The mentality of most B2B and B2C purchasers is to look for what is “interesting”. Interesting to them personally or for the company they represent.
What strikes the buyer, in their consideration phase, as interesting could include any number of factors. The buyer may be looking for innovative technology or a special offer; or they may be looking for something that satisfies a personal motivation, for business or pleasure.
If we take a ridiculous example, to illustrate the point. Someone looking for a new car may be seduced by the fact that a car has the steering wheel in the boot. “Aha, this will really make me stand out from the crowd, a real head turner; I’ll be unique!” concludes the buyer.
If this were a business purchase, the buyer may be thinking, “This software looks funky and is radically different from all the others; I like it.” Or variations on this theme across anything from the purchase of a new office printer to a major new capital investment or a professional service.
However, as in all good stories, time passes, and as the buyer moves steadily closer to making a commitment to purchase, another impulse starts to come to the fore. The impulse to pursue interesting wanes somewhat, and the buyer starts to ask themself, “Is it safe?”
In the case of the buyer considering the car with the steering wheel in the boot, they may literally ask themselves, is it safe? That is, will I be able to drive and survive!
However, the software buyer, B2B service buyer, car buyer and any other purchaser will be asking themselves the same question, is it safe? Convincing answers are needed to questions such as these:
The case reference hurdle has to be overcome as few are prepared to be first buyer guinea pigs.
The fear of making a wrong decision frequently outweighs the impulse to make any decision at all, so a company’s ability to satisfy a prospective buyer’s doubts is critical to closing business.
The reason why sales stall is often the fact that the purchase does not feel safe enough. This may seem obvious, however, it is scary that the prospective buyer’s decision not to buy, because of a lack of evidence, is made very early in the sales engagement, as we act on instinct a lot of the time.
The exploitation of buyers’ fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) is perhaps one of Marketing’s least proud initiatives. However, it was effective during the technology boom in the 1970s and 1980s and gave rise to the slogan, “No one ever got fired for buying IBM.”
Sure enough, IBM looked solid, dependable and safe. You weren’t going to be accused of making a poor decision if you selected IBM.
However, you don’t need IBM’s presence and credentials to look safe. In the days of internet research, social evidence and advocacy, creating authentic safe messages - based on compelling evidence - is relatively straightforward even for small companies and brand new products.
Conversely, established companies can lose touch with their innovative roots and start to look un-interesting. Today’s empty high street retail space is evidence enough of brands and companies who were safe, but were complacent and lost touch with today’s consumers, and therefore ceased to look interesting.
Companies have to stay fresh, reappraise their business models and take considered risks, in order to remain interesting.
You, your company and products have to look both interesting and safe.
FortuneWest explores and implements the appropriate balance of interesting and safe messaging throughout the lifecycle of a sale.
When a buyer knows nothing about your company or products, you have to gain their attention by looking interesting. There is no point in looking and sounding just like your competition, or becoming so-called “me too.”
A common sales decelerator is blandness. Explore interesting in its many forms: innovation, service, house style, personality brand, product appearance, packaging of products or services, dynamic rather than static promotion, cause-related marketing, sponsorship, special offers, even humour.
The key is to find a blend of interesting that feels right for your company’s culture and products, and is perceived as authentic differentiation by your buyers.
To maintain interest and build a sense of safe throughout the sales journey to purchase, FortuneWest adds layers of evidence to support the buyer’s impulse to buy and combat any doubts.
Fortunewest safe initiatives are designed to convey predictable outcomes and a tangible view of the future to make buyers feel safer.
Interesting-safe communications combine compelling presentation with evidence that converts sales.
B2B companies who take a fresh look at their brand relevance, and who differentiate themselves clearly from the competition, enjoy a measurable uplift in sales.
For an appraisal of your company's current INTERESTING and SAFE appeal and potential for development, please get in touch
The challenge of marketing for engineers and technology companies