From The Editor | December 7, 2022

Are Your Customers Everywhere In Your Marketing Content?


By Perry Rearick, Chief Editor, Follow Your Buyer


Chevy introduced their 2023 electric vehicle (EV) fleet in September, a traditional time when automakers unveil their new models. The timing of the campaign, done by ad agency Commonwealth//McCann, isn’t unusual, but it is a great ad that offers a lesson in customer-centric messaging.

If you’ve seen the ad, you may have gotten the song that plays throughout stuck in your head. It’s the kind of tune that stays with you for days and you will find yourself humming it. It is a Fleetwood Mac classic written by Christine McVie, who also sang lead vocals. When the ad was aired, the song returned to the charts 36 years after it was first released. Sadly, Christine recently passed away. She was a wonderful talent, she gifted us with incredible songs, and her music lives on.

Where’s the lesson?

Automakers advertise a lot, and they are known for using memorable music, visuals, and clever taglines. Chevy could have lined-up their fleet of EVs, popped the hoods, and had one of their development engineers describe their technology in great detail. And that may have appealed to some.

However, rather than focusing on the product, they centered on the customer. They feature a spectrum of people setting out for an adventure in their EVs. Families, friends, young and old, fans headed to a sporting event, besties going hiking, and a crew of dudes with a truckload of fresh vegetables are all included. They all begin singing, sometimes not so well, to the song titled “Everywhere”.

With this ad, Chevy and Commonwealth//McCann focused on telling the story of the Chevy EV owner having fun with their friends and families in their automobile. And we’re left thinking how much more enjoyable and better our lives could be as we go on a sing-a-long adventure in our new Chevy.

And it is effective! If you clicked on the commercial above, you may have watched it more than once, and the song “Everywhere” is probably still in your head.

Customer-Centered B2B Messaging

There are many benefits to including one’s customer in advertising and marketing content, making your story their story the way Chevy did. For B2B content marketing, I’ll offer two significant benefits.

The first is that when leading with a customer reference, you draw the attention of your prospect. Your prospects are getting pummeled with marketing collateral all day, every day. They will determine whether to engage with your content in a matter of seconds. That’s how much time you have to capture their attention and they are much more likely to read or view something that they immediately perceive to be about them, rather than you.

The second benefit is that including a customer reference, or capturing a challenging condition they face, accelerates their buyer’s journey. It is especially true for those in the early stages when they are trying to understand the issues they face and think about how to solve problems they have. When done well, messaging that leads with a customer reference places their problem in the same context as you and your solutions. That becomes a giant leap forward in their buyer’s journey and closer to a business relationship with you.  

Turning Features and Benefits into a Customer-Centered Message

This concept of placing your customer at the center of your marketing content is not difficult to grasp, but if it works, why aren’t we doing it more? Producing customer-centered thought leadership articles are more common, case studies should be about the customer but often aren’t, and the most challenging is crafting features and benefits messaging. After all, isn’t the purpose of this messaging to highlight the solution provider’s capabilities?

To illustrate what I mean, here are two simple ways to communicate features, benefits and capabilities using a life sciences example: a provider of process equipment for pharmaceutical manufacturers.

The first is how we often see it communicated.

Our Triple F-XL 2.0 flexible, cGMP, fully isolated, high-speed liquid filling line is capable of filling 20 syringes per minute, from .5 to 3mL.  It is automated, significantly reducing human errors and it can handle all aseptic filling requirements and includes an integrated product inspection system. It can also be customized for vial and cartridge filling. Contact one of our dynamic sales representatives to schedule a demonstration _______.

And here is a second customer-centered approach.

Reduce quality errors, experience the most effortless FDA inspections imaginable, and deliver therapies to the patients who need them faster. Access quality data with the push of a button, reduce waste, and never lose a batch due to cross-contamination. How? Learn more about our newest syringe filling line by contacting us at _______. It’s never been this easy before.    

Speak Buyer Rather Than Seller

The River North District of Denver Colorado, known as RiNo, is an interesting blend of art galleries, food halls in renovated industrial warehouses, concert venues, craft breweries, and some of the most innovative technology start-up companies in the US.

Not long ago I attended a day of presentations from a group of tech start-ups. One of them introduced their session by saying they had become out of touch with their software customers, it was hampering their ability to develop impactful improvements to their products, and sales were flat year-over-year.

They decided to shut-down operations and for two full days they spoke to as many customers as possible. It was an all-hands-on-deck mission from marketing and sales to software developers. Each employee was armed with a list of current customers, their contact information, and a guide to help them glean how their software was being used, what problems it solved, and what functions were annoying or not used at all.

At the end of two days, they compiled and organized the information they gained and used it to develop the next editions of the products and that is what they expected. But they discovered something else even more valuable. The customers had their own ways of describing the software’s functions. Nearly all the customers had abandoned the tech-speak that the marketers used to attract new buyers and adopted a simpler, clearer way to speak about what they did.

So, besides product development, the marketers had a customer-centered body of language with which to use in their messaging. The results were significant, and they doubled their subscribers in a single year.

Can your customer find themselves everywhere, or anywhere, in your B2B marketing content? Leading with and making your customer the main character in your articles, case studies and even features and benefits messaging works to attract them, hold their attention, and help them connect the issues they have with the solutions you offer. And taking the time to learn how they speak about their business, the problems they face, and your solutions will help you communicate more effectively and grow your business.