I learned everything about b2b marketing from infomercials!


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I learned everything I need to know about b2b marketing from watching Infomercial!

OK, so I’m spinning a bit of a lie.  I didn’t learn lead scoring or progressive profiling or email design from infomercials, but in the spirit of catchy subjects, that seemed to work well.  The point is, however, that we can learn a lot of valuable and practical strategy for developing b2b marketing campaigns by paying close attention to the structure, language and flow of an infomercial, particularly the short ones (7-15 minutes).  Forget the late night 30-minute sessions.  I’m talking Sham-Wow, OxiClean and Ginsu Knives.  These 10-15 minute vignettes are constructed with a great deal of planning, purpose and the single minded goal of getting the sales.

Our b2b marketing campaigns can learn a lot from the late great Billy Mays. One of the consistencies you will find in any infomercial is that they are crafted  very much the same way as a typical b2b pitch is crafted.  Whether the pitchmen are selling cleaners, onion choppers or the next great cell phone holder, they are adhere to the a strict format in selling their products

  • Situation
  • Pain 
  • Solution

This simplified version of the popular “Solution Selling” model found in ever b2b company, is carried out with rigorous process and attention to detail in the infomercial.  Each infomercial begins much the same way.  Let’s take the fictional OnionChopper2000 as an example.  The infomercial opens with a frustrated cook attempting to cut raw onions with small knife (situation).  The cook is frustrated, the onion is making their eye’s tear (pain) and the announce clearly states the problems with the current solution to onion chopping.

Enter the OnionChopper2000.  It is the solution to the pain and situation created by the lack of adequate onion chopping tools.  The infomercial dazzles the viewer with the numerous ways one may chop an onion (or pretty much anything in your fridge).  The features/benefits of the OC2000 are clearly stated and the problems each feature solves are directly related to the various pain points established in the situation portion of the infomercial.

Now, as a direct marketer for many years, I watch these shows with professional curiosity. I also respect the producers for creating a natural pain/solution chain in 20 minutes.  This is what every good b2b salesperson should aspire towards.  Beyond being a good lesson for a b2b salesperson, these vignettes also provide a blueprint for how b2b marketers should approach our campaigns.


In breaking down these 3 areas, we can relate how each can and should apply to creating good campaigns that illicit high response and lead conversion for our companies.

Situation:  What is the situation our clients face that causes business (financial) pain?  Let’s take the healthcare space an example.  If you sell to hospitals, you must understand that the “Situation” (not to be confused with the endearing Jersey  Shore character) hospitals face is about money and the ever-changing regulations to reimbursement from both government and insurers.  This “Situation” causes pain for your prospective buyers.  This pain creates need.  The need is for solutions that maximize their reimbursement without sacrificing patient care.

In creating campaigns for this market, you have to build your campaign around this model.   Campaigns must paint the picture of the problem and quickly tie the solution to the pain you provide, caused by the situation.  Simple examples are a white paper outlining best practices for managing claim denials from Medicare.  The situation outlined in the campaign is “Reimbursement Changes Increase Denials”.  The solution is providing a software application that manages claims more effectively by incorporating new regulations.

Too often, marketers fall into a trap that a lot of junior b2b sales persons fall into.  Show up and throw up is a phenomena wherein a salesperson comes to a meeting, throws up a powerpoint and blindly presents all of the great things that their solution can do for the prospect….without asking questions and identifying the situation/pain.

When designing an email campaign or a landing page, for example, how many times have you over-designed the email or the landing page to include a not-so-small subset of everything on your website?  I have seen this time and again in PPC landing pages in particular.  The marketer behaves like a dog chasing a car….when you catch it, you’re so excited you don’t know what to do with it!  The same holds true for a landing page or email….you design because you’re excited someone has actually opened it or clicked on it…and you try to cram tons of extraneous information into it.  Your campaign will suffer because it is not focused on the task at hand. 

It is much more productive to create several micro-campaigns than one big all encompassing one.  Reason being is the conversion rates on the emails, landing pages, direct mail will be much higher when the message is focused on the 3 elements mentioned above.

So, before you hit send on that next campaign…..watch and infomercial first…..and take heed to just how focused the messaging is on those somewhat corny….yet extremely effective advertising vignettes!  And don’t laugh…they’re on TV because they MAKE MONEY.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Kevin Miller
Kevin Miller is VP Sales & Marketing for www.salesfusion.com - a SaaS based demand generation solution that specializes in helping b2b companies implement nurture/drip marketing.


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