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The Great Broccoli Debate, And What It Teaches Us About B2B Marketing

Maybe you think of B2B PR and marketing as mainly a chance to talk about what you do. However, B2B PR and marketing is becoming as much about educating your audience and staying on top of trends as it is getting the word out about your business. Unlike consumer marketing, it’s a slow courtship with your audience that typically requires a lot of hand holding and explanation. Plus you also need to impress the more technical folks who will be kicking your virtual tires

Maybe you think of B2B PR and marketing as mainly a chance to talk about what you do. However, B2B PR and marketing is becoming as much about educating your audience and staying on top of trends as it is getting the word out about your business.

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Unlike consumer marketing, it’s a slow courtship with your audience that typically requires a lot of hand holding and explanation. Plus you also need to impress the more technical folks who will be kicking your virtual tires

So how do you effectively tell your story without confusing or losing anyone and without distorting your message?

For a recent example of clever marketing applicable to the B2B space, let’s turn to the recent brouhaha over broccoli–that little loved vegetable that has become a potent symbol of the healthcare legislation debate. Because the legislation is complicated and not easy to understand, opponents seized upon the easy-to-grasp issue of eating broccoli. If Congress could require Americans to buy health insurance, could it also force people to buy just about anything including broccoli? Le Affaire Broccoli has been quite succcesful in getting a hearing and penetrating the public imagination.

The Key to Telling Your Story

So how do these examples apply to you? Well, if you have questions about how to start a B2B PR and marketing campaign, there are a few key steps that you need to keep in mind when designing your marketing and PR strategy. The more thought you put into your strategy before you start writing, the more successful you are likely to be in the long run.

Use an analogy that is easy to understand. For example, early computers were often described as brains. That analogy was much easier to explain than the actual circuitry and programming involved.

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Use an analogy people are familiar with. Automobiles didn’t take off until marketers started describing them as horseless carriages. This made it much easier for people to understand what the product was and what it was meant to do.

Don’t forget the customers. Those in the investors’ circle may be familiar with the technical language you are using, the average person who will be buying your product will not. Use descriptions everyone can understand equally well.

Keep the language relevant. In today’s internet-driven media space it’s essential to use keywords to get people to read your information, but once they arrive at your site you need to provide actual content. Only use keywords where they would naturally fall in your discourse.

Keep your information updated. If you start a blog or website about your product/service customers are going to expect new and interesting content. Set up a regular schedule to update and talk about new angles of your of what you’re doing to keep people reading.

If you want people to have specific information regarding your product, you need to lead them to it. B2B PR and marketing revolves around getting your ideas out there so people become more interested in your business and can get accurate, up to date information on what is going on with product development and other business practices. When you take control of your message and make it inherently understandable you help guide both your prospects and the media to articulate what you are doing.

What is your version of broccoli? I’d love to hear how you’ve successfully used analogies to sell your products and services?

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Wendy Marx, B2B PR and Marketing Specialist, Marx Communications

Follow me on Twitter[Image: Flickr user bi_plus_one]

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About the author

Wendy Marx is President of Marx Communications, an award-winning boutique B2B Public Relations agency known for turning companies and executives, including start-ups, into thought leaders. Follow her on Twitter @wendymarx and on Google+ @ plus.google.com/+wendymarx.

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