13/05/2022No Comments

Asking the big questions

Debate: is the B2B/B2C distinction collapsing?

B2B versus B2C. Sound familiar? It’s an age-old distinction marketers have been arguing about for years. yawn, right?

Business-to-consumer marketing has always been the cool kid at the party. With business-to-business marketing being the less glamorous cousin sitting in the corner. And people still seem to accept that.

But we like to ask questions. Interesting ones.

Like is the gap between B2B and B2C becoming, well, less of a gap? Does B2B have a legitimate space on TikTok? Why are we so obsessed with a funnel?

These are all topics of conversation featured in a recent debate organised by The Drum. And our managing partner, Eoin Rodgers, was only too happy to take part.

Along with several other B2Bers (all experts in this industry), Eoin examined the real difference between B2B and B2C. And what that means for marketers.

Now, the write-up of the debate is available. It’s a cracking read, and – we’d go as far as to say – essential reading for marketers everywhere.

Visit this page to see what our Eoin (and the other panellists) had to say. No yawns – promise.

The Drum US | Marketing, Advertising, Design And Digital News

01/02/2022No Comments

This month we’re… getting (even more) serious about TOV

This little beauty is Voicebox. And we’ll be using it to help brands find a unique way of communicating with the world around them. It’s all part of our mission to get (even more) serious about TOV.

Voicebox – brainchild of Nick Parker at That Explains Things – is the stuff of legends in the world of marketing. Why? Because, at the heart of every great (and loveable, and memorable, and successful and so on) brand lies a great verbal identity. Finding a unique voice that cuts through the crowd can be hard, though – and getting a whole team of people to buy into one clear vision can be even harder. Voicebox is here to make the whole process fun, interactive and easy. Plus, it comes in a mysterious black box which makes us feel important and interesting.

Basically… we had to buy one.

Unboxing Voicebox

Our curious package arrived by courier one dreary January morning – and we were more than a little excited to uncover its secrets.

Inside, we found:

  • 99 TOV tarot cards (with a whole range of adjectives like ‘quirky’, ‘childlike’, ‘blunt’).
  • A guide to flexing brand voice from formal to informal.
  • Dozens of real-life examples from distinctive global brands.
  • Stickers. And oh boy do we love stickers.

Our first thoughts? Voicebox is inspiring, tactile, and really hand-holdy (in a good way). It’ll help set the right direction in TOV development sessions, and help bring theoretical discussions to life with real-world success stories.

As the product site encourages: “Find your voice. Speak to the world. All in a box.” This is a big promise from such a little package… but we’re already firm believers.

Let’s get Voiceboxing

We’ve been helping brands craft better copy for longer than we’d care to admit (have we always had this many greys?). Now, Voicebox has given us yet another tool for creating distinctive, authentic TOVs.

If you’d like to help us try it out, simply get in touch with our Head of Copy, Tom Mitchell.

16/11/2021No Comments

Doing our bit for breast cancer awareness

This October, we had more reason than ever to reflect on Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

That’s because, over the past year, we’ve been working with Kheiron Medical – true AI innovators whose vision it is to make cancer as manageable as an everyday illness. (‘How?’ you ask. To which we reply: ‘It's pretty advanced stuff, why not take a look at the website?')

While the cause was already close to our hearts, our working relationship with Kheiron has allowed us to put our creative talents to the very best use.

Kheiron Medical 31 Wishes Campaign

For the start-up’s ‘31 wishes’ campaign, we collected the wishes of 31 people affected by breast cancer – one for each day of the month. Then, we rolled these thought-provoking stories out across social media, supported by a wish-upon-a-star-themed look and feel.

Of course, it was important for the focus to stay on the patients and their families. So, Kheiron took a back seat and let their campaign stars shine bright.

Visit the campaign landing page here to listen to the wishes >

One final thing: if you’re popping over to our office in Winnersh any time soon, ask for one of James’ famous bacon (or mushroom) sandwiches, which he was selling off throughout October to raise donations for charity. We’re sure he’ll be happy to take your order.

05/11/2021No Comments

(other) People power

How to use marketing’s cheapest winning strategy.

Most people consider themselves independent thinkers, unmoved by the behaviours and decisions of others. We believe the choices we make are our own. Because we’re smart and in control.

Behavioural economics often proves the opposite. People are constantly buffeted by biases and subconscious influences that affect their choices in any moment.

To take a simple example, a hotel tested two alternative messages left in rooms to convince guests to reuse their towels. The first provided the environmental argument for reuse. The second just stated that most people reused their towels.

The second message improved towel reuse by 26% compared to the first.

Note that the second message didn’t say why people had reused their towels – just that they did. The only motivation for people to reuse was the perceived behaviour of others.

This is an example of social proof. Simply, that means people are positively influenced by the behaviour of the herd. It’s a non-rational instinct that when we see lots of other humans doing something, it’s likely a safe or profitable course of action. And it governs our actions more reliably than any logical thought process.

So, while you may be smart, you’re certainly not in control.

How to use social proof

Shout about yourself

If you’re able to show that people are choosing your brand or product, then it’s valuable to do so overtly. Decision-makers seek out what has been tried and tested. This then helps them define a range of options that feel less risky, as others are choosing them and (hopefully) not getting fired for it.

Never assume audiences already know about your market position or great customer successes – talk about it.

Consider the sales environment

In B2B, solutions are identified, considered, and bought by groups. There’s typically a single point of final sign off, but you expect people to discuss solutions with others.

Take a sales meeting. There might be one or two people there that you absolutely must convince of your offering. But there might be other people who, despite not having the same buying power, might be more receptive to what you’re selling. Perhaps you have an existing relationship with them, or they were the people who got you in the room in the first place.

Those advocates can be hugely valuable in helping to build consensus in the room for your product or service. Including and equipping anyone who may contribute in your favour can help to reduce scepticism in the people who will make the final decision.

Add a pinch of salience

Social proof isn’t an isolated effect. The extent to which people will be convinced by a message depends on many things, including other behavioural biases and contexts. But one way to give your message a guaranteed boost is to add points of salience.

Take a generalised message: “65% of small businesses use Dodo HR software every day”. Add in a salient piece of information about your target role: “65% of operations leaders use Dodo HR software every day”. The result is more relatable and human, but it’s also more targeted to the group you want the audience to emulate.

Convince a creative

It’s easy for writers to sneer at social proof. It’s too boastful and simplistic, too lazy. It’s boring to write headlines like “78% of customers chose Brand X”.

But like it or not, telling customers that you’re a popular pick with their peers works. It stirs their primitive impulse to follow the decisions of others who have tested the option and survived.

The simplicity of social proof needn’t be a temptation to produce mundane creative either. Stating a stat, like the example above, is only one basic expression of the concept. There are plenty of ways to communicate popularity that don’t rely on blaring facts.

A story

Case studies are great. They allow people to tell their own stories, making solutions and results more relatable. They also offer the opportunity to include plenty of contextual detail, which increases salience for particular audiences, improving effectiveness. Not to mention the variety of formats available to this tactic, whether filmed interviews, infographics or animated storytelling.

A free trial

Perhaps you have a brand new product, or your solution doesn’t yet have a market share to encourage widespread adoption. Offering the goods to people for free is a great way to make potential customers more receptive to seeing the best side of the offering. It also gives you a chance to create and share real-world examples of it working that don’t rely on decades of building your brand and customer base.

An advocate

Making a beeline for the primary decision-maker in your target organisation might feel like the most direct route to success. But take the time to find other people who can endorse your solution, or shout about what great work your business does. Consensus is critical, and hard to obtain.

Never think social proof is too boring or basic to use in your campaigns. Find ways to prove that what you’re doing for your customers works, and shout about it. Treat social proof models as a starting point for creative briefs, and set people the task of bringing this simple, basic tactic to life.

Everybody else is doing it, after all.


If you’d like to learn or share more about how we can influence behaviour to grow your business, get in touch at tomw@tmwunlimited.com

03/11/2021No Comments

What are you trying to prove?

Why you shouldn’t just throw a stat in.

B2B marketing likes its data. White papers, e-books, blogs… you name it, you’ll find stats in there propping the content up. At least, that’s what businesses think they do.

“95% of businesses agree that using stats in their marketing copy makes it more compelling.”

Okay, I made that up, but it’s probably true. And I mean it sounds good, doesn’t it? So, people are bound to find it relatable. And hell, I’m sure they grasp it. Right? Guys…? Anyone?

We see stats being used all the time by governments, charities, banks, beauty and cosmetics companies – to name a few. But unless they’re meaningful, they won’t take your message very far.

Here are three tips for using stats in your marketing content:

The Truth Factor

Above, that 95% I made up is probably close to the truth. After all, what company would disagree? But there’s a reason why businesses include disclaimers in their ads. You know the type – six out of eight saw instant results. Underneath, there’s that tiny writing that says something like ‘64 people took part in a survey and 48 agreed they saw an improvement very soon afterward.’

If only that many agreed to a similar sort of statement – is it really a truthful claim? And what exactly is it an improvement of? Slightly cleaner hair? Looking a bit less hungover in the morning?

I mean, it’s never worked for me but that’s not really the point. Empty statements or misrepresented ‘facts’ won’t do much to boost your offering. People will see it as a fake news alert. So, check the truth factor of your stat. Better yet, interrogate it. Especially for your more cynical readers. But before we get too stuck into empirical truths, let’s move on…

Avoid the Dub Effect

As the saying goes, ask an obvious question and you’ll get an obvious answer. And possibly a cringe. Here’s (another) one I made up earlier:

“80% of people said they preferred working for a company with clear pay increments.”

Well, duh. Who would look at that and think “gosh, that’s a surprise”? With stats like this, you’re not telling your audience something new. In fact, you’re kind of insulting their intelligence. You might think it sounds good, but it’s not really adding anything.

If you use a stat, it’s got to be meaningful. Stats shouldn’t be used for quick wins – they should add value to the subject of the piece and add weight to the argument. And if it doesn’t – get rid.

The Two R's: Readable & Relatable

Now, I know I’ve warned you against staying away from the ‘duh effect’. But it’s also important not to overcomplicate things. You’ve probably heard the quote, “if you can’t explain it to your grandmother, you don’t understand it.”

You might read a stat that confuses you. Especially if there are multiple ways to interpret it. Like, “85% of the people we asked about this thing in this way would rather not have it in this context.” WTF does that even mean?

Stats shouldn’t be so niche that they need dissecting to understand. Nor should they form a tenuous link back to what you’re telling your audience. So, choose each fact carefully. It should resonate with the reader. They should read it and think “yeah, I get that.”

And to be relatable, it needs to be readable. Make sure it’s concise, clear, and in plain English – wherever possible. The copy around it can do the job of elaboration.

Conclusion

To sum up, stats can be a powerful addition to marketing copy. And they have an impact. But only when they are truthful, meaningful, easy to understand, and relevant. So, if you have a killer stat that ticks all those boxes, you should – 100% – throw it in.


Want to talk about your marketing content and how best to sprinkle it with stats? Get in touch at lucyd@tmwunlimited.com

25/08/2021No Comments

ABM Scorecard: Who should you target?

Picture this...

You've successfully managed to bring sales and marketing together into a common cause: account-based marketing (ABM).

Everyone has agreed to go after one or a handful of customers or prospects with a highly targeted and carefully planned approach.

So far so good.

But now you're at the most important step in the entire ABM process: choosing your accounts.

Sales might steer you towards a more immediate win.

Marketing might be looking at a longer-term prospect.

Whilst your business leadership might want an impressive client for the logo board.

These are all valid options, but which path should you take? And how do you keep everyone happy with your decision?

Watch our webinar to find out...

16/08/2021Comments are off for this post.

Silver is way better than gold

How we won a Demand Generation award in 2021

When Thomas International came to us for paid media support, we quickly realised this wasn’t just going to be a job of… well, paid media. Not only did it need to make up a shortfall of leads (caused by – you guessed it – the P word), but it also needed to convert them further down the funnel. What’s more, it needed to expand on its limited data, and build up visibility and intelligence from scratch.

What started out as a demand gen project became more than just a numbers game. It became a process in its own right – gathering intelligence and harnessing data to give Thomas the insight it needed. Plus, we made a vow when we took this project on: to win a B2B demand generation award. No pressure, right? Well, we’d only have ourselves to blame.

Our MarTech guys began with a full-funnel audit (they love a funnel) to completely understand Thomas’ existing process. Then, it was time to set up a detailed action plan, which included several testing sprints. These sprints allowed us to feed into a demand gen engine at different points, and improve performance incrementally.

We worked closely with the web and development team at Thomas to create our solution – a comprehensive demand gen engine. And, we carried out test-and-learn paid media and CRO activity to identify the ideal customer. Once Thomas knew this, it could understand the most effective way to reach them. In addition, to monitor how leads performed throughout the sales funnel, we optimised and experimented at different stages of the conversion journey.

Deployment took place throughout 2020 across a healthy mix of paid media channels, including social, search, publishing partners and webinars.

Together, we:

  • Increased monthly MQLs from 71 to a peak of 306 – a 330% increase
  • Generated 79 won deals across a 6-month period
  • Achieved £1.66m in revenue, based on Thomas’ average LTV
  • Reduced CPL by 43% on LinkedIn, 32% on search and 31% through new landing pages created

Now, armed with helpful data, quality leads and the right thinking, Thomas has a platform built for success. Just without the need for those OMG reactive media spending moments.

But what about that award we promised? Well, back in January, we submitted our entry to the B2B Marketing Awards 2021 for ‘Best use of MarTech for demand generation'.

March came and we found out we were one of six shortlisted entries. It’s fair to say this wasn’t your average awards ceremony, what with it being live-streamed during an afternoon. But hey, we made the best of it.

So, there we were with our videos on, cocktails raised and – never one to be deterred – one member of the team fully suited up (though he will do that every chance he gets).

And, as you may have guessed, we won the award we swore we would get – the Silver Award for ‘Best use of MarTech for demand generation’.

A superb effort from everyone involved. Who says you can’t guarantee what you promise?

04/08/2021No Comments

Choosing an agency with Matt Laybourn

🎙 Now Live! 🎤

Matt Laybourn, our Digital Performance Director at TMWB, sat down with Alex Holliman (agency founder of Climbing Trees) on his new podcast series: Choosing An Agency to discuss agency relationships, transparency and values.

Have a listen below.

We'd love to hear your thoughts.

And if you find it useful, please share!


Matt is the Digital Performance Director at TMW, a multi-award winning digital agency based in London, Reading and Bristol. He leads a team of paid media, SEO, CRO and marketing automation specialists across both B2B and B2C projects. Prior to agency life, he founded a multi-million e-commerce business called Slim’s Detailing.


29/06/2021No Comments

Saying what you mean AND meaning what you say

How techniques from neuroscience and behavioural psychology can provide a deeper insight.

We may often think that these two statements are equivalent. Of course, with best intentions, we do say what we mean. And we’d like to think that when we say something, we mean it. Right?

The brain is more complex than that.

Emotion (feeling) is at the heart of our decision making. But emotion largely operates at an unconscious level that we are unable to articulate, and therefore have little insight into its effect on our decision making.

What does this mean in the real world?

Well, when we’re asked a question – in person, by a friend or colleague, or more specifically in a research survey – in addition to the answer we declare, there is a previously hidden dimension aligned to that emotional component.

Hidden until now, that is: reaction time testing allows us to measure not just what people say, but also the strength of their emotional conviction. By correctly measuring the speed of reaction and controlling for the speed of response through robust calibration and data cleaning procedures, our reaction time testing approach allows us to understand what people say but add an additional layer of insight from the emotional reaction.

Let’s look at it more (possibly too) simplistically.

In a simple agree/disagree question, we capture the rational response (% agree) and their emotional reaction (speed of response). When reaction time is introduced to the methodology, the same “YES, I agree” response can indicate two different things. This distinction is lost in traditional survey responses that just take the “Yes” as, well, a yes.

While at an explicit level, people rationally may declare the same answer (they both say “yes”), their speed of reaction helps us to understand the strength of belief. The faster the response, the more accessible the attitude from memory, the stronger the level of emotional conviction. So:

“YES I agree” where reaction time is FAST = Says it and truly believes it

“YES I agree” where reaction time is SLOW = Says it but doesn’t truly believe it

This capability has become a game-changer in the research we’re carrying out to gather market and persona insight but also to test responses to creative concepts, or stimuli.

We’ve used it internationally for clients like Castrol, to understand real sentiment on complex topics and themes like “sustainability” where often responses can be conflicted and difficult to interpret meaningfully.

We’re also using it in the B2B space to test creative stimulus.

For Capita for example, we carried out implicit reaction time testing to dig deeper into the emotional responses to creative routes, not solely to find the winner – but to understand how the messaging, the visuals and their combinations speak to the rational and emotional decision-making process.

We spoke to 200 C-Suite and senior decision makers, across public and private sectors in the UK. With three creative concepts to test, we wanted to go beyond a superficial appraisal and understand how the communications really impact at an emotional and cognitive level in order to assess true effectiveness.

We set a high bar for ourselves:

We believe good creative needs to capture attention, stimulate emotions, create and reinforce memories and importantly, drive action.

We call these: Ideas that move people.

Our questionnaire design allowed us to interrogate against these three criteria: catch attention, stimulate emotions, drive action.

Within that we’re looking for attributes like for clarity, believability and relevancy.

While the results helped us to identify the strongest creative, it also allowed us to understand which elements of the other concepts could be leveraged or adopted to guide next-stage creative development.

Our Capita campaign will be in-market shortly – and both we and the client have real confidence in how it will be received, processed, remembered and critically – acted upon.

If you’d like to speak to us about our implicit reaction time testing – and how you could put it to use in your next campaign, drop me a line: eoinr@twmunlimted.com

26/02/2021No Comments

What’s in your briefs?

Whether you’re a copywriter or an account manager. An MD or an intern. You’ll probably find something similar in your briefs. The little box that says something like:

What is the single most important thing we have to say?

The answer is usually short. A sentence, maybe two.

It’s where creatives get their ideas and how clients measure the work.

Because this Cadbury’s ad might not have made sense on paper, but everyone gets how effortlessly enjoyable eating their chocolate must be.

This Sony Bravia ad might have been a bureaucratic nightmare, but you can imagine the visual experience you’ll get from their TVs.

And this Apple ad might have used actual skinheads, but you can’t help but think maybe a computer is an antidote to dystopia.

Because the ad works as long as the audience gets the message.

So, while this John West ad might be a little silly, you get that they’ll go to great lengths for good salmon.

This Honda ad might have taken ages to pull off, but you can’t miss how well the components of their cars work together.

And this Levi’s ad might be a bit steamy, but you come away knowing that a pair of Levi’s jeans is all you need.

The audience gets the message because the message is clear.

So, these ads might make John Smith’s seem a little rough around the edges, but that’s what they want from their customers, too.

And the message behind this Cravendale ad might be almost identical to the John West one, but at least they filled in the little box in the briefing document.

And these ads for Aldi also advertise their competition, but you know that the only difference is the price.

The message is clear because the client knows what they want to say.


In some famous instances, clients turned their noses up at these ideas. They were too different or too lateral or too, dare I say it, “creative”. But when you weigh them against the brief, there’s no denying these ads do what they’re supposed to – say what the client wants to say.

At TMW Business, where I work, we’re pretty good at finding out what our clients want to say. Then coming up with the best, simplest, most creative way of saying it. From that little box that’s in the brief to the work that ends up on paper or a screen.


Want to talk about briefs and how to fill them? Send me an email at tomr@tmwunlimited.com. I like coming at things from creative angles and don’t mind receiving constructive feedback.