Insider Perspective

Is Your Proposition Inside-Out in an Upside-Down World?

At the moment, it can feel like ‘pivoting’ is a slightly overused term but, as businesses begin to rebuild, it is clear that many will need to reset their marketing strategies. Before the pandemic, it was not uncommon for organisations to centre their brand positioning strategies and value propositions around their products and services. Post-crisis, however, perceptions and expectations have changed.

A recent study by Forrester found that more than 40% of B2B marketers believe their brand promises are “inside-out”. In other words, these look inwards, toward the company rather than outwards, toward the customer. If there ever was a time to pivot your positioning and proposition, so that these focus on what your customer wants, needs and expects – it’s now.

New reality. New priorities.

Take a step back and re-evaluate your marketing priorities and broader business goals. This may seem daunting given everything else that is going on, but it is important to remember that out of chaos, comes opportunity and crises are often a catalyst for innovation.

It’s time to re-evaluate what is important to your customers and rethink what your business really stands for. There’s no universal solution. Every business has its own unique value to add in a post-COVID world.

Having said that, there are several forces shaping the future of B2B marketing that impact most brands; and these must be accounted for when re-setting your value proposition and re-considering your position in the market.

7 factors to consider

1. Look through a different lens

Right now, people want brands to be authentic and useful and helpful. So, it’s essential to shift your perspective and create a value proposition that reflects your customer’s reality. Sit down (virtually) with your customers and find out how the crisis is impacting them, what lessons they have learned and how they are resetting their own business strategies. Then re-align your approach around that.

Forrester found that more than 60% of buyers say that their buying decisions are influenced most positively by businesses that make an effort to understand their requirements and goals.[1] Clearly, customer-centricity is still critical – especially when this accounts for customers’ crisis-related concerns and needs.

The best approach is to reach out to your customers and engage with them one-on-one. This allows you to ask how they are feeling and build rapport so you can gain accurate insight into the challenges they face. Armed with this intelligence, you can create a more meaningful, customer-centred positioning and proposition.   

2. Share value with your customers

It’s impossible to ignore the reality that most businesses have been financially impacted by Covid-19. We are entering a recession that looks worse than the 2008-9 financial crisis, with the IMF predicting a steep decline in global economic growth, to –3% in 2020. [2] In the UK, the economy weakened more than expected, contracting by 2.2% between January and March, with all main economic sectors slowing down.[3]

In this environment, B2B marketers are under pressure from every direction. They need to be more accountable for offering value to customers; and they’re expected to contribute substantially to sales pipeline and revenue.

Fortunately, with a customer-centric approach, you can align these goals. As Harvard Business Review puts it, “pivoting is a lateral move that creates enough value for the customer and the firm to share”.

For example, an attractive pricing plan for these times of crisis shows you care about your customers’ financial constraints and you’re willing to make compromises to retain their business. Done well, this could increase customer loyalty considerably over the long-term.   

3. Businesses can help each other

The value you provide doesn’t necessarily have to be financial. A growing number of businesses are pledging their support for each other – with large corporates are stepping up to help small businesses. For example, Amazon is providing a support package for 200,000 small firms in the UK, the Visa Foundation has set aside $210 million in business relief funding, and Barclays has launched a 'Back to Business' toolkit for UK SMEs.[4]

Can your business uplift other organisations in your community – including those you serve? If you’re not in a position to help financially, be creative and think about how you can use your expertise and resources to support other companies. As always – your customers’ success is your success.

4. Be transparent and clear

In the current environment, consider making transparency a key element of your new marketing approach. Customers want visibility into the decision-making behind your pricing structures, supplier relationships and chosen sales channels. They also want to know what the market thinks of you and how you plan to keep the customer experience relevant. [5]   

And don’t forget to extend this transparency into your own enterprise. Once you have re-calibrated your positioning and proposition, make sure that all employees and agents understand these clearly as well as the rationale behind these new strategies.

If everyone is spreading one message and working towards the same goals, your customers are more likely to have a consistent brand experience throughout the buying journey and beyond.

5. Act on your promises

The quality of the customer experience – i.e. the way you deliver on your brand promise – is just as important as the relevance of your new marketing strategy. There is no point having a customer centric positioning and proposition if you don’t carry your promise across the whole business. Every customer experience at every stage of the journey needs to reflect your customer-centric stance.    

6. Let your purpose guide you

At a time when many people are questioning long-held priorities, purpose-driven marketing can be a powerful and meaningful approach. This involves building customer relationships around a shared value or vision.

Today’s customers care about purpose, and they want to know what the businesses they associate with care about and stand for. Could you reposition your brand and construct a new proposition around a collective purpose – one you share with the people and businesses you serve? 

7. Be flexible

The path ahead is uncertain, and marketers must be able to adapt their approaches to suit rapidly changing customer needs. The best strategy is to stay connected. Keep the lines of communication open and engage your customers in ongoing conversations so you understand how new developments impact them.

At the same time, be open and honest if unexpected events impact your ability to offer a consistent customer experience. Let your customers know right away and explain how you plan to minimise the disruption.   
 

Communicate your value in a post-COVID world


When you take the time to think about what your customers are going through and the ways in which you can make their journey easier, you will hopefully be able to pivot in a meaningful way.

Right now, customers don’t want to be marketed at. They want businesses to treat them as equals. Position yourself as a company that is empathetic, supportive, collaborative, flexible and driven by purpose – and you’ll be in a strong place when the economy begins to heal.

If you are looking to reset your marketing strategy, voice contact can create a strong personal connection that communicates your purpose in an authentic and meaningful way. It allows you to delve deeper to fully understand your customers’ needs and expectations and tailor your proposition to suit. To find out more about our voice contact services, get in touch today.

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