Daniel Burstein

B2B Marketing: On Occam’s razor and value propositions

September 30th, 2010

If you’re in B2B marketing, chances are you have a complex sale. And I’m not just talking about your sales process. I mean the communication involved to make the sale itself happen – starting with the value proposition. Does it clearly answer this question, “What value does your company provide to your customers?”

Sometimes, the problem with marketers is that we think like marketers. We add powerful marketing words to everything we write – “New!” “Easy!” “ShamWow!” We want to include every possible feature and function (with no small prodding from product development). We also want to cast a wide net to gain market share with every possible audience segment.

The result can be long and confusing. Because we marketers aren’t really trying to make this complexity any clearer, we’re trying to make it more compelling. But what if, instead of thinking like a marketer, we thought like scientists?

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.” – Albert Einstein

Scientists, unlike marketers, are actually trying to understand something – usually something of breathtaking complexity. As Occam’s razor loosely states, “…the simplest explanation is usually the correct one.”

Now, there are a few caveats here. If you’ve ever read anything from a scientist, you certainly know that the writing itself isn’t simple and clear. But this heuristic does help keep scientists focused when delving into theoretical models.

Just what the heck does your company do?

With this in mind, take another look at your value proposition. And remember that all-important word – value.

Hey, I have a background as a copywriter. So no one appreciates clever wordplay more than yours truly.  But as a communications consultant to B2B companies, I’ve also encountered far too many companies that didn’t clearly demonstrate what they do…and certainly not why anyone should part with scarce budget dollars to acquire it.

Crafting a value proposition is tough, and this blog post alone won’t help you do it – but if you can clearly communicate with your audience, at the very least you’re off to a good start.

MarketingSherpa B2B Marketing Summit ‘10

Looking for more B2B marketing strategies and techniques? At the upcoming MarketingSherpa B2B Summits in San Francisco and Boston, attendees will gain in-depth knowledge from the top of the funnel to the bottom line. But not just from the people here at MECLABS.

MarketingSherpa is fortunate to have a large community of experienced marketers who frequently share their expertise. B2B Summit attendees will listen to a variety of case studies presented by their B2B marketing peers.

PLUS: If you’re attending, you can share the lessons you learn with your peers by sending us your key takeaways for our Summit Wrap-up Report. If you have something good to say, we’ll quote you in the article.

Daniel Burstein

About Daniel Burstein

Daniel Burstein, Senior Director of Editorial Content, MECLABS. Daniel oversees all content and marketing coming from the MarketingExperiments and MarketingSherpa brands while helping to shape the editorial direction for MECLABS – digging for actionable information while serving as an advocate for the audience. Daniel is also a speaker and moderator at live events and on webinars. Previously, he was the main writer powering MarketingExperiments publishing engine – from Web clinics to Research Journals to the blog. Prior to joining the team, Daniel was Vice President of MindPulse Communications – a boutique communications consultancy specializing in IT clients such as IBM, VMware, and BEA Systems. Daniel has 18 years of experience in copywriting, editing, internal communications, sales enablement and field marketing communications.

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  1. September 30th, 2010 at 16:01 | #1

    Excellent post! This is something we all need a reminder about now and then.

  2. David Hunter
    October 1st, 2010 at 07:56 | #2

    Wow…how many times are you guys going to say the same thing and sell it as new content? Sherpa used to be something special. #shadowofformerself

  3. October 1st, 2010 at 13:32 | #3

    Thanks for the comment David,
    We seek to create a mix of new content, along with reiterating important takeaways. Hey, even if you’ve heard it in the past, sometimes we all need a reminder. And judging on the value proposition of many B2B marketers, I feel that this blog post tightly fits into the “need a reminder” column.

    However, the rich history of MarketingSherpa, along with our razor sharp audience of professional marketers, keeps us driving to meet the high bar of expectations that comes with any MarketingSherpa information — even just here on the blog. So thanks for keeping us on our toes.

    You sound like an avid MarketingSherpa reader who has read almost everything we’ve put out. So if you’re looking for some new content, you might find value in — Proven Halloween Promos: 6 Ideas for Campaigns.

    Thanks again for your comment. And if you have any other feedback about MarketingSherpa, feel free to email me personally.

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