Because you’re worth it

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Stan Woods

06. 11. 2008 | 3 min read

Because you’re worth it

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Why are so few B2B companies as good at naming things as consumer companies?

We all could learn a lot from beauty companies like L’Oreal, which uses naming to great, if insidious, effect. There can only be a few women of a certain age on the planet, for example, who haven’t heard of Boswelox, Pentapeptides or Nutrillium. (All, I think, purport to firm the skin and make it glow – which is real important of course if you’re Andi McDowell).

Ridiculous as the science  underpinning these products may be (that’s not for me to judge), the bottom line is that product or feature naming in the hugely competitive cosmetics industry really does work.  Millions of women (and, increasingly, similar numbers of men) are persuaded by the pseudo-science to buy pots and pots of gloop, simply because naming like this gives a reason to believe that it can really protect the skin, hair, eyes, lips or whatever from aging.

What does this mean for B2B? Well, pseudo-science is probably not the right route to take, because purchasing in B2B is essentially a completely rational process where scores of technical experts in big purchasing companies evaluate and then re-evaluate vendor claims. But that doesn’t mean B2B marketers shouldn’t put effort into proper, accurate naming.

There are three reasons that spring to mind as to why it’s important.

First,  naming things says they’re unique to you and it’s a good way of identifying the advantages and benefits you deliver to customers, the things that differentiate you from the competition.

Second, clear names make you stand out from the generic descriptions that pollute B2B tech and which are partly responsible for ever more (and incredible) claim inflation..

Finally, if you get naming right, it can make a real difference to SEO performance: particularly if you can capture terms that resonate in the market.

Interestingly we’ve just gone through an intensive process of positioning and messaging for one of our newest clients, Secerno, where naming was central.

Based in Oxford, Secerno has some wonderful, patent-protected technology for creating intelligent perimeters around enterprise databases to prevent unauthorized activities by outside attackers, as well as trusted insiders. (It’s a hot, hot company and if you’re a large enterprise that has vulnerable data, you should check it out at

As with a lot of our clients, the process has led to the creation of a completely new naming architecture covering what the company does, how it does it and the benefits it delivers.

What Secerno has taught us, though, is that while naming things is important, it’s really just the start.

We’re working with a really smart client on this one, the company’s marketing director, Emma Dunstone.  She believes in the new naming and she understands that for it to live and, more importantly, become part of Secerno’s DNA, it’s simply not good enough to have it just written down in brochures and on the website. You have to believe in it. You have to breathe it.

BTW (and as a concluding comment on naming), I recommend e3p skin protection spray from Clarins. You’ll get the benefit of its Magnetic Defence Complex which protects your skin from the ageing effects of Artificial Electromagnetic Waves. Looking at the pictures to the right of this post, I’d say that’s pretty vital.

Published in:

  • b2b-marketing

  • positioning

  • technology-marketing

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  1. StephanieInCA

    November 6th, 2008

    I think a great example of a company that really dropped the ball on marketing to women is VW, with its Brooke Shields “Routan Boom” campaign.

    That the campaign takes a mocking and disdainful tone toward women, and especially mothers, isn’t what’s surprising—lots of ads do that. It’s that they’re doing it in an ad for a MINIVAN. You don’t have to be a marketing genius to know who the prime minivan market is.

    Seriously, watch the ads and tell me you disagree with me: Routan Bust

  2. John

    November 7th, 2008

    sadly tech B2B companies tend to be set up by techies with not a marketeer in sight. so by the time they think marketing is “important’ (btw guys, you’ve been doing “marketing” from day 1, but never mind) they’re stuck with ProcManity Version 6.2.1 ProSMELite Edition (tagline “Because we want you to figure out if its worth it’)

  3. Stan Woods

    November 7th, 2008

    Hey, Stephanie, I agree it’s never a good idea to offend your target audience.

  4. Stan Woods

    November 7th, 2008

    I wish I had a pound (even a dollar) for every time we saw that John.

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