“Much copy is bad because it is written in the same tone of frantic enthusiasm no matter who it is supposed to come from or to whom it is written. This is amateurish. Our tone and choice of words varies depending on who we are, who we are addressing and what we are talking about.”
So said Drayton Bird, long-time partner to David Ogilvy. These words have by now been internalised by most within the marketing sphere and called upon at the outset of every new campaign, project or marketing material. Who’s our audience? What do they want? What are we telling them?
Unfortunately, when it comes to B2B copy, the true answers to these questions are often lost or forgotten. Every creative will have heard the words ‘It’s too B2C’ and struggled to stop their eyes rolling to the heavens. Copy can never be too B2C because even when we’re producing work for a B2B campaign, we’re still ultimately addressing human beings.
A PLC isn’t going to read your promotional poster or thought leadership blog and make a purchase based on that experience. A Chief Marketing Officer might – and that CMO is a human, just like you. They get bored, they get excited, they get curious. And that’s why it’s so important to humanise B2B copy and produce a story that people can connect with.
Too often in B2B copy, the focus is on highlighting product features. These features may well be useful to your target persona, but they’re not really interesting to read about. Features mean nothing without context. A contact centre manager doesn’t care about NLP tools and machine learning-driven automated data collection solutions. They care about cutting out frustrating, repetitive tasks so their agents can get more valuable work done, so to actually engage this type of person, construct a story that cuts to the heart of this desire. How can you help them achieve it?
To humanise B2B copy, try to focus on benefits over features, explaining how your product or service – whatever to is you’re trying to sell – helps people. Introduce emotions, cut out the jargon, and don’t be afraid to make it funny. We all love to laugh, and that includes C-suite big cheeses at Fortune 500s. Less ‘IT solutions’, more human emotions.