Creating and implementing effective B2B marketing and communications campaigns requires a deep understanding of your business and industry. Our associates offer our clients decades of combined experience and a passion for complex industries. Andy Knight, SVP and creative director, discusses copywriting trends in B2B marketing.
WHY ARE SOME B2B BRANDS HESITANT TO EVOLVE THEIR APPROACH?
In B2B marketing, the selling proposition is likely to be something fairly serious. Maybe you’ve got a solution that drives costs out of the supply chain. Or a healthcare technology that makes life-saving treatment more accessible. When the subject matter is serious, there’s an expectation that marketing content should be thorough, explanatory and appropriately austere. This is logical, especially if you’re targeting a niche audience that craves details: engineers, supply chain managers, medical professionals, etc.
If serious and businesslike is your day-to-day reality as a marketer, then the overall trend toward “snackable” content may feel like a disconnect. Because educating is the key to selling — and that can’t always be achieved through bite-size content. But let’s not forget that there’s much more to a brand than the product line or service offering it represents. And creating and reinforcing brand affinity is an important part of your overall strategy.
B2B customers are consumers at heart, and no purchase is ever 100 percent rational. Marketers are still humans communicating with humans — so story, emotion and authenticity all count. Why not take advantage of short-form content opportunities to flex those brand voice muscles a little? Be engaging. Be conversational. Maybe even be provocative if the situation warrants. Just stay true to the brand’s values — and relevant to what your audience expects from you as a thought leader in the category.
WHAT ARE SOME TRENDS THAT HAVE IMPACTED CREATIVE COPYWRITING FOR B2B BRANDS?
B2B brands today are devoting a majority of their budgets to digital, which allows for highly targeted marketing that can reach a specific audience almost down to an individual level. Having so much knowledge about these target audiences allows marketers to write copy that not only addresses pain points more confidently but also positions the brand as a company that understands the customer’s day-to-day and can engage with them on a conversational level.
Another important trend is the fragmentation of social media. B2B brands have long recognized the value of maintaining a strong presence on LinkedIn and YouTube — but as the social landscape becomes broader and more fragmented, the question of which platforms to embrace is not so obvious. Gen Z is a growing component of the workforce, and Millennials are aging into roles where they’re empowered to make purchasing decisions. As marketers, we want to meet the audience where they are. It may be time to reconsider channels like Instagram or even TikTok, as crazy as that might have seemed just a couple of years ago. If the platform lets us connect with the right audience, it’s up to us to determine if there’s a brand-right way to fuel constructive conversation and create meaningful engagement.
HOW CAN MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS AGENCIES HELP BRANDS ADAPT TO THESE NEW TRENDS AND SUCCEED?
For a wide range of B2B clients, we develop communications programs that leverage the power of scalable storytelling. The mix of tactics includes opportunities for deep exploration of all the details that set the brand apart from its competition — because if expertise is the differentiator, we want that to come through loud and clear. But there will also be executions where brevity is key. Airport placements, for example, are popular among our B2B clients whose target audiences travel frequently for work. With just enough room for a short headline and a CTA, this creative requires a disciplined approach to answering the fundamental question: When the brand can’t tell its whole story, what story does it tell? That’s where the ability to “say more with less” is essential — to pique curiosity, establish relevance and inspire action, all in a few seconds.