Whether it's B2C or B2B, people only want 3 things. Good marketing is just about demonstrating how your product delivers.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: Whether they're at home or at the office, making purchasing decisions for themselves or their company, people all want the same 3 things:
To make or save money
To do less work (or save time)
To look like a star
In other words, everyone wants money, time and love.
Great marketing is really just about demonstrating how your product, service or brand will deliver against one or more of these things.
Making or saving money
This is the easy one: Demonstrate how your product or service is cheaper, or will save the consumer money in the short- or long-term, and you'll have lots of customers. This is why Brita focuses on how many bottles of water you won't have to buy, rather than on the quality of the charcoal in their water filters. Works in all settings (i.e. whether the consumer is making buying decisions in a work environment, for family, or for themselves).
Doing less work or saving time
If you've ever had to sell anything in a corporate environment, you know that telling a roomful of people how your product or service is going to make their day-to-day lives easier by cutting their workload in half is enough to get you halfway to the close.
And of course I don't have to tell you that 95% of household product advertising is dependent on the old 'Our product will save you so much time!' chestnut. Like this one:
(Though I can't help thinking: If using a dryer bar instead of dryer sheets does, in fact, leave you more time to "think about what your boys are doing", you probably weren't using the dryer sheets properly in the first place.)
Looking like a star
This one is also known as 'getting love/admiration/recognition'.
In B2B marketing, this translates to a message like "If you use our product or service, you will definitely earn the admiration of your peers, the respect of your manager, and probably a promotion and a raise!" (We've all heard the old saying, "No one ever got fired for hiring IBM...", which is a direct reference to the fact that buying decisions in a corporate environment tend to be made not on a totally rational basis, but on how those decisions will reflect on the decider.)
In B2C marketing, this is really where 'branding' comes in to the picture, and we need look no further than the huge lineup outside of Tiffany & Co. at Yorkdale Mall this past Christmas Eve. I wish I'd gotten a picture, but trust me when I say that by 9am on December 24th, there were 250 men in line outside Tiffany's.
Nothing in Tiffany's was going to deliver against #1, and standing in line with 250 people definitely isn't going to deliver against #2. But giving someone a little blue box is practically guaranteed to make you look like a rockstar, at least for the rest of the day. Why? Because for lots of people, wearing Tiffany makes them feel loved/admired/the envy of their peer group.
Having trouble deciding whether a marketing message 'resonates' with the target?
Just ask yourself: Does it clearly demonstrate how the product or service delivers against the 3 things everyone wants? If not, you probably want to go back to the drawing board.
So I noticed a blog over on Head2Head'sRecruitSmart site about what looks like a great recruiting video which also functions as a good little branding piece:
Now, I agree that it's a great little video - having done a lot of work in recruitment marketing over the years, including the odd video, I know that videos like this can be great for the brand, great for attracting potential employees, great for building employee morale ("Look at the cool stuff we do!") and can become a great calling card when talking to clients about how you (and the people who work for you) really are different and better.
StepChange then goes on to explain their video with what looks to be a media release:
"Every major industry's saddled with stereotypes: lawyers are heartless, bankers are money-hungry and clowns are downright terrifying. So it's no surprise the advertising world is just as riddled with clichés and hackneyed typecasting...except of course that with every stereotype comes an element of truth. That's the thinking behind the cheeky recruitment drive of growing start-up consultancy firm 'Step Change Marketing' and their 'Wankers That Don't Work Here' campaign..."[that's just the first of several paragraphs explaining why they did the video and how 'edgy' it is].
This is where they lose points.
First of all, the target audience for this video (i.e. people who work in advertising) already knows all about these stereotypes and clichés - they don't need them explained.
Second of all, an explanation like this is sort of like someone telling you a joke, hearing you laugh, and then saying, "But, see, the frog put the hat on - get it? And then the duck took it off again! Did you get it?
The best work speaks for itself - it doesn't need defending or explaining, and if there are a handful of people who don't 'get it', well, they weren't the target anyway, were they?