You are a B2B copywriter getting ready to put together a piece for your employer. Your supervisor gives you a topic, offers a few bullet points, and sends you on your way. Now you are tasked with putting together a persuasive article capable of convincing your company’s clients to do business with you. Do you focus on process or value?
The process vs. value debate is one that does not make a lot of sense when you step back and analyse it from a logical point of view. To say that B2B copywriting should always be process-oriented is to deny the importance of presenting value to customers. Likewise, focusing only on value doesn’t address the fact that some clients may not be all that familiar with the company’s processes. This is not an either/or sort of thing.
The B2B Copywriter Dilemma
This debate between process and value is quite troublesome for the B2B copywriter. It does not matter whether a writer is an employee of the company for which he or she writes or is a freelance writer working through a copywriting service. Writers have to try and decipher what it is decision-makers want before the first words are keyed in. If they get it wrong, they can expect the piece to come back for some serious editing.
Life would be a lot easier for copywriters if they knew what decision-makers were after before writing began. That is not always the case, so smart writers make a point of digging for information until they know exactly what they have to produce. All of that aside, let’s address both process and value as separate writing perspectives.
Writing about Process
Company process as the perspective of B2B copywriting is generally frowned upon. The reasoning is simple. Potential customers reading a B2B article are organisations that are probably fairly familiar with the common processes and practices of their industry.
For example, let’s say you have a company looking to buy carbon fibre tubing to make bicycle frames. A decision-maker in that company is reading a B2B piece from a potential vendor. He already knows how carbon fibre tubing is made. He doesn’t need an article describing process. What he needs is information that would suggest this vendor would be a better choice than the competition. This is a situation that calls for writing from the value perspective.
On the other hand, consider a B2B copywriter putting together a piece about digital marketing. The goal of the piece is to make a connection with small businesses that would benefit from a comprehensive digital marketing strategy that includes web development, SEO, paid advertising, and so forth. The average small business owner has no idea how digital marketing works. Therefore, before the writer can even think about addressing value, he/she has to help customers understand the digital marketing process.
Writing about Value
The consensus is that you can never go wrong by writing from the value perspective. If nothing else, B2B clients want to know that the money they are spending on a given product or service represents value for their own bottom line. The trick here is to write about value without letting on that you are actually marketing.
Companies are no different from individual consumers in that they are constantly being presented with aggressive marketing messages. The last thing a decision-maker wants is to pull up what promises to be an informative blog post, only to find out it is nothing more than a terribly disguised marketing piece.
In summary, the task for the B2B copywriter is to find that balance between process and value. Almost every B2B piece can be written this way. There is some process for customers who do not understand it; there is some value for those customers already familiar with process. By giving attention to both, the writer creates a piece with the broadest possible appeal.