By Published On: May 16, 2017

Being a great business writer doesn’t automatically make you a great marketer. Sure, you may know your business and your customers better than anyone, and so on the surface it seems like you should be able to speak to them in an effective, persuasive way. But B2B marketing is a lot more than just telling your customers what you offer—especially if you want to do it effectively, create customer loyalty, and build a strong, enduring brand.

It’s true the business audience for your marketing is probably more savvy, knowledgeable, and information-hungry than the typical consumer on the other end of a diet cola commercial. But that doesn’t mean a B2B marketer can ignore the more emotional aspects of what makes a message appealing. Nor can you overlook the importance of great ideas, impactful marketing copy, or the insights that differentiate your business from the competition.

To ensure your B2B marketing works for you, here’s a list of things to keep in mind:

  1. Understand your audience’s core needs. No matter what you’re marketing—even if it’s the most complex, technical, intricate device ever created—you’re still, at the core, marketing to people—emotional creatures who buy with their hearts as well as their heads. And so all the rules of effective marketing still apply—like keeping your content interesting, engaging, and relevant. And having a likable brand personality, communicating clearly, and respecting your audience. All great marketing, including the business-to-business kind, must appeal to the emotions as well as the intellect. It needs to tap into deeper human truths and desires, while expressing empathy and understanding. While a business audience may be after a more specific, niche-type product or service than a consumer audience is, people are people, and the ways to engage them in a compelling way remain the same.
  2. Write engaging copy. This is where the rubber meets the road. Marketing copy that communicates clearly while engaging on several levels (emotionally, intellectually, persuasively) isn’t something everyone can do well. Effective marketing copy is more than just a list of product attributes. This goes for ad copy, website copy, newsletter copy, and everything else. That’s because every single piece of communication you put out there says something about your company—and creates an opportunity to draw people to you, or turn them away. Flat, boring copy can do more harm than good. Not to mention it’s a waste of time and money. So read your own copy objectively. If it bores you, think of what it’ll do to your customers—and how it may hurt your relationship.
  3. Communicate your differentiating benefits. Common sense suggests that being an expert in your business would be an asset in marketing it. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. If you’re attempting to write your own marketing copy, you’re likely too close to your company to see it as the rest of the world does.
    To help your brand stand out against the competition, you need to be able to communicate what sets it apart. An outside agency can help you figure out what your differentiating characteristics are, and help you bring them to the surface in a way that’s most effective. These days, it’s not enough to just tell people what you do—you need to own what makes you different. If you’re not clear on your unique selling proposition and leveraging it to its full advantage, your product or service is in danger of becoming a commodity.
  4. Be human. We’ve already established that it’s important to know your audience and what makes them tick. Similarly is the point that to be a company people want to do business with, you need to be relatable. You need to show your humanity. Doesn’t matter whether you’re selling potato chips or microchips, people seek a human connection from the brands they support. When companies get too focused on the tiny details of their products and services, they often lose sight of a basic human truth: that business is all about helping people. Consumers buy from companies they like and identify with; companies that understand them and talk to them in a meaningful way. So don’t overlook the emotional connection. Infuse your marketing with as much humanity as you can. Your marketing will be much stronger for it.
  5. Be authentic. We all know insincerity when we see it. So be careful not to oversell your message—especially by being too pushy or salesy. Trying too hard can come across as disingenuous or worse, desperate. Always be conscious of how you speak to your audience, and don’t make promises you can’t keep.
    Another aspect of authenticity is being true to your own brand, and consistent across all media channels and points of contact. If you don’t convey a consistent, realistic brand promise, your customer will find out. They always do eventually. Like any successful relationship, the one between marketer and customer is founded on trust. So be honest about who you are and what you can provide. The alternative will always come back to bite you.
  6. Avoid “me-too” marketing. Breaking away from the crowd can feel risky. But in the world of B2B marketing, what’s truly risky is going unnoticed. There are too many companies out there and too much competition these days to choose “me too” as a business strategy. So make a point to stand out. Boldly express what makes you different. Position yourself by leveraging what makes you unique (and hopefully, better). Otherwise, you’re kind of defeating the purpose of marketing in the first place. It may feel safe to do what everyone is doing, but it’s not going to get you the results you need.

Audience empathy. Emotional, engaging, benefit-driven language. Seeing the big picture. Humanity. Differentiation. These are just some of the many things your B2B marketing needs to do to be effective. And if you want your marketing efforts to get results, it’s important to keep all of these elements in mind at all times. Or better yet, call on an experienced, proven, award-winning marketing agency to do it for you.

If you’re interested, we may be able to recommend one.

About the Author: cat-tonic

Born of curiosity and enthusiasm, we’re a scrappy group of smart, passionate marketers who work hard and play hard. We show up every day and fight for our clients who are making the world a better place. We listen with curiosity, explore deeply, ask hard questions, and sometimes put forth ideas that might make you squirm. Because we believe the status quo is good for growing mold but not much else. The way we see it, change is the way forward and the magic happens when curiosity, math, science, instinct, and talent intersect.
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