The best place to start all B2B marketing efforts.

There’s a very important place marketers have to be when conducting B2B marketing or selling B2B products or services. It’s not in the office. It’s not at a trade show. It’s not at a networking event, and it’s not even on the golf course. Brain 2It’s inside a prospect’s mind.

Whenever I write marketing copy I imagine the prospective buyer and try to understand where he or she might be sitting when reading what I am writing. I envision the person on the job, interacting with others, agonizing over problems or barriers that my client’s product or service can solve. With this in mind, I can formulate copy that, I hope, will capture their attention and make them feel the message is personal to them.

It’s not enough to know which benefits and features will solve the challenges faced by prospective customers. B2B marketers must also know how and why human beings make buying decisions.

Amy Africa of Eight-by-Eight, in her recent QLOG “Do You Remember Your First Kiss?” begins a series addressing just that. Her focus is ecommerce Web sites, but her insight also has value for B2B marketers selling high-end, complex products or services.

Then last week a marketing organization of which I am a member gave a presentation covering this same point. It explained how the context of what you say about your product or service must fit with the way the human brain needs to receive the information.

It’s all about getting into the minds of your prospects by understanding not only what they need but also how their minds work. So here are 4 basic human-thinking practices I’ve learned over the years that marketers might want to keep in mind before communicating with prospects about their products or services:

  1. Minds resist change and like the familiar — B2B marketing conversations should begin from where the prospect’s mind is now, not where you want it to be. A very obvious example is matching the case studies you provide to the prospect company’s industry and size. Another area in which this point works well is in formulating SEM ads. Those ads should speak to the solution the prospect is using now and not the solution you’re trying to sell them.
  2. Minds need clear-cut distinctions — The best way to show the size of a very small product is to show a picture of the item next to something everyone knows and uses. Product competitive advantages should be instantly understood.
  3. Minds need to be told what to do –“Click Here Now,” “Call Now,” “Start Your FREE Trial Now,” “Download Now” may seem boring and obvious. But B2B marketers cannot expect prospects to think or to guess. A clear, strong call-to-action in marketing materials always produces a higher response.
  4. Minds selectively retain information — Following up a B2B lead-generation email, direct mail or other communication with a phone call is a strong interactive-marketing approach. But the call must be made in 5 days or less. After that, most of today’s overworked prospects will have no recollection of the previous communication.

Focusing your marketing approaches and sales pitches on how the human mind works and how it responds to new information is the key to gaining attention, being heard and closing sales. So before marketers start, they need to take a little trip inside their prospect’s minds.

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