In B2B marketing, you tend to hear the same advice over and over. Almost all of them are overly general. But these marketing clichés are clichés for a reason, some of them work. Others are just trying to sell things.
In today’s post, we examine the most common B2B marketing clichés to determine if they’re good advice or bad.
Because B2B marketing often involves intangible offerings and impersonal ordering, it’s challenging to create the same emotional experience that users get during B2C marketing.
Often, we turn to stock photos instead, using these overly cheery images of people doing businesses to add some humanity to the experience.
But we all know that good lighting and perma-happy employees isn’t an accurate portrayal of business and the business world.
If you can’t make your own photos or graphics for your post, you might be falling into the trap of overly positive stock photos.
HIPB2B even had a period where our main reception area was dominated by smiling cliché B2B faces.
We all do it. And faces are better than the sea of screens.
There’s a reason these stock photos are cliché in B2B, and it’s because our work and workspace aren’t visually very striking.
What can you do to avoid the cliché and still use human faces? Take your own photos.
Don’t roll your eyes at me.
You have people that work at your organization. Get their buy-in via friendly tactics (free tacos?) or force (email from the CEO) and take some photos.
Most offices aren’t filled with people like this.
Try to show the unique aspects of your fellow coworkers. Maybe how they dress or what they furnish their creative spaces with. Highlight them as the individuals that craft your brand and product. Because that’s what they do.
Real human faces are good. But it’s much better to have real humans and not the plasticky, badly edited human-lookalikes dominating your content.
This isn’t wrong, but it is cliché advice. You know how many times I’ve written it myself? Too many.
Of course, every marketer should write a strategy, but honestly, when you write content, you should often do more than say to write a strategy. A good piece of content will give tactics and tools that others can put into their marketing plans.
A better piece of advice would be to write down your strategy. Some marketers have marketing plans they work off and most of the tactics are in their head. Write down the strategy, complete with a running calendar, and add to it when you learn more about it.
Have reports due recording the daily or weekly content output. Sending out updates and having a running record of what has been posted gives you the ability to start to dig deeper into what works and what doesn’t.
It also keeps all members completing their work on time… most of the time.
A/B testing is the only true way to determine if a change in tactic is effective.
Better advice than “do A/B testing” is to talk about how to do A/B testing or what you should be testing. Explain the ways you’ve had success with A/B testing, how you recorded the results, how you chose what tactics to test, etc.
I think this was the first piece of advice I got from a news writing class. It’s a solid piece of advice, if only more content creators followed it.
It revisits the six principles of answering each of these questions.
It’s overused. But people don’t always actually fulfill the answers to these six questions. Sometimes that’s okay, but as Google looks for content that is thorough and covers the entire subject matter, it’s better to know the answers to all six questions.
Cutting edge technology
We’ve all read these phrases. And when you first started working in the world of B2B marketing, you probably were impressed by a lot of them for a minute. Then you realized that everyone uses those words and they often have very little basis in fact.
Keep it real. Literally, keep it authentic. Write like a person. A step above casual maybe. Depending on your audience maybe you keep it totally casual.
You can still sound like an authority on a subject matter, but at this point, no one is impressed by your made-up computer words. Use the terms that people know, nothing more.
Better advice would be to build meticulous profiles of who your customers are, what they like, what they make, the industry they work in, etc.
Give these personas names. Learn which of your customers matches this profile. Give them lists of characteristics. Tell them how to find out the details. Teach them. Don’t just get them to fill out your form.
If you’re continuing the old advertising method, which involves blasting your message as far as you can to as many people as possible, stop. Please. That doesn’t work now. Make content for specific customers. If it solves their problem, it solves others like them.
Make your content more like a conversation, one that encourages dialogue from both parties. It doesn’t need to be oversaturated with the casual “awesome” or “epic” words that dominate Buzzfeed-esque articles to be chatty and casual.
The message here is, these are all good pieces of marketing advice, but they’re too broad to the point of being rigid.
Have a plan but be adaptable to change. Speak like a person, not like a weird, jargon-spewing, one-sided robot that has a giant fake smile plastered to its face.
That’s insulting to both you and the people you’re trying to sell to. You can be authoritative and not sound stiff. You can be conversational but not obnoxious. The key is finding the right way to speak to your audience. Give it a try and let us know how it goes.
Let us know what you think:
- What is the most cliche piece of marketing advice you’ve heard?
- Have you dealt cliche marketing advice before? Was it good advice?
- How can we make marketing advice more useful?