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The power of disruptive brands

In the mid market world of B2B marketing, brand positioing is something that seemly gets over looked in the pursut for lead generation. I’ve spent many an hour talking to business owners about how they could leverage ‘their story’ to trigger a relationship with their target market.

B2B’s marketing journey really begins with the greta story, Something people can relate to. An idea. A belief.

In the world of social media, content marketing and inbound marketing, if your business doesn’t have core believes or stand for someting other than the roducts/service you sell no one is going to listen to you.

Let me give you an example.

I recently had a telephone conversation with an ISV who had developed an application for the hedge fund market place. The solution enabled investment managers to gain insight into their investment profile, key financial information and appetite for risk. They’d developed some rather natty tools to help give fund managers a stear to the investment they make based on their investors profile.

As you can imagine the MD was very excited about his effort. He couldn’t understand why his sales where so low. “How are you going to maket” I asked. “We have a team of eight sales agents” was his response. On closer investigation it transpires that his sales agents where grads with no expereince of the target market. His web site was unable to articulate why his solution was any different from any legacy CRM solution and his support material consisted of a demo and 3 slides.

I shared his enthusiasm for the product, but felt he had missed his opportuity to get his marketplace to sit up and take notice.

“Why did you develop this thing” I asked. “Because I thoguht fund managers could make better descsions if they knew who their investors where” was his response. I think it took all of 3 seconds to realise the value of his answer.

“So, you’re telling me you can help fund managers align their funds with their investors?… that’s powerful stuff” I explained.

Going to market with a CRM solution for IR managers isn’t going to get you far. Every IR manager will have some sort of CRM system in place that works for them (even if it is a spreadsheet). The power of this solution wasn’t that it made IR manager lives a little easier it actually aligned a fund managers with investors. That’s quite disruptive in a market place of legacy systems where everyone still talks about CRM.

My point of conveying this story was to highlight the importance of disrupting your market place with your brands message. here was a brand that was going to market with a CRM offer, it felt comfortable because their target market understood what they wanted to talk about – but it didn’t work. If failed to get anyones attention. Any when the sales agents hit the phones they could have a conversation about anything other that CRM. And guess what, the target market already had one thanks.

Every organisation I meet with has a unique story. Some are very good at expressing why they do it, others are not. Simon Sinek tells us that people buy great ideas, passion and belief and although that’s hard to digest when you have a pipeline to fill he give a number of examples where smaller companies have overtaken larger rivals because they put their beliefs before their product or service.

I think it was an IBM boss who said “You can only sell when someone wants to buy”. To this end your brand must undermine any legacy solution by creating a reaction. In this example “Because your fund managers need to be aligned with your investors”. This has the power to get your target market thinking. Perhaps looking at any legacy system in a different light, maybe it’s not that great, what if my competitors are doing this? This we interestig enough for me to share or even take a phone call, because I’m interested in what these people have to say.

We’ve seen it before. Remember Huddle? When Microsoft, Oracle et al where talking about collaboration as a feature to one of their many solutions, Huddle got behind ‘collaboration’ 100%, it became their brand, they owned it. They wrote about it (content marketing) they shared ideas on the subject (social) they challenged the market to think of collaboration as a new operational efficiency not just a feature you plug in and play. The truth is they competed with the big guy’s and sometime they won, because they came as collaboration experts not just technology specialists.

So before you start to invest in routes to market and a marketing activity plan consider this, is your brand positioning powerful enough? does it have the ability to make your target market still up and listen? can you get behind it 100%, writting about it, sharing ideas about? Does everyone in your company believe in it enough?

I’m often told that ‘Software isn’t sexy’ and ‘infrastructure is dull’ but I disagree. If you know why you’re doing something and you believe in it enough, there’s a unique story to share and excite everone you meet.

If your B2B tech brand is struggling to connect please feel free to get in touch. We’ll help you uncover your hidden story.

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