The Fifth Secret of B2B Marketing

It’s Brian E. Whitaker with the last blog in my series for The Writer’s Life.

I’ve had a lot of fun this week. It’s been an enjoyable series to write because it’s given me perspective.

Having just left corporate America, some of the things I’ve learned, taken for granted for years, and been implementing with product after product are fresh and useful for you as a copywriter.

B2B marketing has a lot of secrets, and it’s been fun to share them with you.

Just like yesterday, this last blog will give you an idea of how B2B marketers can help YOU be a better copywriter.

You can learn from their innovation.

Corporate B2B marketers have a challenge: they must cut through the noise. And every month, that’s harder than it was the prior month.

If you had checked B2B marketers 20 years ago, they would have talked about the need for brochures, a spec sheet, perhaps a source book.

Those deliverables still exist, but every year marketers have to find the cutting edge in order to slice through the noise that’s in every marketing channel.

There is a lot of marketing out there in almost every industry. Last month, I backed up five years of my marketing production – and found that I had produced over 700 pieces of marketing. And that’s just ONE marketing manager!

Marketing is all about getting copy and content (two different things) in front of customers in a way that captures attention. Too much similar marketing rapidly becomes no marketing at all.

Let’s take an example from consumer marketing. If you got 10 emails touting 10 breakfast cereals, how many would you look at? Probably not very many.

But if you got 10 emails touting 10 breakfast cereals and one Facebook share with a fun video touting a breakfast cereal – would you be more likely to check out the video?

Sure – because everyone is attracted by novelty.

And companies know this. That’s why they’re always creating cutting-edge projects like these that you might be asked to work on.

Videos – The advent of YouTube™ and broadband made marketing videos a reality. Any small business with a decent webcam can create nice-looking videos. But every month, a new video format emerges. Lately, I’m seeing many mock newscasts. Unboxing videos were highly popular for a while. Video case studies are an emerging form. And there will be others.

Finding marketing videos on YouTube is easy, and analyzing them is pretty straightforward. Odds are good you’ll find them for almost any B2B industry you choose.

Flash demos – These are akin to videos but much more interactive. The ones I like to script are digital whiteboarding sessions, where a video hand moves through demonstrating concepts and capabilities on a fictional whiteboard. These sessions are ideal for training tools or as event booth demos.

Try searching the websites of your target clients for their Flash demos. Flash is a widespread but emerging marketing tool, so you may need to check out some Flash marketing consultants to learn more.

Games – Believe it or not, small games, either web-based or mobile applications, are becoming popular tools for promoting B2B products. These are rarely done in-house, but the scripted content has to be done by a copywriter – and it ought to be you.

These are very cutting-edge, and there are only a handful of B2B marketing game producers. But if you want to see one of the best examples, IBM’s CityOne is worth checking out. You’ll find that they’ve integrated a great lead capture mechanism in the game as well.

These are emerging concepts in marketing, so you’ll have to do some digging to start learning about them.

Try to stay open to new types of marketing as they become available to you. By finding clients on the cutting edge, you have opportunities to stretch your skills into new forms that will challenge and interest you. Let’s face it – it can be more fun to write a game than a spec sheet!

And let me know if you’ve found other deliverables you’re hoping to write in the comment section here – I’m looking forward to learning more from you as I progress through the writer’s life!

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Published: June 8, 2012

3 Responses to “The Fifth Secret of B2B Marketing”

  1. Thank you for contributing this article. I really enjoyed reading it.

    However, I disagree with your opinion that everybody is attracted to novelty.

    In fact, everybody is not attracted to novelty.

    To paraphrase Mark Twain, there are people out there who do not want to catch the trade winds and sail away from the safe harbor.

    Such people are not likely to check out videos or new forms of marketing.

    For them, reading a brochure or newsletter works just fine.

    Being open to novelty is not everybody's cup of tea.

    Archan MehtaJune 9, 2012 at 6:34 pm

  2. Very interesting Brian - who knew B2B could be so much fun! Honestly, I need to rethink some of the assumptions I've been making about what works in this space.

    Guest (Julie Wuthnow)June 20, 2012 at 2:09 am

  3. Archan, you err in saying "...everybody is not attracted to novelty."

    Clearly some are and some are not. Therefore, to say everybody is not, is to say nobody is.

    (I used extra commas to eliminate ambiguity, thus proving it's not always wise to minimize comma usage as some English teachers advocate.

    The correct usage is "...not everybody is attracted to novelty."

    One of my pet peeves and an all-to-common error by even experienced journalists and others.

    Guest (Clarke Echols)June 30, 2012 at 4:39 pm


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