The Fourth Secret of B2B Marketing

It’s Brian E. Whitaker, back to you at The Writer’s Life with yet another secret from corporate B2B marketing.

This blog marks a slight change. The first three blogs in this series give you secret opportunities to help B2B marketers because they aren’t great at something.

This blog, and the fifth in the series, will give you an idea of how B2B marketers can help YOU be a better copywriter.

The first source of help is something B2B companies have to do without fail.

They must know the customer.

B2B marketers are usually obsessive about knowing their customers and have ways of gaining knowledge. As a copywriter, whenever you can, you should tap into this insight.

They gain this information in a variety of ways:

Win/Loss Interviews – Good marketers should conduct win/loss interviews by phone with customers at least 3-4 times a year. Ask to listen in. Customers will give you new ideas for your writing without even asking. You likely won’t be allowed to speak to the customer, and some clients won’t let you on the call, but ask if the call can be recorded or transcribed.

Site Visits – If your marketing contact plans a site visit in your area, ask to tag along. At Dell, we encouraged various contractors to attend site visits if they could learn something essential. You can learn a lot by being in the room with a product buyer or user.

Events – Most B2B companies run events for their customers. If you have a longstanding relationship with a company, ask to attend an event. You may have to pay your own way, but the exposure and opportunity to talk with salespeople and customers is incredibly useful. Even if it’s just a luncheon with ten customers, you’ll have a perfect opportunity to ask questions and seek color commentary.

Focus Groups – Most corporate marketers test their marketing with focus groups. It might be a message test, or a program test, or a campaign test, but if you have the opportunity to participate, you must take advantage of it. You might just get direct feedback on your writing during the group, or during breaks or hallway conversations.

Virtual forums – More and more frequently, B2B companies are running virtual customer forums. Sometimes, these are public, running as a microsite off the corporate web server, while others are hosted on something like Groupsite. There are also customer forums for many companies and products on LinkedIn. Following forum discussions helps you get a better understanding of how customers think and feel about the product.

But a word of warning applies.

Odds are good you’ll need to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) with your client before you’ll be allowed access to this confidential information. Also, these activities can be so interesting that you can be pulled away from writing to attend events or listen to calls.

But as long as you balance participation with billing work and running your business, you’ll be able to get insider information to enhance and build your copywriting.

And that insight will help you find new benefits for your clients and for you as a copywriter. Check out my article on how pleasing those two groups of people (and one more) can help YOU find a distinct benefit from your career that you’ll value.

And let me know your thoughts – I welcome your feedback.

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Published: June 7, 2012

2 Responses to “The Fourth Secret of B2B Marketing”

  1. Thanks for your contribution here. I really enjoyed reading your article.

    The key is to stay close to the customer.
    You've got to demonstrate that you are curious by asking a lot of questions. Tact and patience and persistence can take you far.

    Taking diligent notes is essential. Always carry a note-pad and pen in your pocket. Jot down whatever ideas strike you, even those ideas out of the blue.

    Sometimes, the best ideas are the wild and wacky ideas. You can even brainstorm for more ideas.

    Archan MehtaJune 7, 2012 at 6:54 pm

  2. Is there a sample non-disclosure agreement (NDA) available through AWAI?

    Lisa SalinasApril 20, 2016 at 7:44 am


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