PepperMill June 2014
There isn’t a day that goes by around here when we don’t give our clients great advice about their marketing investments. But what happens when Pepper Group looks at our own marketing?
Seems like whenever I, or any one of our ambitious and creative folks around here, get an idea for a new self-promotion, we have great fun playing out scenarios and dive into creative ways to take the idea to market. Of course Pepper’s keeper of the purse strings rolls her eyes and starts asking questions. Thank goodness! We need a governess.
Every quarter we identify our “rocks”—our big issues and need to be worked on so we can be a healthier and more profitable company. This year, we’re reviewing our own marketing effectiveness and investment level. We’re analyzing and questioning everything, including this newsletter.
The PepperMill has been a staple of our marketing for over 18 years. We’re proud of it and “feel” that it’s effective (and please, don’t be shy about chiming in about what you think). We have a running joke: “What’s the rarest thing in marketing? Newsletter number three!” The first seems like a good idea and you can take forever to conceive it and create it (kind of like a debut album). The second gets all the leftover articles from the first. The third becomes a victim of lost momentum and other things taking precedence—usually due to a lack of good planning and adequate resource allocation.
Not the case with the PepperMill. We’ve never missed an issue. Ever. And the first three years were weekly! Not saying it’s easy, but who’d want to break a record of 18 years? Plus, it’s good exercise for us. We get to share our feelings, expertise, culture, client projects and a few laughs.
On the subscriber side it never ceases to amaze us at the responses we get and the additional perspectives shared on certain topics, not to mention those people we met years ago at a trade show or at a networking event who contact us saying, “I met you two years ago and it wasn’t the right time to engage with you. But the timing is now right. I feel like I know you and can trust you. Come on by next week and let’s talk.” Bingo.
I feel pretty confident that our newsletter will make the cut because it is effective and the labor is shared, usually among five contributors and a designer, who spend a few hours each per month crafting it. So, how about your newsletter? Do you have one, and if so, is it engaging and effective? If you don’t have one, I highly recommend developing one. It’s a great balance of content that will touch each recipient in one way or another—leading to new relationships and new business!
|“||You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.”
—Pooh’s Little Instruction Book, inspired by A. A. Milne
|“||I find that a great part of the information I have was acquired by looking up something and finding something else on the way.”
—Franklin P. Adams
20th Anniversary Update
Our June adventure took us to The Smoke Daddy, Wicker Park’s landmark BBQ and blues landmark that’s also celebrating its 20th anniversary …
For many people, it’s a challenge to eat all their daily vegetables. Fortunately, Vegetable Juices, Inc. makes it easy. The company specializes in producing only the finest natural vegetable flavors and ingredients as juices, purees, concentrates, dices and blends. Since this is their 80th anniversary, they wanted to raise awareness of their leadership in processed vegetable products, and a fresh way to convey their natural, clean label goodness in print advertisements.
Starting with a brand platform, we developed a print campaign targeted to general and beverage-specific food manufacturers. The ads are based on the headline “If it’s not in here, it’s not in here.” To capture the freshest possible look, we held a photo shoot featuring vegetables against a clean, white background. The simplicity of their products is further emphasized with a clean layout and minimal copy.
Not only did the ads succinctly convey key messages, but the stunning photography and overall message says, “We may be 80, but we look just-picked fresh.”
– Amy Cannon, Marketing, Vegetable Juices Inc.
There’s something big that most B2B marketers are completely missing, and it has an increasingly profound impact on results.
Think about the marketing technology world ten years ago. The iPhone was still three years away. YouTube didn’t exist. And many of your customers were still dialing in to the Internet! Crazy.
Then think about humanity ten years ago. Has human psychology changed in the last ten years? No, not at all! Evolution is slow. It doesn’t change with technology.
But buyers today do behave differently? So what gives?
It’s simple. Technology hasn’t changed your customers and prospective customers; it’s simply enabled them to do what they’ve always wanted to do.
A groundbreaking study by CEB found that buyers are, on average, a full 57% of the way through their own purchase process before they talk to any suppliers. They’ve taken control like they’ve always wanted to. Technology has just enabled them. Think about these three factors:
We’ve always wanted to do business with people and companies that give us a good feeling (also known as brand image) and it’s increasingly important today. If a buyer doesn’t feel good about the company, they won’t waste time talking to a salesperson.
Second, it’s hard-wired in all of us that losses loom larger than gains. You’ll never get fired for buying IBM, right? In a B2B purchase, trust and risk-mitigation are incredibly important.
Finally, we want to buy and not be sold to. It used to be “buyer beware,” but now, it’s “seller beware.” Today’s buyers go into the purchase process fully educated and well-prepared.
All of this means that we’re emotional beings. Whether in B2B or B2C, your target prospect is still a person. So much of B2B marketing is dry and boring. For years we’ve advised our clients that emotion matters (spicy marketing!). And now the B2B marketing world is starting to learn more and more about this.
In a new study, Google and CEB found something incredibly interesting. Emotion is even more important in B2B than it is in B2C! And who led the pack? Cisco. Here’s how Cisco’s Senior VP of Marketing, Karen Walker, described it last week.
We’re thrilled that this research directly reinforces the message we share and the philosophy we’ve followed since Pepper Group started 20 years ago. The wall in our office says in large letters “We Move People.” Leveraging technology to its fullest potential is a given, but the more technology advances, the more important the human factor becomes. Communicating with a human being, not a “company” or a “buyer”—that’s what makes a B2B marketing investment truly effective.
Today, smart brands that are quick on their feet can connect with their audience in creative ways. Real-time marketing opens the door to all kinds of marketing possibilities. But the caveat is, you have to think fast AND smart.