By Achim Klor
Seth Godin is the Peter Drucker of our generation. Since the 1940′s, Drucker was well-known for his management and business savvy, especially when it came to innovation and marketing. And although Seth Godin speaks of marketing in general consumer terms, a recent Inc.com post is chalk-full of fantastic insight that is just as relevant and timely for today’s B2B sector.
If you’re a B2B leader looking for innovative ways to connect with your market, take note of these five tips from today’s leading authority on marketing:
- Invent a New Market Segment – It’s all about positioning your product or service at the “logical extreme” of your product category. For examples, B2B companies creating disruptive technologies are heavily funded for R&D, but those that position themselves to be top-of-mind in that market segment will win.
- Exchange Your Sales Funnel for a Sales Network – There are thousands of ways out of the B2B Sales Funnel, and today’s market clutter makes it expensive to locate new prospects. So create products and services that are so remarkable that existing customers can’t wait to talk about them. And if you back up your great products and services with great content, they will talk.
- Market to the Trailing or the Leading Edge – B2B marketing involves long sales cycles and many touch points and impressions to eventually lead to sales. If your marketing confidently educates uninformed prospects (the trailing edge) or comfortably persuades smart prospects (the leading edge) that you have what they need, they will trust you. For example, “no one ever got fired for buying IBM.”
- Create a Story That Shows How You’re Different – This may sound airy-fairy in the B2B space, but storytelling is paramount for B2B companies to stand out in today’s marketing clutter. A compelling story that demonstrates how your offer is different and better from everything else that’s available provides your brand a platform to “earn” the right to sell. Have peek at SAP.com. They do a fantastic job of creating engaging business stories.
- Sell the Story Rather Than the Product – Business people tend to believe they make “logical” decisions. That’s only partly true because business people are also human. When a story is so compelling, we buy in to it whole-heartedly. Intel, for example, doesn’t sell to consumers, yet their brand story is so compelling that consumers seek out computers with Intel Inside.
Today, many B2B firms apply Godin’s ideas in their marketing strategies. I’ve mentioned a few already but others like Cisco and IBM have been doing this kind of marketing for over 10 years. Study them. They are not only participating in the conversations, they are also leading them and in doing so, creating valuable thought leadership and useful content for a business sector where sales are heavily dependent on lasting relationships.