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Why We’ve Run out of Time as B2B Marketers (and What to Do about It)

by Jennifer Beever on January 10, 2014

Photo by Vincent_AF on Flickr Photo by Vincent_AF on Flickr

 

We’re out of time because our customers are out of time. B2B buyers, like consumers, have very little time to spend figuring out websites, lengthy and technical copy, or detailed diagrams.

What does that mean for business-to-business marketers? We need to simplify our marketing, tell more stories and use more visuals.

1. Simplify your marketing

According to Dave Kerpen in his book Likeable Business, buyers want simplicity. Kerpen referenced a Harvard Business School project in which, when presented with complicated and simple explanations to questions, people preferred the simple explanation every time. He also cited a Marketing Week study that consumers are 87% more likely to recommend a simpler brand than a complex brand.

If you are selling something that is complex, it’s OK to have detailed presentations, web pages, whitepapers. Just don’t lead with them. This is a common problem with technology products. The company founders and product inventors are so close to the details that it is difficult to pull back or up and think about their product or service from a potential customer’s viewpoint.

2. Tell stories, don’t sell features

Lengthy descriptions of product or service features are all well and good, but buyers make their decision based on emotion. By telling stories, you can convey your product or service in a way that buyers can relate to. If they can visualize the results your product or service will provide, you have a greater chance of getting a sale.

I read a great article in Sales and Marketing Magazine about this. In “8 Minutes of Execution,” Tim Riesterer wrote about how sales situations often mirror a football game, in which on average there are 65 plays with an average of 7 seconds each, and only 8 minutes of execution. Riesterer recommends that you use your 8 minutes of execution to tell a compelling story about how you solved a problem similar to the one your prospective customer has.

3. Use great visuals

With diminishing attention spans, it’s more difficult to get people’s attention with your marketing. Images make a difference, and studies have shown that Tweets with a picture have a greater click-through rate. Remember that one of the biggest generations of buyers – the millennials – are the video generation. So do make use of videos in your marketing.

Shorter videos on Instagram or Vine are becoming more popular now. Even a video that is 2 or 3 minutes long might be too long for today’s buyer.

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