The curious case of déjà vu in B2B marketing

Reading time: 5 minutes
Author: Angharad Jones (AJ)

So, we’ve worked with a lot of B2B organisations over the years – from engineering to medtech to engines to manufacturing – you name a tricky, complex, specialist sector and we’ve taken on its challenges. Every sector has its peculiarities and the deep dives can get pretty deep. But being on the outside, bouncing from vertical to vertical, you have the perspective to notice a pattern emerging. Something that crops up enough that you shift from “huh, that’s interesting” to “we can’t ignore this”. So it was with the case of déjà vu in B2B marketing.

The déjà vu in a nutshell goes like this. First off, we start chatting to a new client – they’re a large-scale B2B organisation, they’re active in multiple markets, they might be a leader in their category, they might be somewhere in the middle. They provide an essential product or service really well. So we do our due diligence, and we look at their competitors. We flick from website to website, LinkedIn company page from competitor X to competitor Y. We watch half a dozen “brand films”. And the déjà vu starts. 

The stock shots of people smiling in offices. The techy circuit board images or timelapse of car lights zipping through cities at night. The corporate types in hard hats pointing at concrete blocks. The flat (usually) blue graphics, the reassuring (usually) condensed bold fonts. And if they’ve ever even thought the word “sustainability”, then the wind turbine photography. So many wind turbines. And it happens, the déjà vu has kicked in, we are lost in the sea of sameness. And it happens again and again. In vertical after vertical.

“Conviction is the life raft that rescues you from the sea of sameness.”

This is both a serious problem for B2B organisations and a huge opportunity. The problem is pretty obvious, right? But the opportunity? That’s worth talking about. Because when everyone is treading the same path, it takes so little to stand out. In fact, all it takes a little bit of nerve. The confidence to break out of the conventions. And the know-how to do it in a way that feels considered and right for your business. The courage to try something, anything, to show that you are not just another telco/manufacturer/engineering firm/accounting service.

And taking the first step does take courage. It needs to be built on knowing who you are and knowing all the ways you can prove that you are who you say you are to your audiences. At Keel, we call this conviction. And it gives you the direction to:

  • Show people you are more than just another big business in a specialist category
  • Create ways for your business to show its worth without a member of your sales team to explain it
  • Help you reshape your brand and retell your story
  • Shape how you share your mission in a way that is so sure and exciting that people can’t help believe that you’ll achieve it
  • And above all, stand out for the right reasons

Conviction is the life raft that rescues you from the sea of sameness. It’s the lighthouse that keeps you out of trouble. It’s the true north on your compass that keeps you on course and makes decisions feel exciting, not daunting.

B2B marketing might be going through an exciting leap forward – some brilliant businesses are starting to show their commitment and shake off the tired old conventions. But too often, you will still feel that nagging sense of déjà vu. Too often, great businesses are wasting their opportunity to stand out. And crucially missing out on ways to make sales journeys easier, more affordable and less dependent on the star power of the sales team.

The right brand and consistent communication can build credibility, understanding and trust before your team even make the first contact. The right story told well can reinforce intention, while you make progress. The right content can show that you are a leader in your industry, prove your commitment to your customers, and demonstrate that you share their challenges, ambitions and values. With all that on the table, why would you keep treading water in the old sea of sameness?

We'd love to work with conviction for you.

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