Marketing teams are looking for every advantage to grow in a challenging business climate. B2B and branding spend was $35 billion in 2023, a whopping 58% increase from 2020.

There are three common mistakes B2B marketers make as they invest in breaking through the noise with a unique and differentiated brand message.

1)  The first mistake is that there is no big idea.   

Your big idea is a unique approach to solving a broadly experienced challenge faced by your target buyer.  Too often positioning focuses on the uniqueness of the product or competitive features of the product, rather than the market problem you solve.

Take the example of Ready Education.  They were positioning themselves as a communication platform for colleges and universities.  They focused on the fact that students no longer read emails or print mail and they touted unique features like customization and deliverability.

It was a message that quickly got lost among look-a-like mobile platforms and apps.  That is until they realized their uniqueness really came from unifying all campus communications.  The big problem was students were disengaging because of disconnected campus communications.  There were so many different offices communicating so many different messages, students did not know which messages mattered.  Ready Education could solve that.  

2) The second mistake is not personalize your big idea in your messaging 

Many positioning strategies are monolithic, assuming everyone of your buyers is the same.  But most products have multiple buyers and multiple buyer types.

For your big idea to work in the field, you need to take that big idea and version language to appeal to different buyer goals and roles.  At Ready Education, the Student Success Office was interested in how unified, personalized communication could nudge students to higher persistence. The Communication Office was interested in the way it could automate a lot of stuff their staff was doing manually. The IT Office was interested in reducing application complexity and cost and time on integrations.  Three offices, three messages for the same product.

3) You are not constantly validating value with customers

Your positioning needs to constantly evolve to adapt to changing customer needs, market trends and new entrants.  The temptation with branding or rebranding is to make it an “inside out process,” where you get smart executives and team members to redefine your competitive positioning and response to market challenges.

Resist that temptation.  Instead, like Ready Education, commit to an ‘outside-in” brand refresh every 6 to 9 months.  Capture new customer stories, then adjust your brand and messaging as needed.