Discover more from Comms All Ye Faithful w/ John Forberger
You Decide: Stand Out With Strategy or Lose in Feature Wars
Forget milk 🥛. Got strategy?
You have asked for more strategic comms advice and less B2B PR guidance, so I’ll adjust the content and rename B2B PR Now. The timing is perfect. After seeing B2B tech companies hit the same walls again and again when it comes to connecting with audiences, I overhauled our collective’s offering in 2022. I had to hop off the tactical hamster wheel and offer transformative strategies for B2B marketing bliss. More on that later.
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I’ve been tapped many times to plan or execute PR programs for B2B tech companies. One of the first things I ask for is their brand playbook. I’ve learned after doing this for years and speaking with hundreds of companies, most B2B tech businesses see themselves largely as a company, not as a brand.
Today, converting tech companies into standout brands is required because B2B buyers are:
Inundated with options 😕
Hearing inconsistent stories 🤦♀️
Unable to tell solution providers apart 😒
While I don’t think it’s necessary to invest in $150k brand books like consumer brands do, I do think it’s crucial to lay the foundations to inform all marketing, comms, and PR efforts. How can a PR firm act strategically if a client doesn’t know which events customers attend?
By skipping all this and going right to selling—I’m looking at you SaaS founders and investors—it’s no surprise that copycat marketing is particularly prevalent in B2B marketing.
What’s Going On?
B2B prospective customers see:
Similar content 😔
Similar messaging 🤦♀️
Ads that look the same 😕
Sites that look the same 😕
Reports that look the same 😒
Trade show booths that look the same 😵💫
Recently I posted here that I’ll be focusing more on strategic communications and go-to-market planning for B2B companies, while still providing PR services.
One reason why is too many times I have been asked to “PR stuff” without messaging, positioning, an understanding of target audiences, or a narrative. And I'm not the only one who rarely sees these core elements that every B2B marketing team should give to partners so they can succeed.
Here’s a peek into my approach to fixing all this:
𝐏𝐨𝐬𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠: this illuminates category whitespace, creates distinction, and helps brands stand out, ultimately increasing brand awareness/consideration
𝐓𝐚𝐫𝐠𝐞𝐭 𝐏𝐥𝐚𝐲𝐛𝐨𝐨𝐤: whom to get in front of, what needs to be said and what they’ll care about, how to reach them, and how to convert them
𝐌𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐚𝐠𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐒𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐠𝐲: brand and product hierarchies, clear benefits, value propositions, where/when to use specific messages
𝐂𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐬 𝐏𝐥𝐚𝐧: it’s likely there are multiple goals that need to be achieved. A comms plan maps the strategic initiatives, narrative, tactics, resources required, and KPIs. This tangible, replicable framework can be used every time a product/solution goes to market or relaunches
𝐓𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐥 𝐁𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐟𝐬: with newly developed positioning, target and messaging strategy, I brief execution partners (i.e. copywriters, asset creators) or sculpt a comms/PR strategic program, if needed
The time has come for B2B tech companies to step up their communications efforts—or face the reality that they will always engage in product or feature wars.
🏆 Here are leaders I recommend you check out:
Matt Bahr, founder of Fairing (survey tool for DTC brands)
Chris Butler, Sr. Creative Producer at Uber (not Lyft)
At a B2B tech company and want to make your messages hit home, or want an extra pair of eyes on a GTM Plan? Just reply to this newsletter and we’ll talk. I love this stuff!