“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” This quote has variously been attributed to Ben Franklin, Albert Einstein, and other wise men in history. Therefore, you may be surprised to learn that it was actually said by Jane Fulton, a fictional character in a 1983 novel by Rita Mae Brown – perhaps inspired by a 1981 Narcotics Anonymous pamphlet stating “insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results.” Regardless of who said it – or when – by this definition, most CSPs are off their rocker. Not only do they stick to the same schtick (long after the message has worn thin), but they do so in herds; block out the name and you’ll find that they have “the friendliest people,” and “the most innovative products,” with “the best coverage,” on “the most reliable network.”
This behavior is as understandable as it is ineffective. It’s understandable because there is comfort in the herd. Plus, it’s hard to let go of “tried-and-true.” Yet, it’s precisely this kind of messaging that holds companies back. Small, nimble CSPs fall flat trying to sound like old stodgy companies pretending to be nimble. This mediocre “me too” message permeates product collateral, sales pitches, value propositions, demand generation and social media.
The proliferation of social media and direct mail B2B outreach has turned the already difficult goal of reaching IT decision-makers into a problematic challenge. Product and company-centric messaging touting your wares, an ineffective track, to begin with, has no chance of cutting through the din. Busy executives with precious spare time are bombarded from every angle by generic claims and familiar themes that fall on deaf ears whose only effect on the bottom line is to increase costs.
Finding a unique voice to help you break through the noise and clearly articulate the unique value you bring to the table is not a trivial task. It takes some gumption to try a new approach (even when the old one isn’t working). It also takes some soul searching and research to identify your true points of difference which customers care about. Finally, it takes some creativity to package this message into a customer-centric story that resonates with your buyer at a rational and emotional level (yes, emotion! – contrary to popular belief, B2B buyers are not robots) and truly sets you apart from the pack.
It’s not easy, but it’s definitely worth doing. While 90% of B2B marketers say the leading attribute of content marketing effectiveness is “audience relevance” (Statista), the leading reason business buyers have limited engagement with B2B vendors (34%) is due to marketers sending them too much irrelevant content (KoMarketing). This seeming incongruence highlights the disconnect (and the opportunity) CSPs have for truly differentiated value-based content messaging in the B2B space.
Ready to try a different marketing approach? At Ronin Technology Advisors we have to think differently. We’ve helped clients generate traffic-stopping content for nurture and demand generation. Give us a call and let’s see how we can help you stay ahead of the pack with innovative approaches to traditional challenges. firstname.lastname@example.org or 303.678.1844.
Steve Smith, Senior Partner