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Perspectives

Are you building a brand or simply executing random acts of marketing?

By Brian Odell   

Random acts of marketing. It’s a term we heard a few years ago from a client. We were in our initial meeting with him and he was telling us about his marketing situation. He was animated. And clearly more than a little frustrated. He explained that even after the launch of some innovative new products, business growth was not meeting his expectations, or the expectations of management. Growth was positive, but it wasn’t accelerating the way they had projected.

As he went deeper into the story, he admitted that maybe he and his team weren’t as focused as they needed to be. He believed they were all very capable, productive and professional, but felt their efforts were much too scattershot and reactionary. They had all of the bases covered, but in retrospect he felt, it all didn’t add up. His marketing materials presented a consistent brand look and plenty of product substance, but he still felt like it was all just “random acts of marketing.”

As we did our analysis, we were able to confirm his instincts. Here’s what we learned: Although his campaigns and materials communicated plenty of product facts and competitive distinctions, they lacked a specific point of view and the emotional connection required to really move buyers to action. Despite lots of outbound marketing, prospects were still unmoved. The brand wasn’t making the required connection. Buyers weren’t feeling compelled to buy.

The answer, we proposed, was to stop communicating just rational product facts and to start engaging buyers in the brand. This meant redefining the brand purpose and sharpening the brand promise. By “purpose,” we meant the company’s essential reason for being that connects and motivates all of the people a business touches, from employees to customers. It had to be something that spoke directly to their emotions, hopes, dreams and values. It had to be more human.

Ultimately, for our client, we were able to find a purpose that connected them to a primary force driving their industry – the transition from analog technology to digital technology. They became an industry crusader. They immersed themselves in the conversation. And took a leadership role.

For their promise, we started promoting them as the company that offered the most business benefits – talking about transformation instead of just technology.

Of course, the solution also involved building the organizational culture around the brand purpose and its promise – and delivering a distinctive customer experience. These were crucial to success.

Today, this client still executes a lot of the same tactics, but now everything relates back to the purpose and the promise. There’s nothing random about their marketing efforts. Most importantly, business growth has consistently exceeded expectations.

If “random acts of marketing” resonates with you, then maybe what you could use is a little purpose, and a better promise to have it all make sense. We can help.

Brian Odell

About Author

Brian Odell

30+ year veteran of B2B branding and marketing communications. Started out as a technical copywriter. Worked in PR. Eventually moved to account service. Founded Catalyst to serve B2B marketers looking for ways to leverage their brand as the stimulus for company transformation. Lots of experience, but definitely new age when it comes to brand strategy and activation.

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