Marketing is mostly about psychology. The better you are at getting to grips with your client’s motivations, dreams for the future and problems, the better job you’ll do of using well written copy to winkle (good word) out the people who really need your product or service.
That’s why at the beginning of the process I take my clients through, I prioritise creating a dream client profile. You’ve heard me banging on about this many times before so I won’t get into it again now (visit here if you haven’t heard the aforementioned mantra).
Some businesses are looking to target individual consumers (B2C), some are targeting other businesses (B2B) and some sell to both.
It’s important to know how the messages that you are feeding to a B2B audience should differ from those that you would use for a B2C audience, as they’ll need different elements to flick a switch in the brain of your prospect. And, until you have these messages nailed, it’s almost impossible to create an effective web site, email campaign, leaflet… anything really.
Selling based on ROI vs VFM
We are all looking to get a good deal, but the reasons are different for businesses and for individuals. Companies are looking to make strategic investments which will generate a good return on their investment (ROI), and to look good in front of their boss or Board. They invest in products or services that they believe will allow them to generate more revenue than they would get if they used the money elsewhere or left it in the bank.
Individuals are mostly looking to get good value for money (VFM). They don’t usually expect to make any money back but they want to know that the choice they have made represents good value compared to the available alternatives.
Knowing the difference between these two will help you to create content that speaks to the right audience.
For example, when you look at the Virgin Atlantic website, you’ll see that their first line of copy on the home page (for consumer customers) at the time of writing is:
“Direct flights from £366 return.
Bags, dinner, drinks and award winning entertainment included.
And no credit card fees”
A clear VFM statement.
Whereas on their Flying Club page (aimed at business travellers) it says:
“Rewarding business travel
Flying Co is our corporate loyalty programme designed to reward both your company and your travellers. You’ll see your travel budgets go further and our dedicated team is here to help take care of your business travel arrangements too.”
An ROI-related statement for corporate readers.
The decision making unit is bigger
In marketing speak, there’s a thing called Decision Making Unit (DMU). This describes the people who are involved in making a decision around a purchase. Quite often for B2C companies, it’s just one person, or at most, a couple.
For businesses, there might be a whole team of people deciding about buying your product or service. This could include a manager, his or her support staff, his or her boss, the head of another department, such as finance or sales, the chairperson and even their bank manager or an investor.
When you are developing a marketing approach in a B2B market, it’s vital to include different techniques that appeal to the buying rationales of each of these individuals. Yes, it can be very complex, and this is why big companies have key account teams focussed on doing just that.
Look at this copy from the Santander ‘corporate’ page.
“Let us help your business break through.
Knowledge – Meet British business legends face-to-face and soak up their expertise at exclusive events.
International – Tools and solutions to help you find and connect with business opportunities overseas.
Talent – Find and keep the best talent, including access to 2,000 subsidised graduate interns.
Finance – A unique funding solution to fuel your growth ambitions.”
How many different business departments is that little section designed to appeal to…?
Motivation to buy may be very different
It’s hard to make generalisations here, because motivations to buy vary so widely, but on average the benefits that each group of people is looking to achieve will differ.
Individuals are often looking to improve something about themselves – their appearance, or the way they conduct themselves. They might want to save time, or money, enjoy a treat or improve the safety of their environment for their family.
Businesses are usually motivated by saving time or money, or increasing revenue. Safety concerns and looking good in front of others might be secondary benefits that appeal, but they won’t be as important as the first aspect.
It’s worth interviewing past customers or combing through email conversations and meeting notes to pin down exactly what motivation to buy the majority of your past customers have had. Then, refer to the benefit associated with this throughout your copy.
Taking a few simple steps to examine the decision making processes at the heart of your customer’s buying decision, and then making reference to this when you write marketing copy will be the difference between selling nothing, and a healthy, constant pipeline of clients. It’s vital to do this before you invest in any marketing activity.
I’d love to be the one to help you, but any marketeer worth their salt should be prioritising getting to the heart of this information and using in the content that they create for you.