Business-to-Business Marketing is a Myth

The Success Margin

Saturday, February 5, 2005


Recently I had the following conversation with a well-known direct marketing reporter.

“Ted, you are undoubtedly either the world’s most successful business-to-business (B-to-B) marketer in the last 25 years, or at least in the top 5. I’d like to write a feature article about you.

“First, a question. What do you feel are the biggest reasons for your amazing success?”

Here is how I replied.

“When you hear my answer I doubt whether you’ll still want to go ahead with your story. I’m successful largely because I do not agree with or accept the commonly used term ‘B to B.’


“The reality is, there is no such thing as B-to-B marketing! And I get sick and tired of hearing B to B being used.”

The reporters looked shocked and amazed.

I continued, “Businesses don’t buy a single thing. Ever. All buying is done by people, not businesses. Whether they are profit or non-profit institutions makes no difference. People are still doing the buying.”

All my sales letters, ads and e-mails are, therefore, directed at human beings.

Most B-to-B communications are incredibly dull and boring. They are aimed at some emotionless institution.

Many so-called B-to-B direct marketers are today lamenting their low response rates.

t’s no wonder. They are not preparing their sales messages with strictly a logical appeal. This does not work very well. And never will.

Yet, response rates from my copy, especially to the owners of small business owners and executives, continue to increase each year.

How come?

Here is the real secret.

Forget the B-to-B nonsense so prevalent in today’s business world. Prepare and direct your sales messages in such a way they appeal to the emotions of individuals who are in a position to buy.

Let others do it their way. Do not emulate what other failing direct marketers do. To succeed, you must create appeals that touch human emotions.

As I’ve stressed in The Success Margin numerous times before, all buying decisions are primarily emotional. And this rule also applies to any highly technical audience.

Sure, you must include logic and reasons why in your copy. But logic is not the main cause of an order.

You must touch both the mind and the heart to cause your prospect to read and respond to your message.

Use emotionally-charged benefits with strong visual words to describe the benefit of your business product to the recipient of your sales message. And watch your sales go through the roof. Your correspondent,

Ted Nicholas