One reason I enjoy marketing writing is that you are always working to make the strongest, most persuasive argument you can to sell your products. Some might see this as crass commercialism, but it is also fun and a challenging intellectual exercise. In the next few posts, I will be surveying nine items normally found in sales guides that can help you do this.
Examples: How I Will Handle Them
For each item, I will provide some sample text in a conservative B2B style, but I will be writing about a hypothetical high-tech management and monitoring “solution” for networked company bathrooms to avoid any conflicts with actual products. As far as I know, no such product exists, and I have done my best to come up with a fictitious name. Since my focus is to show you the types of information that you should be looking for, I won’t be going into much detail.
I guess this is as good a time as any to say a few words about humor in B2B marketing writing. Basically you should avoid it because it is too easy to be offensive to a domestic audience and sound amateurish. An international audience is very likely to be either completely confused or thoroughly insulted. The pleasures of marketing writing lie in finding “le mot juste” (the absolutely right word or phrase for a given situation) and in “riffing” on your product in new and interesting ways.
Back to Reality: Defining the Customer
Sales guides normally begin with a general statement about prospective customers and their problems. You will often find that some of the words in this section reappear in the product descriptions that follow. Reusing the right words without sounding repetitious is a constant challenge.
Here’s the sample text:
Large businesses must provide bathroom facilities for their employees, which require attentive management and constant monitoring.
It is the responsibility of facilities professionals to keep these bathrooms operating at levels set by the business and by government regulation. Facilities personnel must track the status of bathrooms in real-time to make intelligent decisions that keep bathrooms running at peak performance.
Additionally, the facilities staff must be able to analyze how bathroom resources are utilized to deliver services to the employees at multiple locations. This includes being able to identify how to most efficiently support and economically improve the status of these mission-critical operations.
Discussion: Who Is the Prospective Customer? What Is the Problem?
The opening sentence describes the prospective customer and their problems. In the example, the sales prospects are facilities executives and staff at large companies who need to manage and monitor bathroom facilities.
The second and third paragraphs describe the specific people who would use the network management and monitoring product and their needs and problems — basically how to deliver reliable bathroom services efficiently. I have highlighted some jargon words common in the industry. You should use these terms judiciously since they can make your writing sound stale or like hype.