If you want to reach today’s B2B customer, you need to shake things up. That’s the message attendees of last week’s BMA2014 conference in Chicago got loud and clear.
“Take to heart the idea of finding what the world needs and then build it,” said Beth Comstock, senior vice president/CMO of GE, who like many of the opening day’s speakers stressed the importance of engaging the B2B buyer.
“B2B does not mean ‘boring to boring,’” she said. “Good marking is essential, whether you are targeting consumers or business partners. We’re all people and we want to be relevant and connect and engage.”
After the recession hit the building industry hard, USG Corp. had to reinvent its global brand to connect with its audience. James Metcalf, chairman, president and CEO noted that his team handpicked 40 leaders from every level of the organization and brought them into the loop shortly before the launch, empowering them to be advocates and cheerleaders for the revamp, centering around the tagline “It’s your world. Build it.”
“We wanted to bring leadership behind the curtain,” he said. “When you’re building a brand, you need to make sure everyone is aligned.”
Of course, disruptive marketing techniques like these aren’t for the faint of heart, said Teresa Poggenpohl, senior managing director, global image, Accenture, noting that the best disruptive ideas often begin life as unpopular theories.
Accenture’s biggest advertising investment is in airport billboards, that reach B2B travelers in a space often typically occupied by consumer marketers. Many executives with in the company resisted the idea, but it works for the brand. Conveying the same message globally lets customers know that they will get the same level of service around the world. Someone may take off from Heathrow and see one part of the campaign, and then land in Bangalore and see a complementary message.