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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Corporate B2B marketing is different from Consumer marketing

The following article is from a Newsletter subscribed with Perry Marshall

When I was a young-pup student of direct marketing I had a job selling techie stuff to manufacturing companies by day. 

By night, I'd read sizzling sales letters and ballsy offers from my fave marketing gurus.

I would think: "This stuff would never work for selling to corporate B2B people like my customers."

Once in a while I'd ask a copywriting guru: "Is there a difference between writing B2B copy and B2C copy?"

They'd say, "No difference! Either way, you're selling to people. People are people."

With all due respect, that's like saying there's no difference between selling to Chinese factory workers and English polo players - because, after all, 'people are people.' Right?

Well duh, there's a HUGE difference. Using B2C language with B2B people can kill your chances of success.

Here's what's different:

1. If your copy gets an employee excited but he's afraid to show it to his boss because it's too cheesy, you're never going to get the order.

2. If you're selling to engineers, accountants or lawyers and you over-promise by 10%, you're dead meat. As soon as you say something that's not believable, they stop listening to you. Consumers will put up with all kinds of hype but B2B people won't.

3. B2B people buy on emotion but rarely on *pure* emotion. They have to at least be able to explain and justify their purchase to each other. Your marketing materials must help them justify the purchase with a sound argument.

4. In B2B, you ABSOLUTELY CAN use balls-to-the-wall marketing but you MUST be able to back up everything you say with hard facts. Otherwise they'll think you're a ridiculous blowhard. 

Perfect example: "Big Ass Fans" is a company in Kentucky that has a tongue-in-cheek, slightly offensive name but the bottom line is, they have an excellent product that's way better than air conditioning for a lot of facilities. They've had massive success with outrageous marketing - even to serious corporate types. That's because they present hard facts in an undeniable way.

5. In B2B, it's of utmost importance that you position yourself as a credible expert. When you do this, every sales call is 2X as effective. The key to this is replacing prospecting and "pounding the phone" with high efficiency positioning and lead generation.

(It sure is a relief to get that cold-calling monkey off your back!)

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