The Four Most Overused Statements Uttered By B2B Marketers

I have been a B2B marketer and a B2C marketer. I currently focus my efforts on the B2B space, but my innate cynicism sometimes emerges as I hear my colleagues at other companies utter statements to make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.  Maybe it’s the media planner in me.  Maybe it’s just the deep-seated New Yorker in me.  Either way, I thought it would be enjoyable to poke a little fun at ourselves. To that end, here are some of the most overused, chuckle-producing statements you’re used to hearing:

“Have you seen the infographic we created to address that very topic?”

This might be my very favorite.  Infographics started out as a useful tool for telling a story and have devolved into something that can be auto-generated using any number of free Web tools.  An infographic should be a valuable tool to convey a complex message with associated data points so the audience can get what they need and move on.  But now every company under the sun has a ton of infographics on their site, and in some cases you need a Ph.D. to be able to interpret them.  I think we may have achieved infographic overkill.

“We don’t really like to use Powerpoint to tell our story, but let me show you this quick deck we pulled together.”

First of all, everyone says they hate Powerpoint, but 99% of those people use it consistently because it is still one of the best tools they have at their disposal for telling a story.  It's simple, it works, and everyone expects it. Secondly, no one “just pulled together” a deck.  They agonized over it for hours, and probably had three other people provide input.  This happens even for a five-page deck.  We pretend the deck was tossed together as a last-minute effort, but that deck took hundreds of hours to complete.

“Our social media strategy is optimized for maximum impact.”

This is another of my favorites.  Simply put, most companies do have a social media strategy -- which typically consists of a couple of interns reading Twitter and reposting what other people say.  Social media strategy typically refers to busy work, unless you’re willing to spend 50 to 60 hours researching the right way to use it and are willing to invest in the tools required to implement it properly.  Unfortunately for many B2B marketers, this is a luxury they cannot afford, so they default to interns.  The same goes for many large B2C brands that consider social a “necessity” and then treat it as an afterthought, only allocating a smidgeon of their budget after they spend the lion’s share on other efforts.  I can’t say this applies to everyone. Some get it right, but it’s not the majority.

“We really don’t have direct competitors; our offering is very unique and exclusive to us.”

This is my all-time favorite statement from a B2B marketer.  It's such a standard that reporters and even media buyers will attempt to evade it by asking the question, “I know you don’t have any direct competitors -- but who do you typically compete with for budget?”  The fact is that B2B marketers want to take every chance to differentiate themselves from the competition -- but you have to acknowledge your competition and then differentiate from there if you expect your audience to understand what you are saying.  You cannot expect someone to begin their understanding of your brand from a completely new vantage point -- they’re human.  They have to understand new concepts in terms they already understand.  It’s simply how the human brain works.  So next time this questions comes up, acknowledge and then differentiate, and you’ll succeed where you previously may have failed in conveying your benefits.

What are some of your favorites?  What are you tired of hearing B2B marketers say?  Share with us and give me something to chuckle about on the Spin Board!

Tags: b2b
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6 comments about "The Four Most Overused Statements Uttered By B2B Marketers".
  1. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited , January 30, 2013 at 12:01 p.m.
    "I only advertise in the news because everyone reads, listens, watches the news." and "I don't advertise."
  2. Eric Wittlake from Babcock & Jenkins , January 30, 2013 at 4:05 p.m.
    Here is a favorite: "We don't need to advertise" followed by concerns about awareness, pipeline, misunderstanding of their solution, etc. Adding do your infographic comment, this doozy from a B2B publisher landed in my inbox this morning for "Infotisements": So Much More Than an Infographic. Infotisements take marketing programs to a whole new level... Wow. I'm laughing to dull the pain.
  3. Jonathan Hutter from Garrand , January 30, 2013 at 5:15 p.m.
    "We don't need to advertise as much because our products are so good." You don't know the companies that say this, because it turns out no one hears of them. One point I'd disagree with is the "we pulled together this deck." Unfortunately, I find this approach to be true far too often, and it's painfully obvious when people have done this. Also unfortunate, is when people have agonized for hours over a presentation, had other people provide input, and it still looks like "we just pulled this together."
  4. Alan Boyd from Hoik , January 31, 2013 at 3:55 a.m.
    my favourite I heard recently "our success is built on word of mouth...social media will be of no value to us!"
  5. Grant Bergman from SurveyConcierge.com • GrantBergman.com , January 31, 2013 at 4:33 p.m.
    Well stated. On the last point in particular, B2B has a great deal to learn from B2C: there are ALWAYS substitutes (i.e., mostly direct and indirect competitors), if only for share of mind and share of wallet.
  6. Doug Garnett from Atomic Direct , January 31, 2013 at 6:05 p.m.
    Interesting. I don't entirely agree on the competition. The key is to understand what or who you compete with (there are four types of competition). I've created advertising now for several companies now where the single most important competition is for people to do nothing - to not but anything. (Each had direct competition...but that competition wasn't the limit on their market.)