If you work for a B2B company (hell, any company that sells stuff), and you’re busy selling or marketing 2009 initiatives, please stop right now and look for your value proposition in your messaging.
Believe it or not, it’s not the customers reponsibility to do you a favor and do business with you. You need to make it clear where the value is.
Take B2B media, for example. Many times lately I’ve received messaging and proposals from publishers in my market (I buy some media to market healthcare events). And it’s surprising that, in 2008, despite all the trying economic times, marketers (and ultimately management) at these publishers haven’t put alot of thought into delivering clear value propositions. Isn’t now the time where you have to make the case more than ever why someone should give you their money?
Yet time after time, there’s just something missing. There’s audience and ad rates and frequency — yet shouldn’t the “how this solves your problems” be in there too? Hell, shouldn’t you be asking about my problems before you give me any of that other info, to know if it even makes sense to give it to me? A sales rep sent me an email on Tuesday and led off the email with pricing discounts and frequency buys, before ever even getting to audience or even my goals and needs (never asked what they were). Not a recipe for success.
Same goes for any marketer. Why should a potential customer buy your product or service if you’re not telling them why it solves their problems, how it’s unique, or why it’s the best solution? More importantly, you need to be asking them what their problems are, and what trends affect them, what keeps them up at night — take a good, long look and get to know them, and then you know how to meet their needs. Too many marketers just dont’ do it. And never mind sales people — at least in B2B media, far too many are too quick to look for the dollars and don’t focus on knowing and meeting the underlying challenges their customers face.
Let’s all make a resolution to improve that in 2009.