At Matchbook, we approach B2B marketing a bit differently than most. We like to consider what works in the consumer market and do our best to apply those principles to B2B marketing. What do the best B2C marketers do best? Sell their niche. How do B2B marketers go about doing that? Here are our top 5 suggestions:
1. Find a price niche
What would your customers be willing to pay a premium for? Within your market, what can you offer at the top end of the price spectrum? Or how can you bill differently? If your industry typically bills by the hour, consider offering a fixed bid for project work or even a flat monthly retainer. On the flip side, what can you systematize and charge a minuscule amount for? What if you become known as the giant law firm that files trademark applications as fast as the online guys but with the clout and service you’re known for in the community?
2. Look for low-hanging fruit
What do your customers want that you (and your competitors) don’t currently offer? How can you take your service to the next level? Daily personal telephone updates? On-site service? Online project status monitoring? A project manager with an iPhone could easily post progress photos of your new building and status updates via Twitter. (Hint: This may be the thing from #1 that allows you to charge a premium.) At our office, the dry cleaner picks up our laundry and delivers it right back to our coat closet. My credit card is on file, and I seldom even see our trusty delivery guy. It’s like magic. And guess what? It costs pretty much the same as the strip-mall dry cleaner. Remarkable.
3. Before you try to look different, be different
Design and marketing professionals are experts in the art of creating something new and interesting. This works out great when you ARE new and interesting. However, if you’re really more of the same old, same old, it tends to backfire. The same goes when a bad brand tries to fix all its business problems by rebranding. It’s like putting lipstick on a pig. (It’s still a pig.) Arguably one of the best “brands” in history for doing something different: Barack Obama. He sounded different, he exploited his differences, and he did an amazing job of looking different. Now we get to see if he lives up to his brand promise of Hope and Change (again.) Not to mention, his branding and design work has been flawless over the course of his 2 election runs.
4. If you’re doing something different, be sure you look and sound different
Imagine this: You have designed game-changing, professional services offering. And now that it’s time to take it to market, you decide to mimic your closest competitor’s brand identity, design, brand voice, and advertisements. Given all of these similar visuals and messages, why on earth would anyone expect your services to actually be different, let alone better? If your aim is to truly be remarkable, take it all the way. Imitation in the world of branding is the sincerest form of shooting yourself in the foot.
5. Ask a trusted advisor
Chances are you’re so close to your own brand that you’re still a bit confused. You may have even convinced yourself that you’re well-niched and highly differentiated. Strangely enough, your competition is still there, buzzing in your ear. Now would be a good time to get a second opinion. Ask a mentor, a colleague in a different profession, or even an outside marketing professional.
One final suggestion
There is no magic recipe for branding, but there are definitely best practices. Download our brand strategy toolkit to get started on managing your brand today.
The Brand Manager's Toolkit
What every marketer needs in their toolbelt.