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You Need Better Messaging, Not a Bigger Marketing Budget

b2b blogpost budget messaging owners Sep 20, 2023

Did you know that in 2023, the average cost for a 30-second Super Bowl ad was $7 million? I’ve worked with billion-dollar companies, but that number still blows my mind when I think about it.

Most of our clients are B2B operations in the $2M-$20M space. Of course, not one of them would ever spend $7M on a single 30-second ad. That being said, I once had a client tell me, “Man, if only I had a _____ million-dollar budget, I can only imagine how much we could grow.”

In one sense, of course you could do more if you had a multimillion-dollar marketing budget. On the other hand, I think many businesses struggle to be successful with the budgets they have now – and I don’t think that would necessarily change with more money.

If you want your marketing to be successful, it doesn’t start with your budget. It starts with your messaging.


Better Messaging > More Money

Back in reality, your marketing success is far more dependent on the strength of your value prop and its alignment with your ideal client. In fact, you have probably thrown too much money at campaigns and strategies that resulted in little to no ROI. In most cases, more money wouldn’t have changed the outcome.

That’s why I always advocate sharpening your company’s value proposition and letting that drive your sales and marketing. It’s not rocket science, but it does take intentionality. In my own experience, here are the three most important factors to build your value prop around.


1. It has to really matter to your ideal customer.

One of the most common growth-blockers I’ve seen in my work is when B2B companies focus on what they think is important. It’s easy to get too focused on a single feature or idea because you see the value – while it’s of little to no interest to your best clients and prospects.

One way you can get the right answer to this question is… ready for this? Pick up your phone and call your best customers. Ask them specifically what they value most about your product or service category. Ask them if there’s anything missing from your offer that would solve a key problem for them.

Want your offer to be attractive to your ideal customer? Don’t guess – talk to them and find out.


2. Your differentiation needs to be… differentiated.

When I sit down with a B2B owner, I always ask the question “What makes you different?” Unfortunately for them, most of the time their answer is not actually differentiated. It may be true. It may be important. But it may fall victim to what I call the “equally credible claim”.

The Equally Credible Claim looks like this. When you need an HVAC repair, you may look at two companies that say “fast, reliable, and honest service”. Even if only one of them is telling the truth, both can make an equally credible claim to it.

This is what I like to call the unfair part of marketing and sales. Many B2B owners build great, ethical businesses, and then they get out-sold and out-marketed by companies that don’t deliver on their promises.

So, what can you do? 

You need to cultivate an offer that is truly differentiated. 

Don’t settle for something your competitors can claim – even if they don’t back it up. This is where it’s helpful to dig in and consider options like:

  • Develop a niche authority (in other words, narrow your focus to something you can be best at);
  • Provide unique and noteworthy (think BOLD) guarantees on your service or product;
  • Combine your product with ongoing maintenance or support;

The point? It’s more than just clever words. Your messaging must communicate an offer that’s differentiated beyond what someone else can print on a billboard.


3. Simpler is better when it comes to messaging.

Remember that “What would you do with a $7M marketing budget?” 

Here’s a better question: “What would you do with that 30 seconds?” 

Brands that buy Super Bowl slots understand the importance of brevity.

If it takes too long to communicate your value prop, your target market will never hear it. You need to know why it matters, to whom it matters, and how to convey it quickly.

And remember #1 – it has to really matter to your best clients. Short. Focused. Effective.


Need Help With Your Messaging?

If you’ve been in business for a while, you may find it hard to boil down your value proposition into concise messaging. I get it. I experience this myself. Ideation is always happening, but it can be distracting instead of helpful. As you grow (and in order to grow), a clear, compelling value prop is paramount. If the messaging falters, even the best marketing strategies will fall short.

That being said, if this all feels like magic and guesswork, we should talk. We have a proven playbook that we help B2B owners implement to transform their messaging and sharpen their value proposition. If you’d like to learn more about how we do this, here’s my calendar. Let’s grab some time.

You’ll walk away with a messaging strategy that allows you to start investing in your marketing, not throwing money at it. Sound like a plan?

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