One of the most important elements of successful B2B brands is messaging. According to Harvard Business Review, 64 percent of buyers cite shared values as the main reason they choose to have a relationship with a brand. And strong messaging makes those values clear.
Like any good relationship, your messaging needs ongoing nurturing and care to maintain its health and vigor. If the messaging your content is pulling from was written more than two years ago it’s time to take it off the shelf, dust it off, and breathe some new life into it. Many B2B SaaS and tech companies build this process into an annual brand review. Particularly agile B2B startups, especially those working within disrupted industries, have been known to review their messaging as often as quarterly.
Whether that messaging ultimately finds its way into web pages, white papers, and keynote presentations, or email campaigns, blog posts, and videos, it needs to always feel fresh, relevant, and on-brand for your customers, prospects, and leads. Here are some signs it’s time for a refresh.
1: Your messaging is falling flat
If you’re seeing a steep decline, or a flattening off, of white paper downloads, social media engagement, and webinar sign ups, stale messaging could be to blame. While it’s well known that repetition is the key to getting a message to stick—whether you follow Dr. Jeffrey Lant’s Rule of Seven (1987), Herbert E. Krugman’s Rule of Three (1972), Thomas Smith’s Rule of 20 (1885), or some other effective frequency range—there is a point where overused messaging can turn monotonous and people tune out.
Sometimes it turns out the messaging never really resonated at all. If your target audience moves past curiosity about your message to recognition, and then continues moving right along without you, it may be time to explore a different approach. Consider A/B testing and surveying your existing customers for their feedback. Experiment until you find what works and scale out from there.
Examples of customer questions that can help inform a messaging refresh:
- What images come to mind when you think of our brand?
- What emotions does our messaging invoke?
- What are some of the values our messaging conveys to you?
- How would you describe our brand to a boss or client?
- What are your biggest challenges or pain points?
- Why did you choose us over the competition?
- What’s your favorite brand?
- Does our messaging resonate with you?
- Is there any other feedback you’d like to offer?
2: Your industry is being disrupted
From telecommunications, transportation, and manufacturing to healthcare, media, and retail, every major industry is undergoing transformational changes during the Fourth Industrial Revolution. With those changes also comes tremendous opportunity for innovation, collaboration, and a better tomorrow. Is that reflected in your messaging?
Joseph Campbell wrote that throughout history there are two things that unite people during times of tremendous change: terror and aspiration. In other words, fear of change versus a hopeful vision for the future. Cognitive psychology describes fear as invoking the Negative Emotional Attractor, which shuts down people’s receptiveness to hearing new ideas and B2B messages as they revert to an emotionally defensive mode for self-protection. Comparatively, engaging the Positive Emotional Attractor relaxes people’s defenses and opens them up to receiving new information and seeing new paths forward. Consider what emotions your brand messaging and tone are triggering.
Example: Triggering the Negative Emotional Attractor
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Reframing to invoke the Positive Emotional Attractor
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Research shows that if you want to awaken receptiveness to the vision contained in your messaging then reframing in a way that invokes the Positive Emotional Attractor is the surest way to do it. Brands that instead opt for messaging rooted in negativity will ultimately drive customers away.
3: Your ideal customer is changing
Perhaps you wrote your messaging during the 3G era and your customers are now operating in a 5G world. Or, you’re now marketing your product or service to a new type of customer. In either case, it’s time to reevaluate your ideal customer profile and buyer personas to help inform, update, and potentially expand your messaging.
Ideal customer profile
An ideal customer profile helps identify the accounts you want to attract, engage, convert, retain, and grow. It can be based on either historical data on your best customers or where the company wants to go (for example, if your business is early-stage or entering new markets). An ICP often includes things like industry, employee headcount, revenue, geography, technology in use, maturity stage, annual budget, and buying triggers.
Buyer personas are profiles of the people who will make or influence the decision to purchase your products or services. They are often based on real-life contacts at a company’s existing accounts and are informed by both research and interviews with Sales and customers. These profiles include demographic traits, such as job title, age range, and education level, as well as day-in-the-life examples, behavioral patterns, goals, motivators, challenges, pain points, and objections.
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Turn your messaging refresh into new opportunities
Building a relevant messaging framework, tapping into positive emotions, and taking the time to truly understand the challenges and desires of your ideal customers will help you create more meaningful connections with buyers. PMG partners with tech and SaaS marketing organizations to drive business value through high-impact content and digital marketing programs—helping companies define their strategies, deliver on their objectives, and smash their KPIs. Contact us today for a free 20-minute consultation.