There’s no shortage of new media in today’s digital B2B. That’s not the problem. Our task now is to create new ‘languages’ for them. Mike Tennant explains.
Before looking ahead to the future of B2B, it could be highly useful to take a peek back a century and a half or so, to the days of Alexander Graham Bell.
After overcoming hundreds—perhaps thousands—of challenges to invent the first telephone, he found himself ear-to-ear with a whole new problem:
What to say?
More specifically: what do you say to signal the beginning of a conversation? Bell’s choice was the nautical term—“Ahoy,” uttered twice—“Ahoy, ahoy.”
Others, including Thomas Edison, favored a hybrid word—“hello,” a slight corruption of various British terms, including “halloo.”
In short, Bell created a new medium, but—as is this case with most new media—a language had to be invented to suit it.
It’s a concept that may sound mighty familiar if you were here, at Uberflip Experience 2016.
That’s keynote speaker and content guru Ann Handley, who made a persuasive and highly entertaining case for dialing up your brand’s tone of voice.
What B2B needs, she said, are three more ‘B’s. Content needs to be bigger, bolder and braver.
Vanilla, after all, is not a food group and it won’t be adding nourishment to your communications anytime soon.
Today’s B2B is the tale of two other realities—and both involve profound change.
One is the change to B2B marketing, enabled by a steady stream of channels and analytics.
The other is the rapidly changing customer, who is more educated and whose buying journey is becoming far more complex.
Through these channels and analytics, we’re getting so good at reaching the right people, but not so good at reaching people right.
Hence Ann Handley’s assertion that the biggest missed opportunity in content is… playing it safe.
So it’s up to us to explore this new content frontier, to take risks and explore new ways to connect with this ever-changing customer.
Get it right and soon enough your customers might be telling you, “Shut up… you had me at ahoy.”
At Quarry, I’m Mike Tennant for Fresh Ideas.
Mike Tennant is a bestselling author and freelance writer for Quarry.