Who’s the star of your B2B campaign: you or your customer?
If your brand voice sounds like a sales pitch instead of a candid conversation, you are likely to bomb at the box office of modern marketing. Here’s why:
Today, the customer directs the buying process
It wasn’t long ago that sales folks were the leading men and women of the purchase cycle. Sure, the marketing department brought them mailbags full of leads and helped close the deal with collateral, but there was a lot of flesh pressing in between. Jump cut to the digital age where the majority of B2B purchase decisions are made prior to any contact with a human. Relationships are won and lost in the digital space. Which means everything from blog and social posts to display ads and demo videos are responsible for cozying up to customers. So how do you ensure blockbuster success instead of rotten tomatoes?
Shift your script from sales to marketing
In the words of Mad Men era marketing guru, Theodore C. Levitt, “Selling concerns itself with the tricks and techniques of getting people to exchange their cash for your product. It is not concerned with the values that the exchange is all about. And it does not, as marketing invariably does, view the entire business process as consisting of a tightly integrated effort to discover, create, arouse and satisfy customer needs.”
The harsh reality is that product features and benefits don’t pack much punch in the absence of personal value. To use an everyday example, which dentist would you rather see for a check up – the one that touts his multiple degrees and high-tech office? Or, the one that says she’s here to make your dental experience as positive as possible and then asks you about your expectations for a first visit? In the age of customer-focused marketing, dentist number two will gain more open mouths and open checkbooks.
Promise a feeling, support with facts
No matter how technical your product or service, humanity wins the day. For example, imagine two valve manufacturers are vying for your business. One sends an email loaded with technical copy about their impeccably made, high-tech valve lines. A second focuses on the pressure that you, the buyer, are under when you buy a second-rate valve. Seller number two then supports that emotional appeal with the quality story about their products. Which one gets the call? The company that alleviates job pressure and water pressure of course!
The golden age of “it’s all about us” B2B marketing has come to a close. It’s time for the customer to take the stage. Once you put their needs in the spotlight, you are on your way to a winning campaign.