What’s Wrong (B2B)?

Posted By on May 4, 2010 | 0 comments

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Back-to-back and belly-to-belly.

It seems that many B2B copywriters think that because they’re writing about a company that serves other companies instead of serving consumers, they should write like for a non-human audience.

But think about it. All of the decision makers in large companies are mostly human. That means they’re driven by the same fears and desires of others of their species (that would be us).

I found this bon-mot recently:

[Company X] helps enterprises manage multi-enterprise data integration. Combined with the [Company X] data integration and data quality platform, these products support the expanding diversity of B2B data with structured and unstructured data transformation as well as complete data and process visibility.”

The funny thing is that humans are still much, much better at parsing speech and natural language than computers are (so far). That paragraph above is an atrocity of word-mangling that requires a degree in corporate linguistics to decipher.

Fortunately, I have such a degree and so will commence a rectification.

(As an aside, such a degree is not conferred by a university but requires time as a writer or editor at a major corporation where they write and even speak in this sad manner on an hourly basis.)

The writing in today’s example commits a first-order marketing sin: it does not speak directly to its audience. It vaguely states that it helps enterprises.

This may surprise you but people who work in enterprises aren’t really looking to have you help the enterprise. They want you to make their lives easier.

Having had clients in the data interchange business, I know this is multi-million-dollar software system that Company X is trying to sell with the copy above. It’s copy that is trying to sound smart but sounds very cold instead.

Why not talk to the client, maybe like this?

You think your world is complicated now? Wait until you get a look at the data flowing into your system from your overseas suppliers. Don’t wait until bad data starts creating problems. Integration Manager creates a common data language on both ends of the supply chain.”

Speaks directly to the customer about his or her pain. Offers a solution.

All done in simple English that the C-Suite readers of the copy don’t have to use their dictionary to parse.

What’s the worst example of unreadable prose you’ve encountered on the web or in your work?

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