B-to-B Insights: B-to-B Marketing in 1978 vs. 2008
The Rise of the Whitepaper. The primary sales collateral today is the whitepaper, not the brochure. While the sales brochure focused on the product and looked and read like sales copy, the whitepaper focuses on educating prospects about a problem and how to solve it. It looks and reads like a how-to article or tutorial.
The Critical Importance of Keywords and Search. In the old days, the most important sales channels to cultivate were your inside sales force and your outside reps, the primary means by which prospects approached your company about buying your product. In 2008, the main way of finding products is through Internet search. Therefore, the most important knowledge for the B-to-B marketer to acquire is not how to recruit reps (though that’s still important), but to find the keywords and phrases prospects search when looking for your type of product or for help solving one of the problems it addresses. Also, you need to ensure that your site comes up on the search engine’s first page when prospects type in those keywords and phrases.
I’ve only covered the tip of the iceberg as far as the differences between B-to-B marketing in 2008 vs. 1978. There’s a lot I omitted, including e-mail marketing, e-newsletters, blogs, vertical portals, tele-seminars and MySpace. But that’s the whole point, isn’t it? I was wrong in 1978 to view B-to-B marketing as static. Rather, it’s dynamic and fast-changing. And for today’s B-to-B marketing professional, just keeping up is a full-time job. My objective in this new column is to help make the “keeping up” part a little easier for you and to bring you a steady stream of profitable new ideas for generating more B-to-B leads and sales.
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.