It might sound facile, but we felt that not all agencies think about this enough. In fact, it led us to changing our brand promise to Unfair Competitive Advantage and introducing a new system for how we can bring maximum commercial value for our clients. Here’s the thinking behind it, and why it’s important.
B2B marketing teams face a world of increasing competition and commoditisation – crowded global marketplaces, the white noise of multiple communication channels and digital transformation allowing new competing products to reach market quicker than ever before. It’s never been more important to focus on core business value, but the barriers to developing strong marketing activity that boosts enquiries and sales have never been tougher.
In this context, the value of creative ideas that build emotional affinity between a brand and its audiences is increasing.
The opportunities for B2B organisations to own something different to their competitors – and build greater brand preference in spite of market headwinds – now more frequently lie within this realm than ever before.
The challenge we’ve seen in recent years is that not all businesses – in particular those in B2B – have grasped this. We liked the way Mark Ritson recently put it – that of late marketing has been focussed on “communification”, where the perceived value of the marketing department has shifted away from helping to guide business strategy and directly influencing commercial success, to a softer focus.
The kind of world that revolves around a blinkered focus on top of funnel metrics that can too easily be abstracted from business objectives. Sure, these tactics have an absolutely critical role to play in most marketing strategies. But in too many cases they are seen as an isolated, primary focus rather than one component in an effective mix.
We believe marketing can be a whole lot more than this. But it needs to concentrate on core business value – in other words creating a competitive advantage that a brand can realise tangible benefits from.
Brand saliency. Customer engagement. Enquiries. Sales.
That’s why we focussed on Unfair Competitive Advantage – it aligns with the value we’ve always brought to clients in terms of impact for their bottom line. As a team that’s a blend of folk from agency and client-side backgrounds, we understand there is an optimal, multiplying effect to be achieved in guiding creative and strategic outputs within a framework that’s useful to a business as quickly as possible.
Ultimately, we believe that brands should choose the agency partner they work with based on the value of the competitive advantage they bring. If the competition feel it’s unfair in your favour, then all the better.