Marketing with a Clean Slate

flickr: bigbrand

photo cred: flickr: bigbrand

Over the past year, there’s been a number of articles preaching that b2b marketers should pay closer attention to how b2c companies conduct their marketing. It’s as if the author thinks they just discovered the Holy Grail:

  • Did you know that emotion plays a big role in b2b purchase decisions? So knowing these emotional drivers will help you be more successful in reaching the b2b buyer. Duh.
  • Technology has put control of the purchase process in the hands of the b2b purchase decision maker. (Marketers are no longer in control.) Double duh.

Luckily, Mobium has been talking about these things for over 20 years, along with a few of our smarter contemporaries. Guess we all just discovered the Grail earlier.

Consumer trends apply to b2b, too

Several members of the TrendWatching team have teamed up to write an intriguing new book entitled “Trend Driven Innovation.” In the book, they talk about today’s Expectation Economy which is “built on the convergence of three strands of customer expectations:”

  • Rising quality
  • Positive impact
  • Personal expression

These expectations give the buyer “significant power and control,” while business never seems to catch up to this “curve of accelerating expectations.”

Business-to-business marketers should read this book and think about how the identified trends might apply to their business strategies.

Clean Slate Branding

For instance, take their idea of a “Clean Slate Brand.” According to the authors, “traditional brand theory suggests that history and heritage are valuable assets that lie at the heart of a brand’s ability to attract and retain customer attention.” In today’s Expectation Economy, the trend says consumers “are now as attracted (if not more so) to unproven brands and organizations as they were to established ones in the past.”

The consumer expects these new, Clean Slate Brands to be “more trustworthy, ethical and simply better than the established brands.” In fact, the established brands (banks, fast food chains, big pharma) are now just another word for unsustainable, unresponsive, untrusted, un-this, un-that, etc.

A Clean Slate Brand is more than just a “new category” for the existing brand. It’s a brand that meets the expectations of the buyer through attributes that “are deeply embedded in their business models and practices from the start.”

As the b2b decision maker’s expectations continue to grow, b2b marketers should look at ways to develop Clean Slate Brands that are unencumbered by the legacies of their existing brands. That way, if existing brands can’t offer rising quality, positive impact or personal expression—or at least the perception of each—a Clean Slate Brand can.

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