7 ways to improve the signal-to-noise ratio in B2B marketing

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Doug Kessler

22. 01. 2008 | 2 min read

7 ways to improve the signal-to-noise ratio in B2B marketing

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Every marketing communication has two parts:

•    The Signal – your message; the thing you want people to take away
•    The Noise – everything else; the things that distract, delay and get in the way of the signal

Most B2B marketing – especially in technology businesses – is so full of noise, the static drowns out the music.

The idea, obviously, is to drive out the noise and deliver clear, crisp signals.

Here are a few ways to do that:

1) Give yourself less space
The less space you have to deliver your message, the more likely it is that you’ll make the best possible use of the space you have. (You can always spread it out later without adding content).

Bumper stickers have very little noise.  No room for it.

2) Give yourself less time
Don’t spend a few days on that web copy or brochure. Spend a few hours.
It will be better.

3) Boil down mercilessly, then subtract
Take a page or a paragraph that you’ve already reduced to its bare minimum and cut another 30%.  Be ruthless.

4) Kill everything that doesn’t sell
The decoration, the frippery, the content-free photos, needless or unreadable screenshots, bloated captions, rules, boxes, sidebars. Kill them.  The support points, credibility builders, facts, figures, quotes, legitimate exhibits… let them live.

5) Have only one bull’s-eye per target
Decide what you want the audience to do or to think, then focus all of your efforts on this.  Don’t give them three other options or try to do four other things at the same time.  Focus.

6) Clean up your act
Clear communications look simple and inviting.  Nice type, plenty of white space, lots of subheads to break things up.

7) Make like Hemingway
Short sentences, plain language.

I could probably come up with seven more tips but that would defeat the purpose.
More signal, less noise.

Published in:

  • b2b

  • content

  • marketing

  • persuasion

  • selling

  • writing

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  1. Bob Leonard

    January 23rd, 2008

    Thanks, Doug.

    I have a meeting with a tech client this week and I’ve been struggling with how to tell him that his collateral sucks. He wrote it, so I have to be diplomatic. The existing copy won’t be read by anyone. Too dense. Too difficult to understand. I’m printing out your blog entry to help me explain to him why it all needs to be reworked.

    Thanks again.

  2. Doug Kessler

    January 23rd, 2008

    Thanks for your comment, Bob. I hope it helps! Always hard to give an honest opinion to a client when the work is bad. The best hope is that they recognise better when they see it…

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