Back2Basics: Digital vs digital
by Mark Eardley. When is digital B2B really critical? And when is it dumber than dumb?
Critical digital: WWW
Website. Website. Website. WWW. That’s the triple-W where the world-wide web is really important in B2B. In B2B, WWW also translates into WHO you are, WHAT you do and WHY you matter to customers.
Who? What? Why? WWW. That’s your website content defined.
Hopefully, you know who you are and what you do and can express that really fast on your site. But are you as crystal-clear about why you matter to customers? Can they see — immediately — how you will contribute to their success? Are they in any way spurred-on to find out more? What do they see that will move them from browsing to buying? Yep, buying, buying, buying.
As a marketer, do you want browsers or do you want purchase orders that produce profitable sales? If all the visitors to your site don’t at the very least see what you will do for their business, then what’s the point of having a website? What’s the point of all those sterile industrial stock-shots and silly-snaps of clean-as-a-pin execs gazing in adoring amazement at something (unknown) on a colleague’s laptop?
Beware WWW: We, We, We
Check out a few high-profile B2B sites and you’ll find them infected with the WE-Disease. The symptoms are immediately apparent. They’re easy to spot and manifest themselves in three very obvious ways.: First, WE do this — in a world-class way. Second, WE do it this way — according to global best-practices. Third, WE deliver — internationally market-leading products and services.
Here’s an example of the WE-Disease taken at random from the home page of a local ICT big-boy: “[XYZ] provides the most advanced Information and Communications technology (ICT) products, services and solutions on the African continent.”
The lower case ‘t’ on technology is how it actually appears. Maybe it really does mean ICt. And stop being a pedant: why do details matter in ICt?
But wait, there’s more…
Wow! The most-advanced services and solutions on the African continent. Gee, Doc, where can I sign up for that? I’m just a moron-customer with a budget. What do I know about ROI, future business demands, total cost of ownership and like-for-like comparisons? I’m just a customer, Doc. Just a simple, lowly customer. Who’s interested in what I need?
The WWW people have a marcoms strategy that’s firmly inserted in the deep shadow behind them. You — the customer — simply don’t matter because WE are so mind-blowingly fantastic. This is us: we are WeWeWe. And you, moron, must kneel before us and prepare to be advanced…
When is digital dumber than dumb?
Fast answer? When you do anything digital that’s based on a website — aka: your digital handshake — that’s infected with the WE-Disease. This is where you start piling dumber on dumb.
www.what-we-do-for-you.com should be an invitation for customers’ to enter a world that proves how your business will advance their business. Disappoint visitors at the gate and they will walk away. And they won’t buy from you. They will then turn their backs on your irrelevant social media content. They will be affronted when you ram your incestuous fabulousness down their throats with smartass infographics, slick videos, and patronising webinars. They’ll go morgue-cold at the supposedly next-big-thing in the form of virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR).
Which is nothing more than you deserve if you determinedly fail to address their concerns.
It’s 2017. Get with it.
It’s 2017. Get with it. Use the astonishing digital tools that are there right now to prove — yes, prove — how you contribute to your customers’ success. Use the tools; provide the proof. Engage whatever digital talent that will demonstrate that proof. Because, unless you do, you’ll watch your business die from a digitally lethal dose of the WE-Disease.
Mark Eardley is the author, together with Charlie Stewart, of Business-to-Business Marketing: A Step-by-Step Guide (Penguin Random House), which offers practical, actionable advice on how to make marketing make money. Both he and Charlie will be speaking at the forthcoming B2B Trade Conference on 18–19 May 2017, Emperor’s Palace Convention Centre, Johannesburg, organised by Vukani Communications. Mark contributes the monthly “Back2Basics” column, covering how B2B companies and their agencies should manage their marketing, to MarkLives.com.