February 13

How to make B2B marketing messages more memorable

Marketing Strategy


In B2B marketing, when you have many potential buyers who are involved in the buying process, how do you connect with these people memorably?

If you look at most lead generation messages, they often contain industry jargon and abstract ideas. Interestingly, that’s part of the reason many of them don’t work.

Our future customers are wary of messages, pitches, hype, buzzwords, and corporate speak that they quickly forget them. So how do you create marketing and lead generation messages worth remembering?

According to this ITSMA interview with Chip Heath author of What Makes Things Stick, we need to overcome the curse of knowledge.

Heath say’s, “B2B marketers have a very high standard of communication that they have to impart. A group of psychologists and behavioral economists has called this ‘the Curse of Knowledge.’ As we become experts, it becomes harder to imagine not knowing what we know.”

In other words, as we develop our individual areas of expertise and live it out in our companies, it actually makes it harder to communicate with those outside out company. This could be part of the reason some might struggle to explain their job (i.e., what you do) to family and friends.

Heath’s focus is on this idea of “stickiness” he found that for our ideas to stick in people’s minds, they must be concrete. But the reality is that most of our business language is far from concrete.

I’ve summarized the 6 themes that Heath covers in his book that are consistent with sticky ideas:

  1. Simple – get to the essential idea, the most essential concept should leap out
  2. Unexpected -blast preconceived notions cause people to stop, think and remember
  3. Concrete – use real-world analogies to simplify complex ideas
  4. Credible – do you have a trustworthy reputation? If not, people will ignore you.
  5. Emotional – people often decide based on emotion and backfill with logic
  6. Stories – we’re wired to pay attention to stories and stories can be retold

I found this related MarketingProfs article, “How to Use Imagery to Create Memorable Messages” by professor Debbie MacInnis interesting. MacInnis describes new research about combining particular words with imagery to make more interesting branding messages and “the power of the internal movies that consumers generate themselves.” Please note: this article was written from a B2C perspective but as I think about it I see B2B applications too.

About the author 

Brian Carroll

Brian Carroll is the CEO and founder of markempa, helping companies to convert more customers with empathy-based marketing.

He is the author of the bestseller, Lead Generation for the Complex Sale and founded B2B Lead Roundtable LinkedIn Group with 20,301+ members.

  1. Well said,as most of the customers are weary of buzzwords, and corporate speak,that they quickly forget them. unless looking beyond customers needs most of the people always talk about their own things. If you want to make your lead generation messages or promos worth remembering you must have above said qualities…

  2. Great Article. It really does seem that people are tired of overstimulation. It almost seems as if the response is better if things seem more human, i.e. not all of you grammar is perfect, or there is a typo somewhere. It is amazing how a lack of wordiness can sometimes improve credibility.

  3. I think a lot of times the expectations for email marketing are way out of wak. Nobody seems to factor in read rates and then click to form %

  4. Great stuff! Always good to be reminded that I AM NOT the centre of the universe and NO ONE CARES what I have to say if its just like everyone else.

    In the age of the overstimulated imagination this task, whether B2B or B2C is going to get more and more difficult!

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