Content is dead … long live experience
There’s a common thread to great B2B marketing initiatives that have a lasting impact. It’s to do with creating experiences that the audience can engage with. Which will be one of the main themes in my presentation at the B2B Marketing Conference in November.
How IBM owns “cognitive computing”
For example, would you rather read a whitepaper about big data, or watch IBM’s Watson wipe the floor with Jeopardy champions?
IBM put its Watson supercomputer up against the champions of Jeopardy, “America's Favorite Quiz Show”. When it won, it created a lasting story that instantly – and believably – associated IBM with leading the way in big data and analytics, and the whole new category of cognitive computing.
How O2 brought flexible working to life
Then again, how would you like to find out about flexible working? By wading through some research saying that it might save you money? Or looking under the bonnet at what O2 learnt from closing its HQ for a day?
O2 picked a day for everyone based at its Slough HQ (over 2,000 people) to work from home, or on the road, or at customer sites. The initiative created a year’s worth of content, from the planning and build-up through to the lessons learnt.
Does your business have the belief to do something worth talking about?
What strikes me about those examples is the commitment they show from across the business – not just in marketing. These initiatives link directly to the DNA of the business and are not just marketing creations.
Someone in those organisations decided that it was time to stop talking about what they do, and start actually doing things that are worth talking about. They had the guts to open the doors to their businesses and show why they truly believe in what they are doing.
I think that’s both an exciting and a scary place for marketing to be. It’s no longer enough simply to ‘produce collateral’. Instead, you need the commitment of the business to create an experience that customers can engage with.
It may even be that this evolution from content to experience heralds the dawning of a new era for B2B marketing and the advent of the long-discussed Holy Grail: the marketing-led organisation.