October 21, 2020 / Marjoram
Chances are you don’t personally know your potential client, so picking up the phone and just talking one of your old college buddies into a professional blind date isn’t an option – but that shouldn’t stop you from understanding their problems and how you can help them.
One thing you do definitely know: your potential client is a real, live human who doesn’t do exactly what you do and probably won’t understand your industry jargon. And this human with a problem needs a real, get-this-issue-off-my-plate-so-I-can-focus-on-other-things solution. (And by “solution,” we mean the original definition of the word—the act of solving a problem—not the ubiquitous marketing darling.)
So how do you announce that your solution is the problem-solver if you can’t use your fancy big words?
You’re an Ingredient Brand, after all. Your unique B2B marketing challenge stems from being a large organization with a diverse portfolio of products that serve as parts or components that make up consumer goods. It’s kinda complex and hard to sell.
Complex, but doable.
BUT FIRST, MESSAGING
Where to start? Hint: It’s not with a list of features.
And it’s especially not with a list of features that read like lingo bingo. For example, if your potential chemicals customer isn’t a chemist, your science-speak will go right over their heads—and turn their attention to your more plain-spoken competition.
The same result will happen with tech geniuses and other really smart, non-marketing folks. The impressively intricate parts and algorithms that make up their “amazing” products and services are not what’s most important to the humans. What’s important to them is that their problem is being solved.
MESSAGING THAT RESONATES
You reach potential customers when your messaging talks not about what you make, but what you make possible.
Today’s B2B buyer makes it almost 70% of the way to a purchase decision on their own, before they even make their first sales inquiry. So, if your message doesn’t immediately tell this self-starting, research-loving buyer how you will solve their issue, you’re off their list.
As a result, you now have to predict their questions and provide compelling answers in an easily understood, highly digestible framework. And to move them to the hook, you must quickly describe how your offering can solve their pain—all before they’ve reached the salesperson who can customize the benefits to address their situation.
That’s the helpful difference between a “How To” approach versus just shoving more self-aggrandizing facts and figures in front of weary eyeballs. Don’t make your potential client figure out what makes you the answer. Educate them. They’re literally searching for it.
FRAMING YOUR SPECIAL AWESOME
Don’t start thinking about messaging from the lofty top of your organization. Start with the end—the end user that is.
What does the end user need? How are you uniquely positioned to help them?
That’s it. That’s the hook.
A happy end user makes your potential customer happy, which makes you happy, and on and on—all the way up to your C-suite. And if you have that “C” in front of your title and are reading this, good on ya. Glad you’re with us thus far.
Let’s break it down.
Brand messaging at the top
Don’t get us wrong, high-level messaging is essential—in fact, it’s the first stage of the messaging framework. This is the heady aspirational stuff—the ideas cheered and revered on corporate retreats. You’ll find it woven throughout the messaging, especially on “About Us” pages.
This is the top-level, aspirational brand-speak that all communications must adhere to, approved by the executives to address whatever keeps them up at night. (Company reputation. Hiring and retaining genius. Stockholders.)
Product/Service in the center
This is “value proposition” territory, so this language must be simple and concise. It must speak plainly to the problem that needs solving—be it the farmer in a drought, an architect looking to specify building products, or an organization looking for a better mousetrap.
Audience at the ground level
Now we’re speaking to the humans who will actually be buying your ingredient brand to make their end product or service super high yield. Or super-efficient. Or super-functional. Or…shall we go on?
Your messaging must address whatever has these folks taking deep breaths every two seconds. Is it meeting sales goals? Answering tough questions from end users? The company’s reputation? Figure out this mix and your hook builds itself.
PILLAR TALK: COURTING CUSTOMERS
Messaging is a lot like online dating. Your potential customer is looking for a good match, hoping that their special someone will love piña coladas as much as they do. You’re looking for a match, too—and it just so happens you love piña coladas. But first, you have to grab their attention.
So, there they are, doing their research on some platform with algorithmic criteria that presents them with your awesomeness. Congrats, you’ve been noticed!
But does your message illustrate your compatibility beyond your favorite cocktail? Does it make them want to get to know you better? Make them trust that what you’re offering will really solve their problem?
Get clear on who you’re speaking to, what issues they need resolved, and frame your message from there. You’ll be building beautiful relationships before you know it.
FIND YOUR MARKETING MOJO
For more than 20 years, Marjoram has been helping ingredient brands like yours craft B2B messaging that works.
Introduce us to your strategy sessions to see what we can make possible together.