The road most traveled in B2B is to focus on features. While it is a safe and familiar road to choose, it is hard to stand out there. It’s even harder to get results.
It’s not wrong to talk about what your product or service does, but there is a risk in hanging your hat on it.
In an ideal world, product features should set you apart from the competition. But let’s be honest. Most of the time, product features aren’t extraordinary or exclusive. Yes, unique elements may exist. More often though, products share elements of relative sameness and carry less perceived differentiation than we would like to admit.
Focusing too much on features is a slippery slope toward an “Us too! But better!” messaging strategy.
We prefer to challenge B2B marketers to think differently. Don’t go right to features. We aim higher than the road most traveled because it’s how you get noticed. It’s how you get results. The difference maker in B2B marketing comes when a brand breaks away from what’s routine and distinguishes itself from the pack.
To get there, you must start in strategy and carry through campaign execution.
Here are the most common B2B marketing roads we challenge clients to evolve away from:
- Focusing on features and product attributes (not benefits)
- Not communicating your value proposition (or communicating too much information)
- Avoiding brand-building and awareness campaigns (because they’re perceived as expensive and hard to measure)
- Keeping silos or holding to a linear process between your marketing, sales and digital teams (impeding collaboration and limiting the understanding of your customer journey)
To think differently:
B2B marketers can’t skip brand building.
Brand reputation is a key performance indicator for brand health. It’s also a critical component of acquiring new customers and maintaining brand loyalty in highly competitive, niche B2B markets. Your brand is your biggest benefit. It’s your foundation for differentiation.
B2B messaging strategies should be based on the benefits your audience seeks.
We recommend defining benefits and value right from the beginning. They become our beacon because they answer the pain points your product or service is solving for the target audience. Our approach also gets us closer to presenting the value your product or service provides in a unique and differentiated way to avoid the seas of sameness seen in B2B.
B2B customer journeys should align your media strategy with your messaging.
By eliminating silos and encouraging a high level of inter-department collaboration from the start, your data-informed customer journeys will pave the way to discovering new media mixes that drive awareness and leads. The result is a benefit-first, target-centric plan that we can build on and iterate from.
So, when you’re getting ready to plan your next B2B product or service campaign, don’t start on the safe road. Begin by defining the benefits and value you want to promote that solve the challenges of your target audience. Use your brand as the pillar to connect the dots. Do the hard work of integrating your teams and plot a path that applies data-driven knowledge of the customer journey into your media campaigns — ultimately resulting in a campaign plan that advances your brand and generates leads.
Need help getting off the road most traveled? We can help with everything from positioning to messaging and campaigns. Let’s chat. Drop us a line at [email protected].