Ad and marketing creatives
Does Your Business Audience Have a Split Personality?
A few weeks ago I received a call from a marketing manager of an event planning company. She was obviously frustrated. Her email promotion of a leadership seminar had failed miserably. Time was running out before the event date. She needed answers fast. So she asked if I would review the piece and get back to her with recommendations.
Once I had read the promotion, I immediately recognized the problem. Although it was a well-crafted piece of copywriting, it appealed to only one side of her target audience's "split personality."
Fortunately, it was a simple fix. I advised her on what changes needed to be made. She rewrote the copy and, as a result, her follow-up email brought in the registrations she needed.
Split personality? Let me explain...
You see, most marketing writers know there are key differences when communicating persuasively to a business (B2B), rather than a consumer (B2C), audience. But the one thing that they sometimes miss is the often conflicting interests of the individual business buyer.
Or, how I like to put it, the "split personality syndrome".
You see, there's a tug-of-war that goes on in the business buyer's mind when making a purchasing decision. On one hand, she must consider the needs of the business. On the other hand, she has personal needs, wants and concerns, too.
Usually, the result is a compromise.
That's why you'll see an expensive marble table in a boardroom, even though the company doesn't really need something so extravagant. The VP just likes it.
So, when writing any type of marketing piece - an email, letter, press release, web page, advertisement - you need to take the business buyer's split personality into account.
How do you do that?
- First, you must stress the business benefits. Business buyers act on behalf of a company. You need to highlight how your product or service will reduce costs, increase sales, avoid liabilities, gain a competitive advantage, improve quality, boost productivity, or accelerate cash flow.
- Then, you need to stress the personal benefits. Business buyers are individuals. So you must explain how your product or service will save them time, make their jobs easier, help them look good to their superiors, get them promoted, advance their careers, or get them home in time for dinner!
Say you're writing a sales brochure for a new brand of industrial forklift. From a business standpoint, it has everything a company needs: safety features that reduce the risk of injuries, long service life for a low annual cost of ownership, and it runs on propane to comply with clean air regulations.
But it's the plant engineer you need to convince. And she's not so sure about these NEW forklifts. What if the learning curve is steep and creates havoc on her production schedule? What if these trucks don't perform well and she gets blamed? How quickly can she get technical support should she need it?
Can you see what a mistake it would be not to address these issues in the copy? No matter how compelling your business case is, if you don't tout the personal benefits, your marketing piece is doomed.
So when writing B2B copy, remember: it's not all business. It's personal, too.