Leading a Movement

What is the alternative to legacy B2B product marketing practices? How do you lead a compelling marketplace movement?

Be Remarkable: A Purposeful Rebirth of B2B Marketing

By David H. Deans

In the evolving domain of B2B IT vendor marketing, where technologies and solutions often appear to blend into a sea of sameness, demand for differentiation and market development impact has never been greater.

We must transform our go-to-market (GTM) approach. While this is not a simple task, it's a worthwhile cause. Enterprise customers are bombarded with similar offerings, and now a new paradigm is emerging — one that challenges IT vendors to be bold, brave, and remarkable. One that enables vendors to engage C-suite stakeholders.

The goal is simple, yet profound: don't just lead a Product category; choose to lead a compelling Movement that resonates with the core human emotions, fostering a connection that transcends mere sales transactions.

A Marketplace of Sameness: The Urgent Need for Boldness

As the business technology sector continues to expand, the proliferation of products and services has led to an over-saturation of the market. This phenomenon has inadvertently given rise to what can be termed the "marketplace of unimaginative sameness."

It's a place where IT vendors struggle to stand out from their peer group, resorting to competing solely on technical features, specifications, and price. However, in this sea of indistinct offerings, the skills to create differentiation become invaluable.

To break free from this monotony, Chief Marketing Officers and their organizations must dare to be truly remarkable.

The conventional strategies of incremental innovation and minor tweaks are no longer sufficient to captivate the attention of discerning customers. Instead, vendors must lead a compelling Movement, centered on value creation and business outcomes.

Becoming a Movement Champion: The Power of Purpose

In the midst of this challenge lies a transformation opportunity — to purposefully lead a Movement that resonates deeply with customers' emotions and aspirations. This is more than just a branding exercise; it's about aligning the vendor's purpose with the customers' desires.

A meaningful and substantive movement has the inherent power to create a shared sense of purpose, to inspire customer decision-makers and other key stakeholders to rally around a cause that transcends the transactional nature of business procurement.

Leading a pervasive Movement involves a fundamental shift in mindset. Instead of focusing solely on products and services, IT vendors need to spotlight the values they stand for and the business outcome changes that buyers seek to catalyze.

This is a path that requires a clear articulation of the vendor's mission, vision, and the positive impact they intend to create. It's about creating a narrative that resonates with customers, sparking an emotional connection that goes beyond the confines of a sales pitch.

Igniting Emotions: The Catalyst for Remarkable Change

The crux of leading a transformational Movement lies in the ability to ignite and nurture positive human emotions. In an era where automation and digitization are altering traditional online interactions, the significance of emotional engagement is profound.

Enterprise customers decision-makers no longer perceive vendors as mere providers of solutions; they are seeking trusted advisors and informed business partners who understand their needs and aspirations on a much deeper level.

Emotions have the power to drive customer loyalty, advocacy, and even unsolicited evangelism. When IT vendors tap into the emotional motivation of their customers, they create a lasting experience that leaves an indelible mark.

Whether it's the excitement of technological innovation, the reassurance of impeccable customer support, or the empowerment that comes from enabling businesses to thrive, these emotions become the bedrock upon which a unique Movement is built.

How to Attain Remarkable Marketing Transformation

The journey from being a legacy Product leader to a Movement leader requires a strategic approach that encompasses various facets of the marketing organization's operations. Here are key steps to embark on this GTM transformation path:

Case Study: The Proven Path to Movement Leadership

We offer a compelling example of IT vendor organizations that jointly transitioned into a Movement leader -- the combination of IBM and Red Hat. Facing intense competition in the cloud computing sector, together they recognized the need to transcend technical jargon and open source product features. They embarked on a journey to lead a Movement focused on "Open Innovation."

They systematically redefined their purpose, aligning it with the aspirations of businesses striving for growth and digital transformation. Their narrative centered around the idea that technology should not be a barrier, but an enabler of progress.

Through the creation of Thought Leadership content, interactive workshops, and community-building initiatives, they fostered an ecosystem where customer senior decision-makers felt supported and truly moved by the inspirational goals and objectives. And, they’ve published a book about a story of reinvention.

The emotional resonance created by their vision fueled the combined vendor rebirth. Customers that engaged with their Movement reported  a notable shift in their collective mindset -- across the customer IT organization and Lines of Business.

Some felt empowered to embrace fearless innovation, and confidently navigate market disruption created by the shift to cloud computing.

Call to Action: Embrace the Future of IT Vendor Marketing

In a landscape marred by IT product sameness and copycat vendor GTM strategies, the shift to be bold, brave, and remarkable is imperative. The IT vendor marketing organizations that embrace the essential transition into becoming Movement champions will reap the rewards.

As marketers embark on this journey, they have the opportunity to excel and grow. Who will rise to the occasion? The answer lies with those who dare to be different, those who choose to be pioneers, and those who aspire to ignite a lasting remarkable rebirth.

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