Copywriting

Why I hate the '2' in 'B2B'.

The term ‘B2B’ has got to go. But what can possibly replace it? And who is to blame for it? Turns out, it’s me.

We’re looking for a writer

Writing is at the very heart of Velocity. Now we need a strong B2B copywriter to help us do great things.

The problem/solution structure in B2B content marketing

When it comes to structuring a B2B marketing argument, it’s hard to beat the good old ‘Problem/Solution’ structure. It’s stood the test of time for some very good reasons: It gets the target audience nodding in agreement – if they recognise the problem you’re describing, they’re much more likely to lean forward and give you [...]

Friday post: B2B AWESOME!!!

This is a Friday Velocity post. That means all bets are off, and this is totally NSFW. But fuck it. I think it’ll m

B2B content marketing: when target audiences clash

Marketers are instinctively inclusive. Our default is to set our crop-sprayer on the widest possible setting, covering the largest possible audience for everything we do. But content marketing is different. The best content marketing tends to be narrowly targeted, focusing on a very specific audience. That’s how we maximise relevance, earn downloads and reward engagement. [...]

Why you should give away the very thing you sell

As content marketing gains momentum, we find that we’re not having to work quite as hard explaining the principles to prospective clients. But one objection does keep popping up that we thought would have died off by now: “Why should we give content away that tells people exactly how to do what we do? Won’t [...]

Are you the bore in the corner?

When he was working for a big B2B company, Andrew Walker did a brave thing. He audited every piece of communication that his company put out, with a cold, clear eye. And the result was, in Andrew’s words, “overwhelmingly bad. Every page on our website, every article we’d written, every e-newsletter, every piece of collateral [...]

What B2B marketers can learn from Viagra Spam

Viagra spammers have a tough challenge. They know that if they can get their message to a few billion people, a few thousand morons will place an order. But they also know that spam filters all over the world are set specifically to prevent them from doing so. One of the toughest hurdles: the email [...]

How to inject urgency into your B2B marketing

We talk a lot about the Battle for Attention in B2B and about Buyer Attention Deficit Disorder and the relentless Mississippi of info-dreck that gushes through us all every hour of every day and about how the best-laid campaigns of the humble B2B marketer doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance in Haiti anymore. But we haven’t [...]

Five things I’ve learned in B2B marketing

Well, I’m moving on to work for Thomson Reuters (the siren call of being able to walk to work proved to be too strong to resist), and I thought I’d get all reflective and try to sum up some of the (many) things I’ve learned at Velocity.

Copywriting: the unsung hero of B2B

We bang on a lot about the importance of copywriting in B2B but we don’t often see good data to support our case. I found some while listening to an excellent webcast by Joe Pulizzi of Junta 42 and Jeff Ogden of Find New Customers (Jeff is a passionate pipeline marketer you might want to [...]

Sex, Lies, and Advertising

Back in the 19th Century, you could make all kinds of wild claims about your Tincture of Gripe Water or Dr Astoundo’s Patented Baldness Liniment. Nobody could sue you if it didn’t do what it said on the tin. That changed in the early 20th Century, which is all to the good. It means marketers have to be more creative when promoting products or services, and not just resort to bare-faced lies.

Ten ways that B2B marketing copy goes wrong

Let’s face it, most B2B copywriting is not very good. There are many reasons, but here are our top ten. Is your latest B2B marketing copy guilty of any of them?

B2B marketing jobs in London

We want your body. And your brain. We’re looking for talented copywriters, designers and project managers, so if you’re looking for a job in B2B marketing, come and talk to us.

How to structure a B2B argument

B2B marketing always comes down to building an argument; telling a story that leads to an inescapable conclusion: ‘You need to buy this, now.’ If your argument isn’t solid, the creativity of Björk and the budget of Nike will not move your business.

The power of beliefs in B2B marketing

Check out this great TED Talk by Simon Sinek on the power of beliefs in marketing. Great leaders and great companies start with beliefs not facts, policies, products or services. People don’t buy WHAT you do they buy WHY you do it.

B2B Copywriting: hitting the sweet spot

There are four kinds of B2B copywriting and they fall into the neat little quadrants formed when two important axes intersect: Clarity and Authenticity. If you can get both in your writing, you’re in the Sweet Spot and wonderful things will begin to happen to you…

B2B summed up in two words: the writing's on the road

B2B is a lot simpler than the gurus would have you believe. After all the e-tomes and blog posts and webinars it really all boils down to two words — and you can see them painted on almost urban street road in the land. When in doubt: look down.

B2B summed up in two words: the writing’s on the road

B2B is a lot simpler than the gurus would have you believe. After all the e-tomes and blog posts and webinars it really all boils down to two words — and you can see them painted on almost urban street road in the land. When in doubt: look down.

The value of story? About 2,776%

We’re always talking about how important a story is in marketing — but now someone has finally proven it with an ingenious experiment. As summarised in a recent DoubleThink post, the experiment (by New York Times columnist Rob Walker) is called Significant Objects and the idea is really simple: Buy cheap things on eBay Give [...]

Nativ gets its mojo on

We’ve been working with a great company called Nativ, who offer a digital video content management and distribution platform and service.

Velocity gets medieval

I have to confess to having no real reason for this, except that it’s spring and I always think of these lines from the General Prologue of The Canterbury Tales whenever it’s April and it’s sunny.

It’s not what you said, it’s the way you said it

The general consensus out there seems to be that French Connection’s new ad campaign is a right royal triumph. If you’ve been living under a stone for the past few months and haven’t seen it, click here to see what I’m on about. This Is The Woman, This Is The Man has a cool, art-housey [...]

The F word in B2B marketing

Is it just me or is typical B2B marketing utterly joyless?  Why is that?  Why do people who are passionate about carp fishing and bicycling and the Beatles become robots when they sit down to tell the world about the thing they do for a living — the thing they spend a THIRD OF THEIR [...]

Marketo’s new Definitive Guide gets some Velocity

We’ve been working with Marketo, the biggest cheese in B2B marketing automation, to design and sub-edit their new eBook ‘The Definitive Guide to B2B Social Media’. It’s the latest in the series of Definitive Guides (you can read the first one on Lead Nurturing here).

The Cliché and The Copywriter

Trawling LinkedIn as is my wont, I came across this website which was thoughtfully shared with the world by Reuben Webb:

http://www.101cliches.com/view-the-101

Oh how I sniggered.

Read this or the world will end

So Gesu was wondering aloud the other day whether negative or positive headlines are more effective. By negative and positive we mean, respectively, the ones that say things like: ‘Ten things you’re doing wrong in your life’ or ‘How to be even more lovely than you are already’. They both boil down to the same thing: fear.

You can have it done right, cheap, or quick. Pick two

Fortunately, it’s very rare that we ever get a client who doesn’t understand that you can’t have all three at once. Yet it’s still something that a lot of agencies come up against. But perhaps these problems wouldn’t arise if we marketers explained ourselves properly.

You say tomato… copywriting for international audiences

We have a lot of international clients. Most of them are European or American, but occasionally they’re based further afield. This generates an interesting issue: how do you accommodate international English speakers in your copy?

Let us march!

My favourite quote from Ogilvy On Advertising is, “When Aeshines spoke, they said, ‘How well he speaks’. When Demosthenes spoke, they said, ‘Let us march!’”

Diary of a Tweet: Clarity vs Twitterjunk

The birth of every every new communications medium is followed by a period during which the underlying technology actually cramps the communication it’s supposed to be enabling.  When it comes to Twitter, we’re all in the middle of this period – Gartner would probably call it the Trough of Technobabble – right now. A Twitter [...]

16 ways to alienate a B2B buyer

Most B2B marketing doesn’t just fail – it actively repels the people it’s trying to attract. In other words, most B2B marketing would deliver better results if it didn’t exist at all. When I buy things for Velocity, I’m a B2B buyer. Here’s the best ways to alienate me…

You can’t have a conversation when you use a megaphone

Most B2B marketing organisations are set up for interruption-based, broadcast style communications and this traditional approach to marketing consumes 80-90% of the budget. This is strange in a world where there’s been a dramatic shift from megaphone marketing to listening and engaging in conversations. There’s need for a new type of marketing professional called a content strategist. Do you agree?

Brevity is the soul of traffic safety

A friend sent this photo of a Velocity-related traffic sign. I’d like to say we couldn’t have said it better ourselves, but if that were true, we’d be out of business…

The white paper is dead…or is it?

I presented a webinar the other day where I stated that while white papers are still the staple of content marketing, they’re getting really stale as a communications vehicle for B2B. A few people were so incensed they contacted me to say I was talking nonsense. So click here to find out whether they changed my mind…

Why we steal from our clients.

In the marketing world, agencies are supposed to be the ‘creative’ ones and clients are supposed to be the dullards who are grateful for a fresh source of ideas. In our experience, that’s just not how it works…

How strong is your B2B positioning?

Positioning is one of the essentials of B2B marketing but we don’t see a lot of companies getting it right. It’s a simple idea: as a marketer, you should explicitly manage the place your brand holds in the minds of your target audience so that it’s clearly differentiated from the competition. We use this triple-test to develop strong positioning statements for our clients…

How strong is your B2B positioning?

Positioning is one of the essentials of B2B marketing but we don’t see a lot of companies getting it right. It’s a simple idea: as a marketer, you should explicitly manage the place your brand holds in the minds of your target audience so that it’s clearly differentiated from the competition. We use this triple-test to develop strong positioning statements for our clients…

The Disruptive Idea: that’s what it’s all about

Disruptive ideas are not the only way to build a successful business. Sometimes just doing lots of little things better than the other guys is enough. But a disruptive idea is probably the single most powerful weapon in the marketing arsenal. And most marketers spend far too little time generating them.

Digital Velocity in eight tweets: accelerate your online engagement

B2B marketing has become almost synonymous with digital marketing. If you’re not getting your story out on the web, you’re probably not getting your story out at all. Now, as social media beds down and Twitter takes off, we thought it would be a good time to summarise all the things we do to help our clients engage with their audiences online.

7 tips for writing number-based headlines

Recent research from Spurious has proven that every piece of thought leadership content in the world now has to have a number in the headline or it just won’t get read.  We never let a bandwagon go unjumped-upon, so here’s the Velocity handy guide to writing headlines with numbers in them: 1) Make sure you [...]

New mobile marketing eBook for small businesses

Velocity Partners, the B2B agency specialising in technology marketing, announced the publication of a new eBook available on mobiThinking.com. The free eBook is called, “Marketing your small business on the mobile Web: the guide to low-cost, high-impact mobile marketing” and is available to all mobile marketers on the mobiThinking.com website. “The major brands are getting [...]

17 Strategies to Killer Ads

I stumbled across a great blog today that attempted to categorise advertising strategies. Based on an analysis of The Advertising Concept Book by Pete Barry, it’s a really useful list of advertising approaches that underscores that it’s the quality of the original idea and the associated strategic thinking that really make great campaigns.

Who needs editors?

Google has dis-intermediated the content business. You don’t have to hire a PR agency to kiss the arses of the editors any more. You just have to generate content that people really want to read and then make sure it’s findable by doing all those optimisation tricks and tactics of the digirati: SEO, PPC, social [...]

Digital PR: Shut up and listen

A good interview on ScobleizerTV with Joshua Reynolds who oversees Hill and Knowlton’s global technology practice. Traditional PR firms get a lot of stick lately about being slow to pick up on digital, but this guy seems pretty switched on.

Slugwatch: the power of content marketing

We were just having a really thought-provoking conversation about content marketing with Andrew Findlater and Hooman Bassirian from Reed Business and they told us about Slugwatch, a service for UK farmers from Bayer Crop Science. It does what it says on the tin: helps farmers monitor slug infestations by mapping slug activity.  It’s the polar [...]

The perfect direct mail list: just 23 companies

Ray Kessler needed to sell his vanity number plate fast. How did he generate a list of just 23 companies with a good chance of being interested? I know because I was one of them…

Drop-down positioning at the Royal Opera House

Check out this very funny drop-down menu from a Royal Opera House web form. Did the ROH construct this delightful list of titles to avoid annoying its Earls, Dukes, Barons, Sultans and Rabbis (they must HATE having to choose Mr) or is this just a clever bit of subliminal positioning?

Opt-Out: Digital Marketing’s punch in the stomach

Marketing used to be all about the upside. You fired off a message; some people responded; others didn’t. Net gain. In the digital world, there’s a downside that’s as painful as any upside: the dreaded Opt-Out. Here are some ideas for dealing with it…

Velocity December Newsletter: Tech-speak, feature-talk or benefit babble?

We see this one all the time. A tech company that’s great at describing its technology but not so great at making the story compelling to prospects. Or a company that waves a big, bold benefit flag – that nobody pays any attention to.When we see marketing problems like these, we reach for one of [...]

Customer Value Propositions in B2B Markets

Andrew Findlater from Reed Business Information recently turned us on to an excellent article in the Harvard Business Review (back in 2006 but still daisy-fresh):

Its called Customer Value Propositions in Business Markets and it makes a compelling case for what the authors call “Resonating Focus”…

New eBook: Best & Worst of the Mobile Web

mobiThinking.com, the resource for mobile marketers, and Velocity Partners, the B2B marketing agency, today announced the launch of a new eBook: The Best & Worst of the Mobile Web.

Credit Crunch B2B Marketing: Demand Generation, Lead Nurturing and Online PR

The CEO is stalking the corridors, blood dripping from his Budget Axe — and he’s on his way to the marketing department. How will you defend your marketing plan? At Velocity, we’re deeply into two powerful new weapons that are not only incredibly effective, they’re virtually Crunch-Proof™…

Evel Knievel, corporate positioning & corporate message development

Engineers take the leap from tech features to Big Business Benefits like Evel Knievel approached the Snake River Canyon: they fall down. Our Hierarchy of Benefits gives you a better way to do corporate positioning and corporate message development. It provides a practical solution: the Bridge (or, for the Tarzan in all of us: the Vine).

Your new content may not be as relevant as your old

All the best B2B tech marketers are mini-publishing houses — they never stop cranking out thought-provoking content on the issues their target market cares most about. But even the best thought leaders often follow a simplistic content promotion strategy that completely ignores the idea of a sales cycle. Basically, they pump out some new content, promote it, and repeat. What they’re doing is burying the best under the newest…

A really good newsletter

We know we ‘big up’ Pär Almqvist, the Marketing Dude at VNL, quite a bit. But we thought you’d like to see what we consider a really, really good eNewsletter that Pär briefed in and designed (we wrote it for him).

Microsoft’s baffling “I’m a PC” campaign

Apple got a lot of attention with its “PC vs Mac” commericals. They were simple, funny, well-scripted and seemed to capture the essence of what Mac people love about their Macs. Clearly, they got under Microsoft’s skin, because the crack Seattle Rapid Response team has leapt into action (what, three years later?) with an expensive riposte: the “I’m a PC” campaign. The result is wrong in so many ways, I can’t summarise them all in a blog post.

Branding as body language

A friend of ours who also happens to be a God of Branding sent us an article he wrote ten years ago but could have been written yesterday. He’s Axel Chaldecott, co-founder of HHCL, now the top creative on the global HSBC account at JWT. The article’s central metaphor is that a company’s visual identity is its body language…

I beg you: don’t bore the bejesus out of me

Marketing is communication. B2B marketing is bad communication.
That’s how your audience thinks about everything you put out.
Their expectations couldn’t be lower. They’ve waded through thousands of case studies and brochures and web pages from people just like you and IT’S NOT FUN.

Playing in the creative sandbox

Despite living in a ‘creative’ world, most agencies are pretty linear. They take the brief, then they do the creative. Velocity is a bit different. When we do consulting engagements, we do a creative firestorm as part of the engagement, before any specific brief is on the table. Lots and lots of rough concepts — headlines, images, copy, straplines. Here’s why…

Buff Your Pitch Up. Google Suggest & B2B Content Marketing

Often we marketers are our own worst enemy when it comes to marketing ‘ideas’. In my time I’ve had the pleasure of conceiving some truly dreadful ‘opinion’ pieces in the name of trying to grab people’s attention. The fault usually lies in believing our own hype. Here’s some Google-inspired ideas on how to avoid falling into the trap…

The C word: the importance of confidence in B2B marketing

A great website. Lots of white papers and thought leadership content. Case studies and customer testimonials. Great campaigns and creative. Awards, editorial coverage and analyst attention. They’re all important to every B2B marketer. But there’s a factor that cuts across all of these and is probably more important than any of them: confidence.

Marketers everywhere – get a little mobiThinking

…check out mobiThinking.com, which was launched today to help the world’s marketing community to better understand the opportunities and challenges presented by mobile marketing. (Note: it’s web marketing Jim, but not as you know it.)

New Velocity B2B Marketing Newsletter Available!

The latest edition of our semi-regular newsletter update is now available. It’s packed with goodness inside, including our star new white pager, Marketing, Meet Sales, which offers eleven ways to make your marketing activity really drive new sales…

The Velocity B2B Social Media & Web Engagement Mind Map

This Mind Map gives you everything you need to do web / social media engagement by yourself. It’s easy. Just pin it on your wall and – once you’ve published a great piece of content to your site – follow the map clockwise and post it to the relevant destinations…

B2B lead generation with thought leadership content: ditch the web-to-lead forms and win

For B2B web sites, the content that really matters in terms of positioning and prospecting isn’t your ‘markitecture’ pages – your product and services descriptions, corporate histories and such…. it’s your ‘thought leadership’ pages – the places where you express opinions and ideas rather than features and benefits. Here’s why…

Velocity at Pecha-Kucha night

Intrepid Velocipedes Doug Kessler and Stuart Rothwell attended the first ever D&AD Pecha-Kucha night last night. Nine creative supremos (mostly digital marketers), each delivering their first Pecha-Kucha presentation to a packed house of 400-ish trendy digirati…

The power of “You”: the 2nd person singular in B2B copywriting

Most B2B technology copywriting is so boring because its so neutral. The best copywriting looks the prospect squarely in the eye and says, “I’m going to sell to you and you’re going to enjoy it.” Part of this is the 2nd person singular voice. I’m talking to YOU…

Big Eat: Pay-per-click as haiku

In literature, there are novels, short stories, poems and — the ultimate distillation of emotion and idea — haiku. Three lines. Seventeen syllables. In marketing, there are white papers, brochures, data sheets and… the pay-per-click ad.

What's the freakin' (Power)point!!??

What’s the point of Powerpoint? A crutch to help you through an uncomfortable challenge (public speaking)? A useful visual aid to convey stories? A pain in the butt, killed to death, hackneyed, eyesore, head-f**k for boring people to death?

What’s the freakin’ (Power)point!!??

What’s the point of Powerpoint? A crutch to help you through an uncomfortable challenge (public speaking)? A useful visual aid to convey stories? A pain in the butt, killed to death, hackneyed, eyesore, head-f**k for boring people to death?