When asked what innovations in marketing most B2B marketers are adopting, more often than not, “social marketing” initiatives top their lists. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media offer a variety of ways to message to their target audiences. That’s great, but it may be irrelevant.
When those companies who make and sell complex products look at the world today, it’s a very different place. Dramatically reduced marketing budgets; better informed customers; 24/7 real-time access to information, more complexity in the solutions, and fierce global competition – these are the key challenges facing marketers today.
No longer is it sufficient to have a great website, nor is it sufficient to have a great social media marketing presence. Those are solutions to a different set of problems (how to connect with and share information with prospects and customers.) Creating a great slide presentation is yesterday’s solution – sit your prospect down and tell them, present to them, talk to them.
What today’s B2B product marketers need is a set of tools that will create a comprehensive, consistent, and compelling understanding of how their products solve their customers’ critical problems better than anyone else. That is extremely difficult to accomplish when the products are numerous, diverse, and highly complex. It is even more difficult to accomplish when the sales and marketing teams are globally disseminated and speak different languages.
Any solution to this problem must have the following three characteristics:
1. Engaging and interactive. In order to accomplish the intended effect of creating a dialogue with relevant knowledge transfer to the customer, he or she must be an active participant in the process (not a passive listener or watcher.) No more presenting or talking to the prospect; rather, engage and interact with the prospect.
2. Clear explanation (visualization) of how the products solve customers’ problems. Not a list of technical features. Focus on why the product solves their problem better, not its technical features or what it does.
3. Muti-platform/device (availability on all devices that customers, sales teams, and marketers use is essential to successful deployment); marketing budgets no longer support redundant and wasteful spending on building the same demonstration or video over and over and over again (for different delivery devices, in different languages, for different events, or to reflect updated products/solutions.) Now it is critical to build it once, use it everywhere.
The world has changed. Marketing problems have changed. Our solutions must also change.