I don’t remember exactly when I first heard “impact” used as a verb, but I took an instant dislike to it. It sounded too forced and aggressive, like it was trying too hard (plus I always picture the Deep Impact movie poster). Then came the constant “utilizes” instead of “uses.” And don’t get me started on “leverage.”
These buzzwords are everywhere in corporate life, and they naturally seep into our marketing content, especially in B2B. We use jargon as a way to show that we’re part of the club in whatever industry we’re in. We think it signals we belong.
The problem with jargon in marketing
The problem with using jargon in marketing copy is two-fold. First, your prospects and clients are not part of your organization. They might not use the same jargon, or worse, they might not understand it. Not understanding will lead to the feeling of being left out, which is the absolute wrong impression you want to leave with your marketing.
You don’t know who exactly is consuming your content. Yes, you have personas and plan to sell to Melanie the sales director. But maybe Melanie outsourced the preliminary research to her assistant or the new hire in the sales department, who isn’t comfortable with corporate buzzwords yet. Or Melanie has recently switched from working in nonprofits, where they have a completely different set of jargon. Or English isn’t Melanie’s first language, and she struggles to understand the message. There are endless reasons why using jargon is alienating.
Second, these corporate buzzwords are unnatural! Most of us don’t go home and say to our partners, “Did you utilize the last of the ketchup?” or “Should we leverage my parents as babysitters this Saturday?” It sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? People don’t talk that way.
This unnatural language issue is most pronounced in marketing videos or ads. When we listen to a voiceover or an actor in a video, our brains expect it to sound like a person talking to us. Perhaps because it is. For a video to work, we want to feel spoken to directly. When a voiceover is telling you to “leverage best-in-class services to eliminate your disparate systems,” you tune out.
An effective B2B video needs to inspire your viewer to take action. People remember and take action on videos that leave them with an emotional response. My only response to hearing the word “disparate” is to yawn and open Twitter on my phone.
How to eliminate jargon from your marketing
Simplifying language in marketing copy is easier said than done. We wouldn’t have to be fighting back against it if it were easy for us all to move on from jargon.
Not nearly enough ink gets spilled sharing the best of B2B advertising and video. It’s still early in 2021, and we’ve already seen some excellent work coming out of the B2B side of the ad world. Here are some of our favorite B2B spots of 2021 so far.
Intel – Justin Gets Real
In the biggest spokesperson swap since the Verizon guy started pitching for Sprint, Intel’s new campaign features Justin Long, the Mac side of Apple’s famous “I’m a Mac I’m a PC” campaign, this time promoting PCs over Macs.
PCs, of course, use Intel chip technology. Last year, Apple announced they were transitioning away from Intel in favor of their own chips. Intel’s new campaign takes a nice dig at their former partner.
In the “Go PC” spots, Long promotes several advantages PCs have over Macs, including gaming capabilities, touch screens, and variety of choices.
What we like about these spots: Solid use of a celebrity spokesperson and a callback to a memorable campaign. The message is clear: Sure, we all thought Macs were the young, hip option back in the early 2000s, but times have changed. Maybe it’s time to give PCs another chance.
Vistaprint – Ready for Anything
Vistaprint’s new campaign aimed at small business owners shows that quick turnaround times and easy access to printed materials are essential for the fast moving business world.
The spots feature ridiculous scenarios, like a yoga studio being hit by an asteroid and needing to pivot to being a hot yoga studio. Vistaprint helps the owner update her signage and business cards fast.
What we like about these spots: The hyperbole of the situations are memorable, and the message lands.
I do feel the need to point out that putting “:30” or “:15” in the title of your YouTube videos is not best practice. As a user, it feels like an error, or it just looks sloppy. I have to dock two points from this campaign for weak YouTube execution.
Nuance – We, the Customers
We have all been stuck on the phone with a terrible customer service bot sometime in the past decade. Nuance wants prospects to know that it doesn’t have to be this way. By focusing on the prospect’s customer, these spots show the benefits that switching to Nuance can have on your business. Bad customer experiences can bring down even the best company or product.
The script is catchy, and the situations appeal to both our human side (we’ve all been there, right?) and our business side (I don’t want to treat my customers that way!).
What we like about this spot: A strong combination of engaging copy balanced with RTBs keeps you watching. The use of the customer as the hero is sadly too rare in B2B spots, which tend to position their company as the hero. [Full disclosure: We made this one. We’re allowed to be proud parents.]
Wasabi – Save Up to $400K a Year with Wasabi
A follow up to last year’s delightful “Migrate with Nate” music video, Nate is back to tell companies how much they can save with Wasabi cloud services over AWS. We love a brand that continues the story of a successful character like Nate the IT Guy. Why move away from what works?
A song is a great way to get attention and be remembered by your audience. Throw in some industry inside jokes and Wasabi has a hit on their hands.
What we like about this spot: I admire a brand that lets themselves be a little silly in their marketing. Life is too short to be so serious all the time.
Qualtrics – Chief Apology Officer
Qualtrics, an experience management software company, wants the C suite to know that you can fix bad customer experiences, not just apologize for them. The simplicity of this spot is part of the brilliance. They don’t need more than 30 seconds to get their point across.
What we like about this spot: This spot is another example of a B2B brand branching out into creating a character spokesperson. B2C has done this for years (insurance brands love this tactic). A character is a consistent, memorable vehicle for your brand message.
Squarespace – 5-9
Another spot aimed at small business owners and entrepreneurs, Squarespace went to the Super Bowl with an update of the classic Dolly Parton song. B2B brands have long been afraid of songs and jingles, despite the evidence that songs are memorable and catchy. In other words, they work!
What we like about this spot: A song is still considered risky in B2B advertising. We love to see brands like Squarespace show the industry it can be done.
It’s no longer breaking news that the third-party cookie is dying. (I promised myself I wouldn’t say “crumbling.”) Apple and Firefox have already restricted their use, and Google is phasing them out over the course of 2021. Between iOS and these desktop browsers, a large portion of your audience can no longer be tracked with third-party cookies.
The trend in B2B marketing over the past five years has been data-driven marketing and ABM, both of which traditionally rely heavily on third-party cookies. Without the help of those trackers, many B2B marketers will need to rethink their investments in data.
Before we get too far, a reminder that first-party cookies are still accessible to marketers. There is still valuable data to monitor and use. What we lose is the retargeting and the long-term tracking that third-party cookies can provide. Since B2B tends to have long sales cycles, the thought of losing data after only a week is enough to keep us up at night.
Fear not, my sleepless marketing friend. While the end of reliance on third-party cookies requires a change in strategy and mindset, it may open broader opportunities for B2B marketers.
Don’t take my word for it, listen to the future of our industry explain it.
We’ve reached the final stage of our series on optimizing your buyer’s journey with video—the decision phase.
Creating materials to help convert more prospects into customers can feel like an insurmountable challenge. This is especially true in the B2B space where each sale represents a customer committing to a multimillion-dollar investment or allocating a large portion of their yearly budget.
When the stakes are high and the investment is significant, how do you get prospects to commit and buy?
Read on for three tips to help you create bottom of funnel videos that result in more sales.