Are you forgetting the ‘Engineers’ in your value-based marketing?

There's a time for values. And there's a time for facts.
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B2B marketing has gone through a paradigm shift in recent years. From mainly focusing on facts, to creating a value-based narrative that convey the company’s purpose and the mark it makes on the world. But have we now forgotten the technical target group’s need for facts rather than feelings?

Marketing has always been about communicating effectively why your product or service is the best answer to the customers’ needs. That goes for B2B as well. If you want to succeed, you need to understand and answer your target audience’s different needs and know how to support the sales process from beginning to end.

At the end of the day, your customers are just people – no matter whether they are buying as consumers or in a professional B2B context – and people are attracted and affected by stories. That’s why value-based marketing has naturally become part of the B2B marketeer’s toolbox in recent years. We are compelled by stories that reach further than just the specific product and instead convey a higher purpose and set of values that the customer can identify with.

However, there is still a need for marketing that can communicate a product’s technical specifications and benefits in certain user scenarios. And the need has only grown after so many companies have thrown themselves into value-based storytelling. It’s creating a communications vacuum for one special stakeholder in any B2B purchase: the ‘Engineer’.

No matter what B2B services or products you sell, you will need to convince the customer’s technical team member, the ‘Engineer’, that your product is right for their business. You probably know them. The people who want to know all about your product’s specifications. The ones the others look to when it’s time to make a decision. When the value-based narrative has played its role and the final decision comes down to one question: “Does the product work?”

Does this mean we should stop with the value-based marketing? Not at all. We simply need to be able to remember the importance of conveying technical details.

Your marketing efforts will never be more effective than the ability of the material to answer the target audience’s exact questions.
Mette Hejl CEO & Partner

Diluted technical communication

It goes without saying that if you want to communicate how great an incredibly complex B2B product is, it takes a certain level of understanding that is typically reserved for the specialized staff member with a technical background. That’s why a whole lot of product-specific, B2B communication ends up lukewarm and ineffective, because the level of detail is insufficient and it only really scratches the technical surface.

Marketeers are, roughly speaking, good at words, shapes, and colours. Not technical details. So, when things get over-technical, there’s a high risk that they will start getting nervous twitches. It’s a shame but understandable.

People would rather work with what they are good at and that’s why too little B2B marketing material contains the information that the technical target audience actually want.

So, how do solve this problem?

Bring out the factual artillery

No matter whether you are part of company with 50 employees located in the countryside or you work for an international organization with thousands of staff members, you are surrounded by people who know all there is to know about your products.

But when was the last time you spoke to any of them? And when did you last validate your marketing material with the people who are in daily contact with the customers and who know what types of questions they have?

Strong and effective marketing relies greatly on intelligent implementation. Your marketing efforts will never be more effective than the ability of the material to answer the target audience’s exact questions. And that sums up the point: successful communication is basically the ability to say the right thing, at the right time, to the right people. And for that to happen, you need to know the needs of your target audience.

That’s why you need to continue developing marketing material that appeals to people’s feelings by using compelling narratives. That enhance what value the product creates so that everyone around the group of decision-makers understands why it is important to invest in the product. It displays expertise and it strengthens your brand position.

And that’s why you should also develop marketing material that matches your individual recipient’s need for information. From the Engineer to the Procurement Manager. Maybe you are already the unofficial world champion in target-audience-centric communication, but if you’re like most of us, there is still room for improvement.

In other words. If you want to create successful B2B marketing, you need to know when to only mention the facts, and when you need to roll out the value-based narrative.

Remind yourself to love the Engineers. They deserve it.