Have you ever had to do something a little different to stand out? Once I was interviewing for a job at a major magazine and I was hell-bent on getting it. I knew the competition was stiff and I had to do something to be memorable. I called the marketing director’s office every day to check on the status of the position. Of course, I always got his secretary, who always said he couldn’t speak with me at the moment and took a message. She was a formidable barricade, not about to let me pester her boss with my impatience. So I called one more time, telling her I was his wife and that it was an emergency. (I swear this is going to relate to B2B marketing strategies, just bear with me.)
Bam. The gates opened, the choir started singing. I was transferred to him immediately. Luckily, he was amused and impressed by my tenacity instead of annoyed. It was my own little way of showing I was willing to resort to unconventional methods to solve problems.
In today's changing B2B markets, sometimes you have to go the extra mile to stand out. As John Rougeux, VP of Marketing at Skyfii, says in a recent Inc.com article, B2B brands often suffer from inflation and become devalued. Here’s how it happens:
"A hot new B2B space emerges. Then, as competitors emerge, market adoption increases. Latecomers eventually join and the market becomes overcrowded. With so many competitors, companies in the space increasingly compete on price, features and advertising budgets. The result is a highly fragmented market with much lower profit margins."
Two major ways B2B companies can save their drowning brand value so they can focus on important things like innovation and product development. Rougeux says to focus on these two things:
- Make a great first impression.
- Reframe your position.
Both of these are big-picture B2B sales strategies. A lot of moving parts have to work together to accomplish either. A prospect’s first impression could come from many different places, for example: from a word-of-mouth referral, a PPC ad, a social media post, a product review, etc. The trick is to unify your brand messaging with your brand values and make sure that same message is echoing in all the many places your future customers might learn about you.
Use incentives to raise brand value.
Incentive programs aren't just for offering rewards in B2B sales promotions. They can help you raise your brand value, too. With flexible, online incentive technology, here's how you can make great first impressions and reframe your position:
Great first impression
- Website integration. If someone’s first impression of your brand is your website, you could use incentive program integration technology to fuse your incentive program with your corporate website. Visitors can see from the main menu that you offer incentives or rewards. What’s that? Rewards for doing business with you? You must care about this being a mutually beneficial relationship!
- Reward stories. When people earn rewards, they enjoy talking about them. Free, positive word-of-mouth buzz!
Reframe your position
- What you reward and recognize your customers for says a lot about your brand identity. Are you a brand that sees your distributors, contractors and customers as part of a big family? Reward your VIP sellers and/or customers with a travel incentive – a family trip.
- Knowledge and transparency. Shift focus to what you want distributors, customers and contractors to know. Incentivize their education in certain areas. In safety, for example, or a focus on cost-effective solutions or environmentally friendly solutions.
Incentive programs are flexible tools that can boost your B2B marketing strategies in many ways. When you take a creative approach to B2B incentives, you can carve out a unique place for yourself in your industry, and become more memorable to your customers.