By Christa Kleinhans Tuttle
I recently had the pleasure of hearing Gerry O’Brion, a nationally recognized marketing expert, speak about branding and growth strategies that can be implemented regardless of budget. Addressing a room filled with entrepreneurs, he shared that the increasing pace of change in consumer decision making has caused the demise of many well-known brands, while smaller, entrepreneurial companies have thrived. Although I used ‘consumer’ in the sentence above, this same scenario is happening in the B2B space too.
As you think about branding for your business, have you considered what your “because” is – the thing that makes clients invest in you over everyone else? Taking a deep dive into what differentiates your business can set you apart from the competition and create a lasting impression for your brand. To give you a better understanding, I’ll describe how Launch Marketing applies O’Brion’s four fundamental questions about establishing your brand and finding your “because” so you can see how to apply these principles.
1) Who are your ideal customers?
Goal: Identify your target customers, honing in on who your business best serves while also generating the greatest profit and customer success.
Why: Knowing who your ideal customer is – and isn’t – keeps you in line with business objectives like increasing revenue and keeping sales and marketing efforts focused on reaching your target audience. It also avoids wasting time and effort on audiences who aren’t interested in purchasing your goods or services. When you understand your customer, you can focus on their needs and understand how your competition may (or may not) be addressing those needs, heighten your awareness of market changes and identify your most profitable customers.
How Launch Marketing Does It: Being in business for more than 15 years has given us ample time and experience to develop clear persona profiles of our target customer and accordingly tailor our brand messaging. Our personas include demographic information–such as age, job title and industry, as well as qualitative data, including pain points and key drivers for certain behaviors–that craft an overall picture of our ideal client.
In addition to using these personas to identify prospective clients at a base level, I always make sure to really listen to their challenges and stay current with industry trends. This keeps potential client needs at the front of my mind while helping the agency remain agile and proactive in making recommendations.
2) What are your customers looking for?
Goal: Identify your customer’s pain point, areas they want to improve and buying patterns – what kind of considerations affect their purchasing decisions, and how do they evaluate their options?
Why: There are many factors that come into play when customers are making a purchase for their business. Concerns about budget and timing, coupled with fears about spending money on behalf of their company, can lead to doubts and fears, such as do we really need this, or can we do it ourselves? Meanwhile the emotional side may be concerned with how the purchase affects the individual, such as whether the decision positions them for success within the company.
Businesses have a lot of obstacles to overcome when assuring B2B customers they are making the right choice. Understanding how your buyers make purchasing decisions, factors that affect their role at the company and communicating the pain points you’ll be relieving can help you overcome these objections and create a sense of trust between you and your clients.
How Launch Marketing Does It: If you ask our target audience what they’re looking for, they’ll likely say marketing services such as lead generation, campaign execution and outsourced efforts that will fill their sales pipeline, but most any marketing agency will promise that. What we are actually selling is exceptional service from start to finish – we don’t just say we’re metrics driven and revenue focused, we show it.
At Launch we use numbers to define our success – such as impact on revenue, number of increased MQL’s and SQL’s, prospect meetings scheduled and metrics on campaign successes – so that the information is compelling but also black and white in terms of results. We also always strive to deliver an excellent experience with every engagement, which has resulted in a 9.54 Net Promoter Score (NPS) out of 10, and a very high percentage of referrals and repeat business.
3) What is your outcome – the benefit you’re delivering to the customer?
Goal: Get your audience to understand what’s in it for them – the benefit they’ll receive from purchasing.
Why: When you’re presenting your business, it’s easy to focus on all of the great things you do, but are you answering the ultimate question your customer has – how is this going to benefit me? Take a look at your latest campaign, presentation or your website and think about how your messaging answers this question.
How Launch Marketing Does It: At Launch we live by our core values – to be accountable, responsive, results oriented and passionate about everything we do, which leads to delivering exceptional service. When clients know that we will be there for them every step of the way, it relieves the fears that come with investing in a marketing agency. Knowing that we are obsessed with results, and having the numbers to prove it, lets clients know that their investment is going to pay off in the end and show ROI.
4) What is your “because”?
Goal: Harness the one thing that makes you stand out – your unique value proposition – and communicate that consistently across all channels and platforms. You want to differentiate your business from the competition and stick in the consumer’s mind, enabling them to communicate what’s different about your brand.
Why: Every day people are bombarded by thousands of messages at every level of communication, from the logo on their morning cereal box to the billboard they may not mentally notice. In a world where messages are coming from every angle, there is still one thing that sticks in your audience’s mind – the “because”.
Once you’ve established your differentiating “because”, consistently communicating that across every aspect of your business is equally important. Everyone – from receptionist to CEO – should be using the same language to communicate exactly which problem you are solving for customers.
Your “because” needs to be a clear, defined aspect of your business that makes you special amongst all of the rest. When people understand your “because” in an authentic and memorable way, it helps compel them to tell others, resulting in the ideal situation – word of mouth communication, the referral consumer and ideally the repeat customer.
How Launch Marketing Does It: We execute on a lot of marketing efforts at Launch Marketing, but ultimately our success boils down to one thing: From marketing strategy to execution, we are a well-oiled marketing machine for B2B tech companies wanting to build a sales pipeline that kicks butt. When clients sign on with us, we take care of the many facets that generate the end goal – increasing sales and ultimately revenue. We approach this holistically in that we’re not focused on just marketing but the business’ success as a whole. A healthy company is a vital component of a healthy pipeline.
Your “because” is the unique, important thing that makes you different from your competitors, but it doesn’t have to be earth shattering. You likely started your business because you wanted to do something differently from the way others were operating, were drawn to join the business because of this different thing or saw a need that wasn’t being addressed by other offerings and created your own solution.
When trying to think about how your business is different, ask yourself some basic questions about how you came to exist in the first place. For instance, do you offer a no-pressure free consultation to help steer your audience to make the right choice before buying? Does your service come with a personal touch, such as free monthly assessments, that no one else is offering? Did you create a technology no one else had begun to even think about?
Finding your inner unicorn, communicating it effectively throughout your business and living it every day will set you apart from the rest, allowing you to strengthen your branding and, in turn, your business.