Isn’t Your Company Intelligence Worth Something?
As I work with B-to-B direct marketing clients all over the world, I’m struck by how much knowledge they have within their companies. Specifically, I’m referring to product and application knowledge that is, or could be, useful to customers. It’s garnered from years of selling and servicing customers, and working in a specific industry or market segment. In fact, such intelligence is not just useful to customers, but it’s also valuable. Customers are willing to pay for it as it often saves time or helps avoid a potential problem. I encourage you to look around your company and think about what knowledge or intelligence you have that your customers would value if it were presented at the right time, in the right format or in the right place. By packaging such knowledge and delivering it when and where the customer wants it, you not only will increase the loyalty to your brand, but you also might find a new revenue source. This opportunity comes into very clear focus if you’ve had a chance to play with the new iPhone, which makes searching the Net on the go and portable video a reality. Other such devices are sure to follow; combined with the onslaught of useful and usable local content, including GPS and eventually voice activation, this only will enhance the emerging practice of getting information in any format when and where you need it. (Does this sound like Star Trek yet?) Searching the Web, reading an online document, listening to audio or watching a video on the go will become as commonplace as making a phone call on the go is today. (Incidentally, a recent New York Times article about text advertising confirmed that of the 230 million Americans with cell phones, half currently are using text messaging, while only 32 million use their cell phone to browse the Web.) You know that number will grow with improved devices and content.
Consider the following examples.
1. You sell sink waste disposals to plumbers and, for each unit you sell, you produce a short video and instructional diagram on how that particular unit is installed. Would your frustrated plumber, under a client’s sink, appreciate your intelligence at that particular moment delivered via his iPhone? Would he pay a small transaction fee to have it (in the language of his choice, of course) at that crucial moment?
2. You sell supplies to dentists. The sales of your supplies are dependent upon the dentist learning, performing and staying current with an evolving dental procedure. Could you hire a leading expert and sponsor a continuing monthly series of audio or video updates to train and update your dentist customers? Might you be able charge extra for that continuing education/service?
3. You sell office supplies. You know a lot about office organization and management and how it changes by company size or industry. Can you package that information as your own branded association or online university for office administrators/managers in each relevant market segment, charge tuition and confer certificates upon course completion? Would your customers pay for that?
You get the idea. Often, as B-to-B direct marketers, we don’t realize or underestimate the value of our information, knowledge and intelligence beyond that which gets “shipped in the box.” We often miss the opportunity to package or represent our knowledge in a way that adds to its value, and thereby miss an opportunity to increase customer loyalty or launch a new, intelligence-based product or service.
Does your company sell its knowledge? I’d be interested in hearing your example and answering any questions you may have. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Terence Jukes is president of B2B Direct Marketing Intelligence Inc., a strategic consultancy based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., that services clients in the U.S., Canada, France, the U.K. and Germany. You can reach him at (954) 566-4451 or www.b2bdmi.com .