B2B marketers should be scared about doing the wrong things.

The neighborhood I live in does not have any young children in it. Although a few houses have put up a ghost or pumpkin here and there, I am not immersed in the celebration of Halloween, nor do I have a house full of candy (which is a good thing).

Unlike my colleague Casey Hibbard, of “Stories That Sell,” an expert on the creation and use of case studies, I didn’t think about writing a blog post related to this ancient holiday. Her article, “5 Ways Case Studies Can SCARE off Prospects” not only presents the major “no-nos” of case studies but her advice perfectly parallels what Pumpkincould scare off prospects in ANY lead generation message. Here are her points that I have translated into how a marketing approach can scare prospects off before they even get to the case study.


  1. Make it all about you.
    Prospects don’t care about the company offering the product until they are ready to evaluate it and make a buying decision. Until then what prospects want to know is “what’s in it for me.”
  2. Be ugly.
    Ugly is in the eye of the beholder, but in marketing the message should be presented (online or offline) with a look that reflects the company’s quality and positioning. If the company’s unique selling proposition (USP) is low cost, then the design should be clean and basic. Copy should not say “low cost” and appear high-end.
  3. Target the wrong audience.
    As my other blog entry — entitled “Content by any other name would smell as sweet” — explains, the accuracy of reaching the target market can affect marketing results by 200%. Targeting is everything. Marketers should actually focus the majority of their efforts on this critical element.
  4. Ramble.
    This is true in all communication. If prospects can’t quickly and easily fly through the message, most of them won’t take the time to struggle through it.
  5. Make it impossible to skim.
    One of the most important rules in presenting marketing messages is to assume that your prospect will not read one word of body copy. If the core of the message cannot be gleaned from reading the headlines and subheads, it will affect response no matter what the content says.

Marketers should read Casey’s article to see how these important points apply to case studies. Then put these rules to work in EVERYTHING they do.

3 replies
  1. Caitlin Marco
    Caitlin Marco says:

    Great tips! I especially think the abiliy to skim is key in marketing, specifically email marketing. I’ve always found that a quick list of bullet points in an email to cover things really helps the reader digest information quickly and grabs there attention.

  2. Susan Fantle
    Susan Fantle says:

    Thanks and ditto Caitlin. Bullets are one of marketing communication’s greatest inventions. In today’s B2B market environment prospects say “tell me what need to know fast.” Bullets do the job.


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