Businesses Are Not Retail Consumers: Target Your B2B Writing
To the average person marketing to a consumer versus marketing to a business can seem very similar. The same principles of price, placement, promotion and product/service, seem to apply the same way. However, there are major differences in the audiences, which in turn dictate how press release writers apply their marketing writing for successful communication.
In the retail and consumer world, marketing is aimed widely and intended to capture as many customers as possible. Big numbers produce large revenue figures, so marketing nets are cast widely. In the commercial business-to-business (B2B) world, targeted marketing produces better results.
Commercial marketing has to be focused on landing a few key clients. One to three accounts can be anywhere from 50 to 75 percent of annual revenue for some small businesses. As a result, the marketing message sent needs to be important, germane, and relevant to the commercial customers. Otherwise, it gets ignored as spam and chatter. Ignoring this particular principle can cost marketing teams lots of money and time with wasted blanket messaging. Targeted marketing instead goes after key decision-makers, involving a far more personal communication and writing style. This includes researching buyers as individuals and connecting with them personally rather than fishing by luck with cold newsletters and email blasting.
Ignore the Illusion of Click Metrics
Many in commercial marketing are caught up with the flare of social media writing. Joe and Steve are on Facebook, so I need to market there too. However, massive Internet activity is not guaranteed to produce dollars and revenue. Marketing writing effectiveness, regardless of the platform, ultimately needs to be measured on production of warm leads, contacts and gains in sale dollars. Otherwise, the entire effort is a waste of time for a business.
Because businesses already know what they are looking for, they often pay more attention to cost to keep their operating expenses down and maximize their own profit. As a result, business marketing frequently needs to convey that a business is getting the best bang for its buck, both short-term and long-term. This style of writing involves out-thinking the business’ first reaction and trying to convince the reader that the product or service sold is really a long-term investment and better value for the buyer. The same approach is often used to compete against low-cost players who try to win business with bottom-of-the-barrel pricing.
When writing commercial marketing it’s important to remember that B2B communication involves savvy, educated business readers who already know what they want, unlike general consumers. The challenge is to convince business buyers that a given product or service is better for their known needs than the competitor’s. General marketing doesn’t work in this scenario, and blind blanket marketing can end up burning a lot of dollars needlessly. Choosing the right marketing writing for the situation is key to B2B communication success.
Tom L is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.