The role of brand in enterprise B2B marketing can be a subject of debate (my friend Maureen Blandford even wrote a book “Branding Doesn’t Work in B2B“). With complex buying processes, multiple stakeholders, and a high touch sales process, how important is a brand? And what does that have to do with a woozle?
Woozle’s live in the hearts and minds of Pooh and his friends. And most importantly, woozle’s change behavior in the Hundred Acre Wood.
Like a woozle, your brand lives in the hearts and minds of your audience and affects behavior. The perception your audience has of your company is the reality of your brand.
To differentiate audience perception from logos and names (often referred to as brand elements) or branding (often referring to traditional advertising), we will refer to these behavior-changing perceptions as your Woozle.
The following questions have been pulled from the #B2BChat discussion on 8/24, modified to reflect the topic of this post: woozles.
1. Does your woozle play a role in closing a deal in enterprise B2B?
Yes, the perception of your company and offering is critical to closing deals. The buying process in some businesses is clearly defined, but it is not rational. B2B buying decisions are emotional decisions with a rational justification.
It is important to remember the interaction with your sales team, one-to-one, will have a tremendous impact on your woozle, but it is not the only factor. The perceptions someone had previously often continue to have an impact.
2. How do you maintain and build your woozle through each of the touchpoints in the enterprise sales cycle?
The experience your prospect has at each touchpoint is critical, these experiences shape and reshape your audience’s perception.
Your customer-facing team needs to understand your corporate values and adopt them as their own. Every team member must reflect these values in their interactions. If not, the damage can be staggering.
3. How has the role of enterprise B2B marketing changed with respect to woozles?
Your woozle was once created in a relatively controlled environment of advertising, marketing and sales. Carefully crafted messages were repeated in advertising multiple times and marketing and sales echoed the corporate message. With consistency and repetition, your message become the primary driver of your audience’s perception.
Today, with analyst content, media coverage and peer perspective quickly uncovered through a Google search, you no longer control the message. As a B2B marketer, you must accept new mandates:
- Be discoverable: Discovery allows you to present your perspective early in the prospect’s research process.
- Influence influencers: Ensure a positive discovery of your company or product when it is referenced by influencers (who are often more discoverable then you).
- Provide value: Marketing must deliver the value that has your audience coming back. Delivering value in your product or service only is no longer enough.
What are the mandates for B2B marketers today? Do you agree with the three listed above, or would you add or remove mandates? Share your view in the comments below or with me on Twitter.