How to Promise Results

So much of b2b services marketing focuses on big, broad, attractive promises. You know the kind: “results that matter,” “better outcomes,” “delivering superior care.”

These are (emotional) end-benefits to the consumer and your competitors know them just as well as you do. That’s why you can find a number of competitors in say, the automotive parts supply industry, touting their innovation. Or in healthcare supply chain — companies such as Cardinal Health or Allscripts — touting better outcomes.

But what gets you the better results, outcomes and solutions? We talked about the real business at the heart of yours in a previous post on Xerox. The answer has to be some unique asset or system. And every company has one, delivering some unique benefit, or it would not be in business (or it will not be for long.)

Effective brands combine the promise of an outcome with a powerful story about how that outcome is delivered. A classic example is Avis and its “We try harder” campaign. In this case, the general promise of “better service” is supported with an expression of what Avis would have us believe is their organizational culture: relentless in pursuit of being the best. We believe the promise because we can tie it to something real, all those red uniformed employees trying harder than anyone else in the rental car business.

The challenge with b2b marketing is that it is all to easy to say “our products are our evidence.” Evidence of innovation, creativity or whatever else is being promised. So ask yourself: What created the great product or service?


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