Recently, I read “Scientific Advertising,” by industry pioneer Claude C. Hopkins, originally published in 1923. Although you aren’t trying to peddle syrup of figs or shaving soap to your business clients, these timeless pointers from Hopkins are quite relevant in B2B marketing today.
“Learn what possible buyers want and the factors which don’t appeal.”
This seems like a simple directive, but it takes research and effort to learn what your buyers want. Say you are an application software developer looking to generate leads and gain market share. What are your prospects interested in most—seamless integration, ROI, customer service, data security? And, what factors will change these needs, and when? Keeping these points in mind will help you provide messaging that your customers care about.
“The best ads ask no one to buy … They offer wanted information.”
Expanding Hopkins’ focus on ads to include entire marketing programs, this advice still holds true in B2B messaging. You must do more than simply promote your products or services. By offering specific solutions to your customers’ challenges, you demonstrate a thorough understanding of their operations and industry, thereby building trust. By identifying and solving their operational issues, you show that you want to do more than just sell to them—you care about their success.
“Whether long or short, an advertising story should be reasonably complete.”
As Hopkins extolls the benefits of presenting a complete advertising story, the same thing is true for your B2B brand story. Reaching beyond your products, services and capabilities, your brand story infuses your company’s personality in order to make a connection with your audience. How did your company come to develop its products or services? What drives your dedication to the industries you serve?
“Competition must be considered … There is nearly always something impressive which others have not told. We must discover it.”
In other words, study your competitors and discover strategic opportunities that they are overlooking. In today’s B2B marketing environment, it takes deep digging, skillful analysis and a well-planned messaging strategy to take advantage of the openings that your competitors are leaving for you to act upon.
Have other time-tested tips of your own? We’d love to hear about them in the comments.
Lisa Goetz is a public relations executive at Schubert b2b, where she primarily writes content and manages media relations. She brings 20 years of editorial and communications experience to Schubert b2b and holds a PhD in English literature from Duquesne University. When not in the office, Lisa likes to take excursions with her husband and hang out with her cat and a good book.