In the borrowed cubicle I was using recently I found a copy of Online Executive Education, a magazine-like listing of courses offered to executives by UniversityAlliance through a number of universities across the country.
Seeing the types of courses offered gave me insight into what today’s executives are looking for in the way of skill improvement. They ranged from getting a “Black Belt in Six Sigma” to a masters in “Human Resource Development.”
Reading it, however, got me thinking about the lives of the people to which we market. It reminded me of what we B2B marketers sometimes forget — that is, we are selling products to human beings with egos and personal motivations, not just databases or a mass of social media followers.
Although B2B buyers must justify their buying decisions by the promise of benefits that will help the company — reducing costs, boosting productivity, increasing ROI, or others — they are still humans whose decisions are influenced by their emotions, experiences and personal goals.
The question is, “How can we make sure our product messaging touches our prospects as humans?” Here are a few suggestions on how it can be done:
1. Put all marketing messaging in the 2nd person.
“You” is the word that can go the furthest to make a human connection with the prospect. Companies that keep the marketing and product messaging in the 3rd person because they think it sounds more professional are actually separating themselves from their markets.
2. Discuss what the product can do in real user situations.
Help your prospect envision the product “in action” within his or her organization. Tell a story with someone in that person’s title or position gaining value from using the product. Draw them in so they can see how the product can perform in real life.
3. Spell out one or more of the “personal” rewards the buyer would experience from buying the product.
My favorite is “Become the company hero.” Others can include statements such as, “Take your next vacation free of worry,” or, “Become your company’s trusted authority on . . .”
If the B2B company is marketing to multiple titles, versioning the message for each title gives it greater impact with each target. It’s important that B2B marketers don’t get too caught up in the tools and forget the individuals who will use them.