- On June 17, 2020
Upon hearing the phrase ‘B2B marketing tone’ I’ll bet you default to thinking of stiff, authoritative, jargon-filled paragraphs with very little room for excitement (or god forbid – humour).
It’s not hard to figure out why – businesses don’t want to stir emotion. They want to sell you their product in the most informative, least offensive way possible. ‘More facts, less friction’ they say.
Besides, the reader didn’t come here for entertainment, right? They’re not likely to be in the mood for fun and games when they’re trying to figure out which ERP solution is the right fit for them.
This would all be 100% true if I was writing to you from three decades ago. Unfortunately for your excessive jargon and droning paragraphs, this simply isn’t the case nowadays.
“But we need to play it safe!” I hear you cry. “What if we lose a customer?”
The problem is, ‘playing it safe’ almost always defaults to ‘boring’.
Take the following statement from Jason Fried, co-founder of Basecamp. “When you write like everyone else, you’re essentially saying ‘our products are like everyone else’s, too.”
He goes on to say; “You wouldn’t go to a dinner party and just repeat what the person to the right of you is saying all night long”.
With the lines between B2C and B2B marketing becoming increasingly blurred by the day, customers expect more originality, more creativity and more excitement from the people they buy from.
American business strategist Bryan Kramer states “There is no more B2B or B2C. It’s Human to Human”.
See below for some tips on finding the right tone for your B2B Marketing efforts:
1. Don’t be a Jargon Volcano
Stick with me here…
A group of aliens find themselves on a new planet. They’re trying to land their spaceship, yet below are huge volcanoes, spewing out boiling hot magma from the very deepest recesses of the planets’ core. Life on this planet is clearly not for the faint hearted, so they leave and find another planet full of welcoming green fields and rolling plains.
Your website is your planet. New customers visit, see the molten B2B jargon lava all over the place, and immediately leave to find a more accommodating ‘planet’. See what I mean?
A few months ago, I came across a webpage with a tagline so absurd I had to write it down.
“Industry standardized procedures and systems to enable holistically flexible and deployable outsourcing”
Even the most weathered B2B marketing veteran would need a minute (or forty) to decode that one.
It’s no wonder why 83% of senior B2B marketers think jargon is unnecessary and needs to be scrapped.
2. Stretch your creativity (not your content)
Businesses (especially B2B ones) love to keep rambling on about features, benefits, innovation, this, that, blah, blah.
No matter how disruptive your products are, even your most attentive customers will grow tired, and after a few paragraphs of this even the most revolutionary breakthrough loses all impact.
Instead of listing all the reasons why your new CRM platform provides a 0.4% increase in customer retention over the last version, try keeping it brief, creative and impactful.
Apple has been doing it for years in the B2C space. The taglines used in their marketing are based around powerful, alluring short sentences rather than dreary old paragraphs. Take notes next time you’re in-market for your next iThing.
3. Find YOUR Voice
B2B marketing often involves huge corporations which often seem depersonalizing, but it’s important to remember you’re always interacting with another human.
This means that to really increase engagement, you’ll need a unique, memorable voice that stands out from the rest.
Large companies spend an obscene amount of cash, time and effort hiring coordinated writers and marketers, ensuring their marketing tone is stimulating, distinctive and consistent.
“But we’re not a large company, and I can’t be bothered to do all that” I hear you groan.
Good, because it probably wouldn’t do much for you anyway. Without meaning to get too metaphysical, your brands’ unique voice already exists.
It can be found within your company – the motives, reasons it was founded, how you communicate with your team and how you conduct yourselves day-to-day. Worry less about inventing a unique tone, and more about uncovering the one that’s been there the whole time.