Can Van Halen teach B2Bs a thing or two about attention to detail?


Simply by dialling up their attention to detail, B2Bs could gain a competitive advantage.

Back in the 80’s, the American hard rock band Van Halen’s rider made for interesting reading.

Amongst the band’s demands for Jack Daniels whisky and Stolichnaya vodka, a single, capitalised line stood out amongst all others.

“M & M’s,” the line requested, but “ABSOLUTELY NO BROWN ONES.”

It was a demand that earned the band the title of rock’s biggest divas. But years later, vocalist David Lee Roth revealed the request was simply a test of any given venue’s attention to detail.

The band’s shows called upon advanced lighting rigs, PAs, pyrotechnics; you name it. If a venue couldn’t get the simple things right, how could they possibly be trusted when it came to matters of importance?

It’s a line of thought that’s still in use today.

And it’s why your communications could be losing you custom.

Marketing collateral comes loaded with signals

Your prospects might not be as demanding as the rock band Van Halen. But they no doubt have their standards – and your marketing communications are a demonstration of what your service might be like.

Gravy stains on menus prompt questions over restaurant hygiene. Jargon-filled instruction manuals put product quality in doubt.

If that sounds obvious to you, it’s a phenomenon that’s constantly overlooked in the B2B sector.

B2Bs have a lot more to gain

It’s not clear why the problem plagues B2Bs more than B2Cs, but here’s one theory.

For the most part, B2C’s attempt to communicate with masses. Their comms are frequently aimed at millions of people. Flaws will be spotted and discussed and can do long-term harm.

By contrast, B2Bs generally communicate with much smaller audiences. A lengthy sales proposal might only ever reach a handful of people.

Flaws are unlikely to be broadcast in front of a nation.

But given the size of the contracts at stake – and given how much professionalism and precision can mean in B2B sectors – is that ever really any excuse?

In certain sectors, precision is crucial

Consider the construction industry.

In the sector, precision is of vital importance. Contracts are huge. The market is highly competitive.

A sloppy brochure, a rushed proposal or a dated website are all reasons for prospects to discount a potential partner. Yet just a cursory glance at the sector very quickly reveals all three.

To really drive the point home, consider how you might dress for a job interview.

It’s rare to see serious candidates arrive in casual attire – even though they might never wear a suit into the office should they succeed.

Polished communications win seats at tables

Admittedly, today’s budgets are tight. And time restrictions are often even tighter. Does that mean attention to detail in your marketing should remain low priority?

That’s not for us to decide. But one thing is for certain.

Sloppy communications cost B2Bs business. And polished communications win seats at tables.

And in a world where few marketing communications are truly flawless, an opportunity surely exists for switched-on marketers to get ahead.

Fancy sharing a packet of M & M’s? Let’s talk about how we can bring a focus on detail to your own comms campaigns. Drop us a line.