B-to-B Insights: Figuring It Out
According to copywriter Steve Slaunwhite, here are some of the questions to ask the product manager and sales manager about the prospect’s buying habits:
- “How do your customers buy? Is there a typical process?”
- “Why do they buy instead of doing nothing?”
- “What prompts them to make the decision to talk with you in the first place?”
- “What do they need to know to make a buying decision?”
- “Who else is typically involved in making the buying decision?”
- “Why do they choose your product over the competition’s?”
Says Slaunwhite: “Unless you have answers to these questions, your copy is just going to skim the surface or, worse, be completely off target.”
Copywriter Ed Gandia agrees. He says one of the biggest frustrations B-to-B marcom managers have with their agencies and writers is that they don’t have a solid understanding of the clients’ business drivers and industry challenges, or the challenges the client’s prospective customers are facing.
“B-to-B clients aren’t just looking for clear and persuasive copy,” says Gandia. “They need someone who ‘gets it,’ someone who understands the bigger picture and how their clients fit into the competitive landscape.”
The last requirement, how a B-to-B marketer fits into the competitive landscape, is—thanks to the Internet—much easier to ascertain than in the past.
In the good old days, the only way to learn what your competitors were up to, short of industrial espionage, was to steal their brochures at trade shows. Now, a simple Google search of industry keywords (e.g., “widget manufacturers”) will bring you a list of most of your competitors.
Bob Bly is a freelance copywriter who has written copy for more than 100 clients including IBM, AT&T, Praxair, Intuit, Forbes, and Ingersoll-Rand. McGraw-Hill calls Bob “America’s top copywriter” and he is the author of 90 books, including “The Copywriter's Handbook.” Find him online at www.bly.com or call (973) 263-0562.