B2B Marketing Blog

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Written by Lisa Shepherd
on April 09, 2018

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You’ve heard people saying it for years: there are no new ideas. And maybe that’s true. We have a multitude of like products on the market with similar features and benefits, outputs, applications, tastes, colours and looks. You name it, there’s probably at least a dozen options of essentially the same thing. In consumer marketing, the buyer’s choice often comes down to brand preferences based on self-identification with a particular set of brand attributes – they want Nike and not Adidas. But in a sea of similar products and services, where an individual’s brand preferences may not be enough to make the sale, how do you win in B2B marketing?

Start with what’s true about you

The most important place to begin when determining what sets you apart, is the truth. And be honest. Making up attributes, creating statements that may not be entirely correct and exaggerating results is no way to begin delivering a product or service message that your audience will trust. Make a list of things that are true about your company, your employees, your customers, your offering, your history, your success, your expertise, your innovation and anything else that seems relevant to your potential audience. These statements must be true today, not aspirational or projections of success for tomorrow.

As you build this list of truths, you’ll start to see specific themes in the statements you’re making about your business.  You’ll also begin to notice that some of the truths about your business will seem very similar to the truths that your competitors claim.

Weed out statements that waffle

Things like “We’re the [your product or service] experts.” Or “We offer superior customer service.” Or “We deliver on time and on budget.” might be true about your business, but they’re not specific to your business alone. They’re also vague and over-used and in today’s market of savvier B2B business buyers, they’re turning into background noise rather than motivating marketing statements.

Instead, look for statements that are specifically true about your business. These types of statements will be things like: “We’ve been providing small business accounting services for 35 years.” Or “85% of our customers are repeat business.” Or “We guarantee on time and on budget delivery.” Or “Our products are proudly manufactured in Canada.” Statements that are specific to your business are those that can be qualified and quantified.

Divide your qualified statements into messages that matter

Now that you have a set of qualified statements that are specifically true about your business, sort them into a hierarchy of messages that matter the most. Start with statements that can be grouped by Expertise/Qualifications, Methodology, Innovation and Results. It’s possible that you won’t have any statements that fall into the innovation category – it depends on the type of business you’re in – but you should have statements for the other three.

Then determine which qualified statements are the most important within each of these groups. Most important are statements that are not only qualified but are absolutely unique to your business. Least important are statements that are qualified but that may be less singularly applicable to your business alone or that are less impactful than your most important statements. You should have 1-3 statements per group that you will use regularly in your business marketing.

The truth will set you … apart

Standing out from the crowd when there is little product differentiation comes down to telling the truth - and ensuring that you put it front and centre in your business marketing messaging. Qualified statements jump out at potential buyers because they not only “ring true” but they are the proof points your prospects need to inform a buying decision.

These qualified statements should be threaded through all of your content both online and off. They can be used to help identify keywords that are relevant to your business, products and services and that are important to your prospects. Most importantly, they differentiate you from your competitors – even when your products, services and even pricing are similar – in a consistent set of statements that everyone in your organization can confidently use.

Re-evaluate regularly

Things change and so may your qualified statements over time. Re-evaluate your qualified statements annually to ensure that they remain true and to add additional unique and qualified statements about your business when the opportunity arises.

Don’t play truth or dare with your business. Call us today!

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