The author of the book Bob Bly is an independent copywriter and consultant with more than 20 years of experience in business‐to‐business, high tech, industrial, and direct marketing. He is the author of more than 50 books including The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Direct Marketing (Alpha Books) and The Copywriter’s Handbook (Henry Holt & Co.). He has written copy for over 100 clients including Network Solutions, ITT Fluid Technology, Medical Economics, Intuit, Business & Legal Reports, and Brooklyn Union Gas.
In his book “Secrets of successful business-to-business direct marketing” he covers a plenty of issues such as How to create the best offer? How to write an effective industrial copy? How to meet your need and need of your audience? How to write effective technical product brochures? What business buyers are looking for? How to stretch an advertising budget? and many others.
The author also gives answers to the questions What makes business‐to‐business marketing different than consumer? and In what ways business‐to‐business marketing is different than consumer marketing?
And now I would like to make a more detailed consideration of this book. It consists of 11 sections, in which the author step by step covers the topic, telling us everything we need to know about it, filling the book with practical tips and the examples from his working experience. He explains the difference between general public and business buyer and gives a detailed description of how to get on the right side of him (business buyer).
Separately he considers the audience of engineers and tells us, how to deal with them, how to sell your product to them. It was quite interesting for me, to know that business buyers (in this case we have engineers) have a different view on advertising and purchases, so copywriters must use the approaches, different from the approaches to general public.
1) Engineers look down on advertising and advertising people, for the most part.
Engineers want to believe they are not influenced by ad copy – and that
they make their decisions based on technical facts that are beyond a copywriter’s
understanding. Let them believe it.
2) Engineers do not like a “consumer approach.”
Engineers respond well to communications that address them as
knowledgeable technical professionals in search of solutions to engineering
3) The engineer’s purchase decision is more logical than emotional.
4) Engineers want to know the features and specifications, not just the benefits.
5) Engineers are not turned off by jargon – in fact, they like it.
Why is jargon effective? Because it shows the reader that you speak his
6) Engineers have their own visual language.
Use charts, graphs, tables, diagrams, blueprints, engineering drawings, and mathematical symbols and equations.
Throughout the book, Bob Bly says that you must know your audience, your product, precisely define objectives and follow them. He tells us that to write an effective industrial copy you must be technically accurate, be concise, talk to the users to determine their needs, and check the numbers etc. He also calls our attention to the notion of “technically accurate”: it means being truthful and being specific. Also you should know how much to tell in your copy.
If you are writing for top management, keep it short and simple, and pile on the benefits. If you are pitching to technicians, be sure to include plenty of meaty technical information.
These rules work when writing technical product brochures. The author draws our attention to the problem of unsuccessful brochures, and says that the main reason is laziness.
As is often the case in our industry, the engineers complained that those
“ad types” at the agency didn’t understand the product or the audience – and that their copy was way off base.
Laziness is often the cause. The writer did not do sufficient research to
understand the technology and the needs, concerns, and interests of the target
Thus, he emphasizes that understanding the selling environment (your audience) is an essential point.
Bob Bly also writes about the problem of a small budget (Most business‐to‐business advertisers have smaller ad budgets than their counterparts in consumer marketing) and gives 11 ways of how to cope with it. Interesting that these ideas can even enhance the effectiveness of your marketing efforts (in some cases).
The book “Secrets of successful business-to-business direct marketing” will be especially useful for copywriters, marketing managers, and consultants. For them it will probably become a table-book and even a key to success.