Saturday, March 13, 2010

No-nonsense B2B Advertising

Remember the unique selling proposition (USP)? It's the idea that marketing communications should focus on the unique feature or benefit (something of importance and value to your customers) that differentiates your good or service from its competitors.

I see that the USP is back in some no-nonsense B2B print advertising. This week's BusinessWeek carried two ads that get to the point, quickly, each with a USP that makes sense to the target audience.

The headline of Amtrak's Acela ad is: "You have the right to free Wi-Fi." Body copy explains how riders in the Northeast now have access to free on-board and in-station Wi-Fi on Acela Express trains. That's the message. Simple, straightforward, and of interest to anyone who travels the Northeast corridor. I like it.

The headline of the OfficeMax ad takes a little longer to read: "Whoever coined the phrase 'what you don't know won't hurt you' wasn't in business long." Body copy says OfficeMax can save customers money on office supplies, managed print, tech services, and much more, and sends readers to for details. Alas, I didn't find immediate solutions on that site, but I followed another link to the firm's B2B catalog site OfficeMaxSolutions.

Given how easy it is to post ads online, it's surprising that neither of these is available on a company web site. But I can tell you both ads are uncomplicated and easy to read, which is just right for the audience of busy professionals. The USP is alive and well in B2B advertising--good thing, too.

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