B2B Content Marketing – Want Lead Generation? Avoid Jargon!
September 2012

Being a digital agency specialized in providing content marketing, web design and app development services to B2B companies, we often find ourselves brainstorming with members marketing departments on how to improve organizations’ web presence to optimize lead generation

B2B content marketing is about establishing credibility

B2B content marketing is about establishing credibility and authority for your brand. Once people trust you, they’re happy to work with you.

In laymen’s terms, for lead generation to be effective your target audience needs to first understand that you’re a reliable and expert provider. Assuming you’re great at what they do, your website and online marketing should ensure everyone in your target market knows it!

A B2B marketing assessment = Step 1

When we first visit clients we normally run a B2B marketing assessment to understand how the team finds and converts prospects and leads.

As with every search for information the conversation inevitably revolves to Google and search. The important question to ask is what are the searches a likely prospect will be making?

In other words, if a potential client were to search for the type of services your company offers, what key words or phrases would they use?

Marketing teams have no problem coming up with 5-10 likely terms describing what they do and what services they offer, but without fail we always encounter the same issue that prevents customers from ever entering the lead generation funnel:

The curse of knowledge

One of the biggest issues facing companies and marketing teams have when they think about search key-phrases their potential customers will be using is that they believe the customers have the same level of expertise as they do.

This cognitive bias is known as the curse of knowledge and you can learn more about it in the preso below but the reality is very different.

Going beyond jargon

The truth is customers at the earliest stages of the conversion funnel are only beginning to develop an awareness of your offering. At this phase they obviously won’t have the same level of expertise as you do about your products and services – Why would they? They’re explicitly looking for an expert’s solutions!

As a result they’re highly unlikely to be familiar with the correct naming and technical jargon related to your area of expertise. They’ll be using a completely different language to the one you use around the office.

The curse of knowledge is known to get worse when a company’s area of business is highly specialized – a situation that is increasingly the norm for B2B operators.

The question then becomes – How can the jargon paradigm be resolved?

The answer is simple – Ask yourself:

Is this language our customers use?

Without fail this question gets the team thinking more holistically, and challenges marketing stakeholders to come up with key words and phrases that customer unfamiliar with the company’s area of operations might use.

Acronyms and technical terms are replaced with questions – E.g. instead of searching for “industry 4.0”, a customer would search for “How do we introduce automation into our factory”; or instead of using the acronym “Solar PPA”, a customer might search for “Solar power for industry’, etc.

For B2B lead generation success – keep content marketing simple

The takeaways from this content marketing exercise are:

  1. Recognize that you’re biased – By virtue of being an expert you’re inevitably a victim of the curse of knowledge, what is obvious to you is far from obvious to others.
  2. Think from your customer’s perspective – Using the same language as your customers not only helps with the technical aspects of search, but also helps builds trust.
  3. Keep language simple and understandable – People have low attention spans and B2B operators are dealing with enough cognitive depletion as is. Simple and succinct communication is good marketing
  4. Avoid jargon – You don’t enjoy it when others use it in their field of expertise so why would you believe others appreciate it when you do?

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