“Selling to a company IS different than selling to a consumer. But there are some fundamental principles all ads should follow.” We’ve been promoting the idea that B2B Advertising (Business-To-Business) is really C2C (Consumer-To-Consumer) for a long time. Now BusinessWeek Magazine has reported on the same subject.
Some details from the article:
1. B2B is different. Sure, selling to a company is different than selling to a consumer. But it’s no more different than selling toothpaste is to selling paint, or even than selling wine is to selling beer. In each case, you’re trying to win over a unique group of people with an existing array of preconceptions and a distinct set of needs.
2. Information trumps emotion. There’s a saying that people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care, and there’s truth to that even in advertising. First you must demonstrate that you understand the challenging world in which your prospects live, and then perhaps they will be willing to listen.
It’s (not) as if the people who read B2B ads don’t buy Nike (NKE) shoes, attend Cirque duSoleil, or shop at Target (TGT) on the weekends.
3. Creativity isn’t important. With apologies to ad great David Ogilvy (“The consumer isn’t a moron; she is your wife.”), the prospect isn’t a robot; he is your neighbor.
4. Companies buy things. In all but the rarest of cases, there’s one person on that committee who holds the key—someone with thoughts and feelings and likes and dislikes and hopes and dreams. Someone who can be captivated and motivated to move your request along.
5. They’re just like us. One of the most common mistakes all of us make is projecting our own attitudes, perceptions, and behaviors on other people.
When everybody’szigging, it’s a good time to zag. Discard the myths that hold most B2B advertising back, and win your company the attention it deserves.