B2B marketing is boring. Here’s how to fix it.

Robin Emiliani  /  May 23, 2019

Here’s a fun fact to kick off your summer: Your customers think your marketing is boring.

That’s right.

42% of B2B buyers say most marketing is boring and 83% wish it was more creative. Another 81% said better marketing would help them make better buying decisions.

Let’s pause there. Better marketing would help them make better buying decisions.

That means 81% of buyers are feeling a bit uncertain about their decisions, right? They’re asking us to help them get certain—help them throw more money in our respective directions. And all we have to do is be less boring.

Of course, that’s easier said than done, right? Because if we knew we were boring, we’d try to fix it.


Right? Bueller? Bueller?

Ha. Just kidding. We do know we’re boring. We’re even boring ourselves. A 2017 survey found that 60% of marketers were bored at work—making marketing one of the top 10 most boring jobs in the US.

So, what are we doing wrong that’s boring us and our customers out of our skulls—and how do we fix it?

Here are five suggestions:

Knock it off with the jargon already.

Jargon doesn’t make anybody sound smarter. Full stop. We all know it, but we just can’t seem to knock it the hell off.

The more jargon that makes it into our marketing, the less buyers are actually understanding us. And that’s not just an educated guess. In one recent survey, 88% of office workers said they pretend to understand office jargon even when they have no idea what it means.

And if office workers who are around your jargon 24-7 don’t know what the hell it means? Your customers are even less likely to.

So let’s all just knock it off.

Speak in plain English, thank you very much.

Speaking of bad communication, here’s another truth:

Big words don’t make us sound smarter.

Yep. That’s right. Using a $20 word isn’t earning you any brownie points.

Studies show that simple language makes us sound smart. The reason behind this, according to experts, is that the easier someone can understand us, the smarter they assume we are. And the simpler language we use, the easier someone can understand us.

As Einstein said: “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

Be human.

It’s easy for B2B marketing to feel robotic. We’re trying so hard to sound professional, follow all the grammar rules our 5th-grade English teacher taught us, and put our best foot forward that we often end up sounding stilted. Like a robot with three pre-recorded messages.

And hey, maybe we are using robots for some of our marketing these days. But that doesn’t mean our marketing has to sound like one.

Because B2B marketing isn’t actually that different from B2C. You’re still talking to a human. You’re still allowed to be a human.

In other words, shoving a stick up your butt never makes you look taller.

So talk to your customers like they’re people. Feel free to crack a joke. Start a sentence with the word “and.” Be vulnerable. Tell the truth. Use the word damn if that’s on brand.

Just because I’m at work researching CRM systems doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate a good joke. And it definitely doesn’t mean I want to spend my afternoon reading through sales materials that feel like formal college essays.

And we’re not saying every brand should be sweary or bursting with jokes. But we are saying that brands that sound human—that talk to people like people—perform better.

Can B2B marketing be interesting? Hell yes, it can.

We know because we’ve worked on a lot of B2B campaigns that blew customers away and knocked business goals out of the park. If you’re done with boring and need some help grabbing the attention of those 81% of buyers who are begging for more creativity, we’d love to chat.


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