You probably know of WIIFM if you’re in B2B marketing. It’s an acronym that means “what’s in it for me?”, and this principle has been around for a long time. Marketers love it, talk about it, and there are endless articles about it. The problem is WIIFM wasn’t designed for B2B marketing.
WIIFM is supposed to explain what someone gets in ~10 seconds or less, and some marketers claim it’s a question prospective customers ask themselves at every buying stage. The acronym WIIFM can come up when prospects hear a sales pitch, scan a website, marketing collateral, social channels, or attend your client-prospect dinner with partners.
WIIFM is letting B2B marketers down
I was taught WIIFM years ago but frequently found it required explanation in a B2B business setting, plus it did not consider buyer motivations. Some call WIIFM a tactic. Others say it’s a concept, factor, or strategy. This gets confusing and leads to questions like:
I created an upgrade that works for B2B companies. It’s been tested.
FISGS means “fit in someone’s growth story.”
Instead of a question like WIIFM, FISGS is a direction. A very precise one.
This “principle” significantly aids brand storytelling in B2B because it adheres to benefits-based selling over feature-based selling. You can get practical with tangible benefits after you “hook” prospects emotionally.
What’s extra neat is you can turn FISGS into a question, if needed.
Anytime you’re describing your company’s narrative, positioning, product, or features, you should ask and answer the question, how does this fit in someone’s growth story?
How to apply FISGS
With clients in 2022 and 2023, I’ve seen FISGS resonate more than WIIFM. It’s resonating because marketers see how it weaves in a value proposition and emotions through today’s nonlinear buyer journey. And emotions play a huge role in B2B buying decisions, as proven by a Google and CEB’s Marketing Leadership Council survey and countless others.
Apply FISGS when:
- Writing case studies
- Emailing prospects
- Creating a sales deck
- Announcing, promoting, and hosting a user summit
- Debuting new features or a product suite
- Speaking to analysts
The modern path to purchase is as complex as tech stacks. I feel leveraging — (cough) excuse me, using — FISGS for your particular customer’s decision journey will be a great jumping-off point for staff (especially content marketers) and will work at key interactions.
WIIFM does put focus on customers, but it doesn’t use persuasion enough in B2B marketing communication.
FISGS puts B2B buyer motivations, emotions, and desired outcomes at the core of your external-facing communications and marketing strategy. Buyers want to know how what you offer will help them grow. Plain and simple. With FISGS, you get WIIFM benefits and a lot more.
I’m testing FISGS as an upgrade to WIIFM because of its supernatural ability to deliver explicit strategic direction to the user.
Hmm. Maybe I’ll conduct a survey of 50 unnamed B2B marketers without mentioning job titles, then publish a biased report that supports my claim that FISGS works. Oh yeah, and publish a press release that could’ve been a blog or LinkedIn post.
This blog post originally appeared in my Substack newsletter, B2B PR Now. Please consider signing up for it since I post stuff from there on this blog months after newsletter subscribers get it.
🛑 Was this useful? I’d so appreciate it if you forwarded this blog post to peers who might have a different opinion on WIIFM or FISGS, learn something, or have a question.