It’s been a few weeks since I returned from the MarketingSherpa BtoB Summit in Boston.
What a worthwhile event – a great way to be in the company of experts from MECLabs, Marketing Sherpa, MarketingExperiments and of course all the interesting and marketing-focused attendees, many facing similar b-to-b marketing challenges. I left charged up and equipped with actionable ideas to put into place at a variety of clients.
The Kick Off
One of the more interesting presentations was from MECLab’s leader Dr. Flint McLaughlin who kicked off the two-day event with a fundamental, central question… in business to business marketing, has the team taken the time to develop the company’s value proposition?
How telling that before the conference even delved into specific tactics such as social media marketing, web optimization, email marketing, campaign management, content management or other programs, the kick-off presentation focused on the issue of finding a compelling value proposition.
Here’s how Dr. Flint put it to those gathered that morning: “As a marketer, if your value proposition isn’t rolling off your lips, you already have a problem.”
This reflects back on the old “What’s In It For Me” perspective I’ve written about many times here in this blog. As Dr. Flint noted, the overarching question is:
If I am the “Ideal customer” why should I purchase XXX product/service rather than a product from your competitors?”
The question involves a deep dive into a company’s “ideal customer profile” and a customer-mindset. It involves taking a close look at the competition, and importantly, how messages are created, to see if they answer the most compelling force inherent in a product/service, a unique appeal to each segment.
There must be a compelling value communicated in each piece of content (web, email campaign, postcard, etc) and a way to differentiate a product/service from the competitor.
Don’t Start with a Logo
This approach takes work. And frankly, sometimes it isn’t fun. It can be easier to get caught up in tactical pursuits when kicking off a marketing program, like designing a new logo, brochure or website.
Dr. Flint provides us with a great reminder. It isn’t enough to be a tactical expert. It isn’t enough to focus on a new brochure, the number of form fields in a landing page, or the length of a direct email subject line.
It all begins with a customer mindset, and what would bring true value to that customer. Then, using various tactics and messaging, finding a way to identify what motivates the ideal customer to make a purchase choice over all those other options out there.
Fortunately, the team at MarketingExperiments has made this content available to those willing to take the time to review.
Check out their resource for more wisdom from these great marketing thought leaders at MECLabs, MarketingSherpa and Marketing Experiments.
Next time, a review of Kristin Zhivago’s day two kick off: cultivating a customer mindset, and her book Roadmap to Revenue: How to Sell the Way Your Customers Want to Buy.