1. Think Outside the Category.
I don’t think anyone would argue that it’s about damn time that this trend hit B2B. Business-focused digital properties have generally seemed to be predicated upon one flawed truth: when their customers leave their job at the end of the day, they unplug and store themselves in a closet where they experience nothing before returning to work the next morning. Think this sounds far-fetched? I can’t think of any other explanation for why digital in B2B has been so uninspired, confusing, and poorly designed in this golden age of user experience. No matter what your job might be, you’re a consumer when you are not working, and experiences like buying from Zappos, using a PS4, installing a Nest, or turning to the Starbucks app daily provide a window into the possibilities. I recently came across a good article detailing the value of responsive design for business-to-business, and that’s just one of many best practices that’s being missed.
2. Be First. First mover advantage is huge, and amplifies any marketing spend. You get to define where the category is moving, and that alone is going to make a difference in the mind of your customers. In short, fortune favors the bold.
3. Borrow the Cool. You don’t have to do cool stuff to associate yourself with cool stuff. Accenture doesn’t sell anything tangible, but their clients do. They are shameless about co-opting their interesting client businesses to make their business seem not just quantitatively innovative, but qualitatively better.
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The author is a bit harsh on the progress that digital is making in the B2B arena, and I believe the numbers prove this out. But I completely agree with point #2: be first, which means you have to have the time to discover technologies that allow you to be first.
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