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Nobody Really Cares About Your Products or Services: Learn Purpose-based Marketing

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Jim Stengel, the former Proctor & Gamble global marketing chief, left P&G and setup his own shop.

What is Mr. Stengel offering? Purpose-based marketing services.

Purpose-based marketing is a concept that shifts the focus from a product’s features to how it improves customers’ lives. P&G has successfully demonstrated the concept with its Pampers and Safeguard brands:

Pampers focused on helping moms raise happy and healthy babies; and

Commander Safeguard, a diarrhea-fighting mascot, dramatically improved soap sales in Pakistan.

While this approach might be difficult for B2C brands during an economic downturn, the trend, according to J. Walker Smith, president of market-research firm Yankelovich, is clear: Consumers want brands that have a purpose beyond materialism; they want brands that are more fulfilling.

For marketing consultants with B2C clients, you can apply this concept to your clients’ campaigns: Focus your messages on the ultimate goals of the consumer using the product, and attach your product to the story and content.

For B2B clients, this is more challenging. Many B2C trends apply to B2B markets, but since B2B brands have far more market touch-points, it’s tough to make an impact with a single campaign. If your client has an eight-figure advertising budget, go ahead and address it at the campaign level.

Since the majority of your clients don’t have these resources, try revamping your client’s brand strategy to establish them as a thought-leader in their field. Shape the brand to be more fulfilling to customer decision-makers, and to solve a greater problem. It could be as simple as shifting the brand focus to emphasize the overt benefits instead of features and functional benefits.

Content is a great way to reshape a B2B brand. Internet distribution makes this relatively simple and cost effective. Better yet, the content not only becomes a brand builder, but a lead-generator, and a catalyst for almost any integrated marketing campaign (which delivers buy-in from the sales manager).


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