B2Bs need an attitude shift: become a B4B
At times, I can’t but feel a bit of desperation when I see B2B companies still stubbornly marketing themselves from their own standpoint. Go to almost any B2B website or read almost any B2B company brochure and you’ll see it inundated with phrases like “we provide our customers with…” or, worse still: “XYZ is a company that provides its customers with…”.
“We”? “Our customers”? “A company” and “its customers”? How can anyone even think these phrases could motivate a purchase?
If your materials are in the “we” mode, understand that it’s the same as talking at an internal staff meeting. Nobody else is interested except—perhaps—your colleagues.
If you’re using the third person, you’re not talking to anybody. Think about it. You’re just stating a claim out into space. If it doesn’t go totally unnoticed, the best it will achieve is a “So what?”
Hence the need for an attitude shift.
I’ll clarify. If we think of ourselves as a business-TO-business company, it subconsciously leads us to think about a one-way communication channel. Me talking TO you. Not expecting an answer or dialogue. Not trying to understand. Just talking about what is important for me.
Now let’s think about ourselves as a business-FOR-business company. Maybe it means we are a business that creates business. Maybe it means we’re there to help. Notice how both interpretations implicitly include YOU. Subtly guiding our thinking more towards what we can do for the other party.
I know it is difficult, if not impossible, to get a new term like B4B to take root. I’m 100% sure, however, that if you as a corporate marketer adopt this frame of mind, it will subconsciously lead you to form a better connection with your audience.
You’ll find the beginnings of the B4B idea in this older blog post: Marketers—a breed alienated from real life?
What’s your opinion? Please share in the comments.