Your competitive advantage, but why is nobody asking where’s the insight?
Consultants, media, and design agencies tell us to obtain more effective outcomes, create richer creative areas, and understand the many communications channels potential customers use. This article asks about your competitive advantage why is nobody asking where’s the insight?
Clearly, it’s essential to select the right channel, image, message, tone of voice, and so forth for your offering. But without creating insight by looking at your available and unavailable data and competitive intelligence, you are making a mistake. Flashy branding in the right channels is never a substitute for insight.
Look for the whole answer
This is where you expect us to go off on one about how to value data, and media analytics and the like is the answer. Well, it’s not. It’s part of the answer. And good old data is an important part of competitive intelligence. You must see the whole picture and look at what will happen next. Looking back may give you an idea, but it’s likely to be wrong in these changing times.
Experts and the accompanying data will have told you to invest your money in the leading crypto platform FTX. Yes, the same experts are now telling you they foresaw their end. Media love sound bites, and there are plenty of gurus to provide them with them. But what are the boots on the ground telling you?
There’s no significant difference in how B2B and B2C businesses get on with completing their objectives. They find the right channel and then deliver a specific message to those people in the channel. And then sell stuff to them.
B2B and B2C have different approaches
B2B usually has a more challenging job than B2C as B2B rarely does television and media advertising work as well for the sector. There are some exceptions, such as those terribly annoying “making tax digital” campaigns from Quickbooks, Xero, etc. And the aspirational banking adverts seen in the UK.
How the consumer purchases something is different too. In the B2C world, it’s established that consumers have to pop into a shop, pick up the item and buy it. Or go online with their phone and buy it instantly. Even traditional face-to-face sales are going online. Car sales and holidays immediately spring to mind.
But with B2B purchases, it’s usually more complicated and will invariably take longer, with negotiations, accountants and signings off from above and extensive contracts.
However, the main difference between B2B and B2C is that when consumers buy from a B2C company, they tend to know and understand what they are buying. They have already defined a need.
Chances are it’s a repeat purchase and not complicated to buy. Think of a loaf of bread. It’s a loaf of bread, and the most significant concern a retailer has is for them to choose them rather than someone else. And, of course, the bread is fresh and presentable, and they can get the product on the shelf. But you take our point. Even if you don’t like bread, don’t eat it; you’ll know someone who does. Finding that person to sell a load of bread to is simple. That’s simple, but like most things, unlikely to be easy.
More complicated sales message
In terms of B2B, the sales message is usually more complicated. So this makes advertising harder to do. Often some B2B companies are selling a product or service the potential customer doesn’t even know it wants. Or they need the service but don’t really want to pay for it. Lawyers spring to mind if you ignore the B2C market for this example.
Another difference that B2C enjoys is that, generally, more customers and prospects will potentially want what’s on offer. This gives a B2C retailer access to more historical data, which they can analyse for product insight.
Framing the problem, unearthing the insight, and identifying the problem the product can resolve become less complicated when you understand something in a relatable way. That’s what you get to thinking: everyone would love what you do, and once they know about it, they will kick your door down to get one.
But it’s likely not to be a life goal to own a company changelog, affiliate management platform, Autonomous database, cloud security solution, hyper-converged storage or a multichannel e-commerce platform. And it is not likely something you will buy every week.
Cut out the “me toos”
But B2B marketing teams need to create enthusiasm for their offering and understand how to communicate to their audience. To stand out from the crowd of “Metoos” by finding:
- What’s really important to customers?
- What keeps them up at night?
- What makes them smile and angry?
- What forces are influencing their behaviour (That’s Porter’s five forces)
Many B2B businesses struggle to differentiate themselves. This is especially true in fintechs and other techs, with “me too” messages prevalent. This is made worse when the longer it takes to negotiate a deal can result in lethargy. Getting the deal over time is more of a relief than a pleasure. Then there’s the product implementation, which can be troublesome, so once it’s working, it may not be suitable for them anyway. And users are bored and, at best, susceptible to the new widget. So the product gets left in the proverbial box, and the supplier suffers from increased user churn.
Wizzy plants and rocketships
Many companies have not got their message and image right. Think how often you see smiley people shaking hands on websites, wizzy planets, and, in our industry, chess pieces, rocket ships and sweeping free-standing data screens.
There are some excellent examples of B2B getting it right, but many businesses revert to bland, generic to keep in with what their industry expects. Rarely do they relate to the people they want to sell their stuff to? Tech companies are especially falling foul of using case studies or product demos. Not sure how much enthusiasm a tech firm expects from a sales executive who has done the same demo five times that day. 25 times a week. However, more often than not, for best-intentioned and keen sales executives, potential users can feel the repetition.
What is the solution?
Get closer to the people you want to reach, and understand that your business is not on the tip of everyone’s tongue outside your operation. You are not at the forefront of everyone’s mind. You should look at what your potential customers really care about. And we don’t mean greenwashing your products or jumping on the latest bandwagon or cause. Customers are starting to see through it, and it’s in danger of becoming very me too.
Drop the databases and the customer data you have or want to have. Stop looking for the what and try and find the why?
- Why do they need your products,
- Why will they click on your website, and
- And why do they want to pick up the phone? Indeed the opposite.
- Why do they don’t want to use your product etc.?
Finding the why will content your offering with those who will want it. Then provide engaging, edgy communications that make you stand out.
Boots on the ground
If you look at the data, you would think it was a good idea to open a shirt and tie shop n the middle of Hoxton. After all, the place is teaming up with businesses and business people. But sitting on a bench outside Old Street tube station will soon tell you (assuming you are not mugged) that no one is wearing a suit or a tie. Indeed, not enough of them to open a shop. Perhaps beanie hats and half-mast trousers, but that’s a different story.
Don’t rely on the data
If you dont use competitive intelligence and rely on data, it’s not easy to find out about anyone.
This is why you see statements like:
- We are passionate about customer service
- Our biggest asset is our people
- We provide an excellent service
- Free quote (did anyone ever charge for a quote)
- No job is too big or too small
- We create an automated system
- Efficiency is our middle name
- We help you grow
Now, which one of these statements would Domino’s, KFC, or Macdonald’s think about using to sell their food? It’s all lacking in emotion and, yep, pretty dull.
Get closer to connect
Emotional strategies have to be more effective within the B2B world. Finding the why’s allows us to get closer to whom we want to connect and communicate with.
They may be a prospect. But they don’t live in the office you are calling them from. They are not working with their family, and their business isn’t their hobby and pastime. They have a family and friends. All are from different cultures, generations, and genders.
So the best way to do this is to take a leaf out of competitive intelligence. Drop the spreadsheet and emails, pick up the phone, or go for a coffee and speak to them. Watch how they do things and determine why they are doing it.
Why competitive intelligence is important
Competitive intelligence is almost vital for the success of any business. For a business to survive, it must adopt a competitive intelligence strategy. Advances in technology and innovation, and you can’t lose track of what’s happening. Regardless of your company’s size, you will need to be aware of the changes in your environment. A failure to react to such changes could bear consequences. So this means that competitive intelligence is the number one solution.
Using this and other aspects of competitive intelligence will allow you to create a product somebody actually wants. It will enable you to develop a creative brief for your design agency to improve your communication with your clients and prospect. To find a new audience.
Your competitive advantage, but why is nobody asking where’s the insight?
Like all competitive intelligence, it’s all about getting better answers. Answers that create better and more imaginative solutions. It gives you an understanding of the best communication channels to impact people’s lives. To decide how you want to be seen visually, the messages and the tone of voice to present. And to recognise and put your offering into context. This article asked about your competitive advantage why is nobody asking where’s the insight?