And marketing’s NEW magic number is…. 5.4?!

There have been lots of magic numbers in marketing over the years – first there were the four ‘P’s… which evolved into seven, and have probably evolved again since.

More recently, CEB unveiled a new magic number: 57. This referred to the percentage of the B2B purchase process that takes place before the buyer makes contact with the vendor, and its revelation has had profound implications for B2B marketers.

Now CEB has done it again: 5.4 is the magic number in B2B. This refers to the number of stakeholders that brands have to convince to secure big deals. 5.4 obviously isn’t as snappy or iconic as four or seven, but the thinking behind this approach is highly impressive – as is the extent to which it has been developed into practical methodologies with the potential to drive genuine change.

These insights are contained in CEB’s latest book The Customer Challenger, which builds on the ideas of its highly successful 2011 predecessor The Challenger Sale. For anyone interested in B2B buyer psychology or how to gain competitive advantage The Challenger Customer has to be 2016’s must-read book. Its central thrust is that the personalisation of messages to individual members of the corporate DMU only serves to lessen the chance of conversion – a new approach is therefore required.

As ever for CEB’s output, it manages to be both authoritative and accessible, which is surely a rare feet for a business book. And, while not exactly a James Paterson beach novel, it keeps the reader engaged with swift pace of narrative and real-life examples of CEB’s work with B2B companies. It is certainly possible to get the gist of the central concept in less than the 288 pages, but in this digital, short-form world, it’s great to have the opportunity to get truly immersed in some new thinking.