‘Looking Big’ is NOT an Effective B2B Marketing Message


“We don’t want to sound small”

“We want our prospects to think we are larger than we really are”

It’s not rare to see B2B companies sucked into the distorted reality that they must market themselves as a larger company in an attempt to woo their prospect base. The traditional logic is that if you are selling to larger companies, you should act larger in an effort to appeal to them.

B2B marketing is not a boxing match where fighters fall into weight classes. Imagine if companies over $1 Billion in revenue could only do business with other companies with $1 Billion+ in revenue. The economy would come to a standstill. There is an inherent disconnect in trying to be large – especially when you are not a large company. Aside from stretching the truth, you are self-inflicting damage to your brand by watering down your message and the real value you bring to the table.

Why B2B Buyers Buy

The majority of prospects buy products and services because you can address their pain more effectively than any alternative offering in the market. In very few cases do companies buy from the biggest elephant in the market only because they are the largest. I acknowledge that the belief of “No one gets fired for going with IBM,” does exist in small corporate circles, but this is hardly an obstacle for the small B2B seller.  Your first obstacle should be to master their pains, and articulate how you solve them with real meaning. Big, bland, buzzwordy talk doesn’t make it easier for your audience easily get to know you and what you’re good at.

You being “small” is not a pain point for them.

Think of the classic cliché “Jack of all trades, master of none.” This saying holds true in your marketing messages. In the first few minutes of clicking through your website, your prospects will position you in the marketplace. If you’ve broadened your message you’ve lost the qualities that make you unique. Those prospects already know about the “big guys” in your competitive space, and likely know what those guys can provide.

Being different, being unique, will always set you apart. B2B decision makers want to buy the product or service that addresses their specific need. They might need to choose the best quality provider of inbound customer service solutions, or find the IT service firm with the most expertise in mobile application.

B2B Buyers are Humans Too

Just like when you tell your kids or employees, “Be yourself, and people will like you.” The same should hold true in your B2B marketing message. RFPs, RFIs, and SOWs are all part of selling to large companies. No matter how beaucratic the buying process is, humans (even B2B decision makers) are emotional beings and are typically swayed into a decisions based on what they are feeling.

One client of ours in the Contact Center space has successfully created videos and technology portals filled with content in addition to completing RFPs. They go over and beyond the expectations to appeal to their corporate buyers on a human-to-human level. They want their buyer to know that their culture drives agent performance, and they create messages and content to draw on this distinction. Embrace your value, and talk to your audience with realness. After all, your buyers are human too.

Start by Simplifying Your Message

Getting your marketing message right can be a pain-staking task, depending on your approach. It’s easy to get bogged down with words that you use and trying to include all of the benefits and features of your product or service. Some companies hire consultants that work on marketing strategy for months, only to help craft a positioning statement or an elevator pitch that sounds a lot like it did before the consultant was ever hired (for a quick synopsis on what is and what is NOT a position statement, go here).
Start with the basics to build the messaging foundation.

  • Who are your buyer personas? List out 3 characteristics of each.
  • What pains do your buyer personas have? List out 3 pains for each.
  • What are the benefits of your product or service? List out 3 benefits for each.
  • Why are you unique? List out 3 unique points.

With your lists in hand, write one marketing message at a time, include one characteristic from the buyer persona bucket, jot down the pain (addressed by your offering), list one benefit, and identify one unique selling point. Try to keep out buzzwords and lofty lingo out of your message, it’s not real-sounding and buyers are turned off by it.

When armed with a few foundational marketing messages, you can align the rest of your marketing activities – content marketing, social media marketing, and SEO – around these cornerstones.

Remember, big is not always better. If you are still struggling with your message, get in touch with us, we’d love to help you stand out from the crowd.

Photo Credit: get directly down