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Why did Starling Bank want to’reinvent’ B2B marketing?

With a determination to avoid being perceived as just another out-of-touch bank, Starling Bank took a strategic approach by merging substance and consumer-oriented thinking to convey its commitment to serious business practices.

Why did Starling Bank want to'reinvent' B2B marketing?

Navigating the B2B banking sector is a challenging endeavor. Amidst competition from well-established counterparts with substantial resources and customer loyalty, Starling Bank noticed its consideration rate lagging behind at 13%, having not introduced a new B2B campaign for a span of two years.


Eager for a transformation, the bank recognized that its B2B competitors were neglecting the potential of blending rational messaging with the same emotive storytelling evident in their B2C campaigns.


Seeing an opportunity to surprise larger financial institutions, Starling Bank chose to invest significantly in a nationwide B2B campaign, positioning the company with a more pronounced share of voice than it could ever attain in the B2C realm.


In collaboration with creative agency Wonderhood Studios, the bank entered into a partnership to build upon the B2C concept ‘Set Yourself Free,’ evolving it into ‘Set Your Business Free’ for a hybrid campaign that aimed at both brand-building and eliciting responses. This new approach combined distinctive elements from the B2C campaign, maintaining an emotional payoff, conveying a sense of premium quality, and featuring a cast that mirrors the contemporary landscape of British business.


The campaign comprised four videos highlighting the key advantages of the product, such as value, hassle-free registration, user-friendly digital interface, and assistance with financial management.


The strategic move yielded positive results. The level of advertising awareness among crucial business decision makers nearly doubled, reaching 17% during the first quarter of 2022. Additionally, consideration among B2B customers reached 23%, leading to Starling Bank’s recognition with the Marketing Week Award for B2B.


The campaign’s impact was evident as Starling Bank boosted its market share from 6.3% to 7.5%, which was half of rival Barclays’ share. The bank also succeeded in opening 61,511 new B2B accounts, indicating a growth of 15% from the fourth quarter of 2021 to the first quarter of 2022. The CEO, Anne Boden, is confident in the bank’s trajectory, with a “strong possibility” that Starling Bank could surpass Barclays in the B2B sector within the span of five years.

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