LeAnn Wilson McGuire Writing her Right Brain column

Right Brain

Business to business (B2B) marketing gets a bad rap. Some say it’s utilitarian, uninspired or even boring. But that reputation comes from a drastic misunderstanding of how B2B marketing really works. Even the name – business to business – gives you the wrong idea about how to approach marketing campaigns in the business world. The not-so-secret secret to success in B2B marketing is a simple change in mindset: You are not marketing to a business. You’re marketing to a person.

THE NAME – BUSINESS TO BUSINESS – GIVES YOU THE WRONG IDEA ABOUT HOW TO APPROACH MARKETING CAMPAIGNS IN THE BUSINESS WORLD.

Forget about B2B or B2C and just focus on marketing. In marketing – all marketing – your goal is to pick out a problem and convince people your brand has the solution. That means understanding their unique points of view and tailoring your message accordingly.

Whether you’re selling low-budget fishing rods to a beachside hobbyist or commercial-grade line reels to the purchasing officer at a global company, you need to figure out what makes the consumer tick. The hobbyist wants something that’s affordable but doesn’t make him look like a novice, so you show him action shots with big fish and pummel him with special offers. The purchasing officer wants high quality equipment that’s easy to order, so you reassure her with testimonials and give her the option to order with just one click.

It’s not about what your brand can do for the business. It’s about what your brand can do for the people at that business. Companies don’t have emotions. People do. And people make purchasing decisions for specific, emotional reasons. You have an opportunity to tap into those emotions and sell them what they really want – which is rarely as cut-and-dry as what’s best for the company.

COMPANIES DON’T HAVE EMOTIONS. PEOPLE DO.

Understanding the business’s needs is important, but it’s the person who ultimately makes the decision to go with your brand. It’s the person’s needs that are the real key to sales. Take advantage of the fact that your “business to business” campaign is actually directed at people. Make it emotional and entertaining and creative as hell because there is nothing boring about marketing, B2B or otherwise.