on LinkedIn

“People like stories. But people LOVE stories when they see themselves IN the story. It’s something you’ll see consistently in many great ads – those that stick with you. But how do you create a piece of messaging that resonates with the audience?
Make your story identify with the audience’s:
↳ Situations.
↳ Challenges.
↳ Sacrifices and scars.
↳ Values presented in your stories.
That’s what causes your messaging to be memorable.”

Timex nailed the brief.

#7: Slack 

From their first ad campaign back in 2015 to their website as it looks today, Slack’s messaging has remained consistent, simple, and effective. Head over to their site now, and this is what you’ll see:

Screengrab from Slack site. Headline text reads: Teams that use Slack are 47% more productive
Source: Slack

That’s right – stats galore about how much more efficiently your team will be able to work thanks to this mighty communications platform. Pretty persuasive, right?

Speaking of Slack, have you joined our Slack community yet? It’s the perfect place to connect with your GTM peers all around the world. 

The lesson: Highlight the ROI customers can expect from your product

Listen, nobody wants to part with their hard-earned cash unless they’re sure it’ll be worth their while. That’s true for individual consumers and even truer for business customers. Software can be pretty pricey, and if the investment doesn’t pay off, then the person who signed the check could find themself facing some difficult questions. 

As Sangram Vajre, Co-founder and CEO of GTM Partners, put it in his outstanding talk, Redefining ROI for B2B marketers (available to Insider members here),  

“If you can show prospects that they’ll get a return on their investment quickly, you’ll close more deals. In short, it’s super important to figure out how to demonstrate ROI for your customers – and fast.”

What that ROI looks like depends on your product. Perhaps, like Slack, you’ll save your users time. Maybe you’ll help them generate revenue. Or possibly you’ll just make them look cool. Whatever value your product delivers, just make sure your audience knows it.

#6: YouVersion Bible App

If you regularly take the subway in New York or London, you’ve likely learned to filter out the barrage of posters advertising vitamin supplements, airlines, and heavens knows what else. 

Yet, one small black poster manages to slip through the filter. The message?

“Zero stars. Would not recommend.”
– Satan
Photo of a YouVersion Bible App ad, taken on the London Underground

The lesson: Subvert expectations

By letting the dark prince himself lambast their product, YouVersion turned commuters’ expectations on their heads. Plant-based mayonnaise brand NotMayo recently took a similar tack, and the results were both hilarious and memorable. 

Subverting expectations is a powerful way to ensure your marketing message stands out from the crowd. Now, we’re not saying you need to seek out testimonials from people who hate your product, but finding creative ways to zig when others zag can pay major dividends. 

Whether you choose to feature a quote from an unlikely spokesperson, ask a provocative question, or include some mind-boggling visuals, the key is to give your audience something that stops them in their tracks. 

#5: Indeed

Right at the top of Indeed’s employer page is this simple statement: “360k+ companies in the UK used Indeed to hire in 2022.” Admittedly, this isn’t as out there as Michael Cera’s CeraVe cameo, but it’s still pretty powerful. Instead, Indeed opted to showcase its value by sharing numbers (and who doesn’t love a good stat?).

The lesson: Make the most of social proof

Whether you’re targeting consumers or businesses, ultimately, a human holds the purse strings – and humans are social creatures. For better or worse, we care about the opinions of others. So, if you can show that your prospects' peers think you’re the bee's knees, you’re onto a winner!

Social proof can take many forms. It could be a testimonial from a satisfied customer, a five-star rating from G2, a quote from an analyst, or a list of clients’ logos. Whichever route you choose, the aim is the same: to build trust with your target customer.

#4: Wild

Eco-friendly deodorant brand Wild raised eyebrows last year when they released a YouTube ad showing the bedroom antics of a polar bear and a woman with… unusual tastes. The tagline? “The world stinks, so we made a deodorant.” (It makes sense when you watch the ad, honestly!)

Did this ad go viral? Yes – it garnered over 1.7 million views. Did this ad get called out by the UK’s Advertising Standards Agency? Also yes – you can’t win ‘em all. 

However, it’s not just the risqué nature of the ad that makes it stand out. What’s brilliant about it is that they put their commitment to protecting the environment front and center – and made it fun. 

The lesson: Let your brand values shine

Value marketing – aligning your brand’s values with those of your audience – is a great way to build an emotional connection. Sustainability is a great value to tap into, but it’s by no means your only option; you might want to focus on cost-effectiveness, innovation, or inclusivity, for example.

Whichever value you choose to bring to the fore, just make sure it’s authentic. There’s nothing worse than a company claiming to be green while cheating on emissions tests.

Strong brand values: 👍

Greenwashing: 👎

#3: Workday

Anyone working in a corporate environment in the year of our lord 2024 has likely heard one of their colleagues described as a “rock star of finance” – or been called a rock star themselves.

Let’s be real – it’s corny as heck. However, finance and HR platform Workday does not let that fact prevent it from using the phrase “rock star” in not one but two headlines on its homepage. 

Screenshot from Workday's home page, featuring links to four customer case studies. Headline: "Real rock stars of business. Epic results."
Social proof with a side of rock star. Source: Workday

But we’re not here to read Workday to filth – on the contrary, we’re here to talk about their brilliant messaging. That’s where their 2023 Super Bowl ad comes in. 

Ozzy Osbourne, Joan Jett, Billy Idol, Gary Clark Jr., and Paul Stanley all pop up to remind cubicle dwellers what a rock star really is – before the tagline “Workday: Be a Finance and HR rock star” looms onscreen. 

The lesson: Harness the power of celebrity

If you’ve got a $10 marketing budget, then maybe skip this tip. However, if you’ve got a little more cash to play with, why not sprinkle a touch of glamour on your messaging by having a celebrity drive it home? It’s a surefire way to get tongues wagging about your brand.

For a bonus example of this strategy in action, check out Solo Stove’s inspired ad, featuring the legendary Snoop Dogg.

#2: Surreal

UK cereal brand Surreal was launched just two years ago, and it’s already become legendary for its bold and irreverent marketing strategies. This is thanks in no small part to Senior Creative / Office Hottie (his words, not ours!) John Thornton.

Incidentally, John used to be the Social Media Manager and Copywriter at Innocent Drinks, a brand whose playful tone of voice has left an indelible mark on the UK food and drinks industry. Not one to do things by halves, he announced his resignation from Innocent with a letter taller than he is. 

Source: Surreal’s Instagram (Do yourself a favor and check it out!)

Anyway, where were we? Oh yes, Surreal’s messaging. It’s brilliant. 

They’ve poked fun at Kellogg’s, they’ve harnessed the power of the asterisk with their ‘celebrity’ endorsements, and they’ve taken it all back with their ‘lawyer-approved’ ads – all while maintaining their positioning as a healthy yet delicious breakfast cereal for grown-ups. Genius!

The billboards boasting fake celebrity endorsements elicited major chuckles, with messages like… 

We’re Dwayne Johnson’s favorite cereal.*
*Dwayne is a bus driver from London.” 

Five stars. No notes.

Photos of Surreal's billboards, including one that reads "Michael Jordan loves our cereal* ... *He's just a normal bloke who lives in St Alban's, but he really does like it."
Source: X

The lesson: Know yourself

Surreal has carved out a niche as a fun yet nutritious breakfast cereal. Every element of their marketing strategy, from their Instagram posts to their billboards, reflects and strengthens their fun side. This consistency (plus a hearty dose of audacity) makes for a super memorable brand. 

#1: Mailchimp

Where to begin with Mailchimp? Their marketing team has been smashing it out of the park for years. From 2017’s iconic MailShrimp/JailBlimp/KaleLimp video trilogy to 2022’s delightfully surreal “Guess less, sell more” campaign, they’re the undisputed masters of B2B marketing.

With their 2023 “Turn clustomers into customers” campaign, Mailchimp has done it again. In just four little words (one of which they made up!) they perfectly encapsulate the power of their personalization tools. 

A "clustomer" i.e. a big ol' ball o' customers
Source: Mailchimp

The lesson: B2B doesn’t have to be boring

For too long, B2B messaging has been as dry as the Sahara. Mailchimps’ clear and concise messaging, paired with colorful and clownish visuals, is here to change that.

Why rely on lists of features and drab color palettes when you can have a little fun? It’s a great way to stand out from the crowd. And if you can throw in a rat-king-like ball of customers to drive your point home, all the better.   

Now, sing along if you know the words: “MAAAAIL shrimp!”

Ready to take your messaging to the next level?

Get Messaging Certified

By the end of this course, you'll…

🙇‍♀️Know how to build foundations for solid messaging and customer engagement.

🧑‍💻Be able to get maximum impact from your messaging frameworks.

💪 Be a pro at drafting, layering, and reviewing your messaging.

👀Understand how to work more effectively with copywriters.

🤓 Know how to validate your messaging with prospects and customers.

✅ Understand message synching and why it matters.

… and that’s just the TIP of the iceberg!