Beware the pretty marketer.
I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t hire attractive people to work as your B2B marketer, but rather that you should avoid people who are only focused on creating “pretty” marketing materials for your business.
There’s an incorrect perception in B2B companies that making things look 'pretty' is what marketing is about: picking nice colours and designing beautiful brochures. While it’s true that appealing-looking collateral tends to work well, aesthetics shouldn’t be the priority for your B2B company's marketing.
If your message is off-target, your website is sloppily written, you’re not executing your marketing plan, or (gasp!) you don’t even have a marketing plan, then pretty designs won’t add up to anything except wasted money. This kind of marketing isn’t going to convince a risk-averse B2B decision maker to buy your product or service—it just makes you look immature. Far too many companies fall into this trap.
What matters in B2B Marketing
Good B2B marketing is a combination of many components, and good design is just one of them. Sound strategy, compelling messaging and consistent execution are the fundamentals of successful B2B marketing. Add appealing design to those fundamentals, and you’ll have powerful marketing that will grow your revenues and profits.
There might even be a case for ugly marketing...
Sometimes, there’s even a case for not having your design look TOO good. In the B2B world, you run the risk of being seen as “too slick,” which can turn off certain customers. If you’re targeting engineers, for example, you’re working with a highly analytical, skeptical audience. They’re used to seeing functional stuff. Overly designed collateral has the potential to make them think that you’re spending more on marketing than you are on R&D. And that will turn them off —not on to—your business.
Pretty marketing is okay, as long as you’ve got the strategy and quantitative fundamentals covered off. If you hit the right balance, your marketing will be more than pretty, it will get real results, and that’s always a beautiful thing.
Want other tips on what works in B2B marketing? Download the first section of The Radical Sales Shift: