B2B Marketing Study: Humans prefer uninspired, boring marketing between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

It turns out that when the clock’s running at work, your audience actually prefers utterly boring, mind-numbingly pedestrian messaging and content.

A recent report by the prestigious Kochler Group found that once people clock in, their standards for effective and interesting advertising and marketing decline at an alarming rate.

“We were shocked,” said the report’s lead author John Falters. “There’s something that happens when employees sit at their desks that can only be described as a near-vegetative state. The workforces we studied had a collective attention-span deficit.”

One Kochler research assistant said subjects of the study were like zombies that, instead of needing brains, were constantly driven to leave their desks and slowly stalk from cubicle to cubicle, asking about everyone’s weekend.

However, the report stated, at 5:01 p.m., people’s receptiveness to entertaining and impactful marketing mysteriously returns.

“This is great news for us,” said Todd Ferly, a B2B marketer at DemandFirm

“Many times, our clients ask us, ‘why is this email such a snooze-fest,” he said. “Does anyone really respond to this crap?’ It will be helpful to point directly to peer-reviewed metrics that prove, as long as people get that boring tripe between 9 and 5, it’s as good as gold.

Jim Davis, creative director for B2Bitchin’ Lab, got the report just in time to stop some problematic campaign strategy from being implemented.

“We did interviews with prospective customers and compiled a ton of persona research. Our campaign was shaping up to be really fun and informative, which we now know wouldn’t have worked at all,” said Davis. “The fact that we came so close to putting something remotely exciting out there keeps me up at night. We were this close to blowing it.

But not everyone is celebrating.

Jeff Jefferson, a creative director at Bogus & Artifice, is worried about his own agency’s effectiveness during the nation’s business hours.

Bogus & Artifice works mainly in the B2C space, and has been theoretically successful in reaching millions of viewers and readers with various advertising and marketing materials for over two decades.

“It’s disheartening to think that the past 23 years have been a fluke,” said Jefferson. “We assumed our award-winning ads and innovative print materials were running between 9 and 5. I thought we had been wildly successful, but I guess our clients’ increase in impressions and sales have been unrelated. We’re going to have to rethink everything.”

Jefferson isn’t alone. Currently, a majority of the world’s creative agencies are convening in Las Vegas at the industry’s annual summit—the topic of this year’s event: “How can we use more stock photography and sales-funnel diagrams?”

“There’s no way around it,” said Thomas Mannly, whose agency decided a month ago to enter the B2B landscape. “If buyer personas want to see models pointing at computer screens, that’s what they’ll get. It’s just a shame, because we could hire an actual model to point at something far more interesting. We have the creativity to turn some heads. But how could we guarantee those folks would be on their ways home from work when they see it?”


Theo oversees ID’s Creative Department. His team, made up of people more talented and smarter than he, is on a crusade to make B2B creative more compelling and engaging. You can routinely find Theo standing in front of a whiteboard, arguing on behalf of storytelling and challenging the sacred cows of B2B content marketing. Once the culprits responsible for all the high-volume, low-performing content flooding everyone’s desktop and mobile devices are vanquished, you will find Theo quietly staring out onto the waters of the pacific northwest, calm, fulfilled. But in the meantime, when Theo’s not chasing windmills or trying to find less patronizing ways to tell his team how amazingly proud he is of them, you can find him making croissants for his wife and daughter, while listening to black metal and sipping a Sazerac. His personal motto: “Empathy is the shortest path to happiness.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Ready for Revenue Growth? Subscribe!

Designed to help you transform your approach to demand creation, sales acceleration, and revenue growth, our blog delivers content that evolves your entire marketing game. Plus, we’re email pros, so we know better than to blow up your inbox.

Subscribe now