Marketing Quotes: My Top 5 at Ignite B2B

A couple of weeks ago I took a day out for the B2B Marketing Ignite conference in London.  Like everyone there I scribbled down a range of marketing quotes to help me recall the key points I found interesting.

The thing I like most about conferences is the permission I give myself to spend time hearing new perspectives.  And the way my mind makes new connections with what I’m currently working on for my own, or my clients’ businesses.  Sadly, the marketing quotes usually stay firmly in the notebook.  This year, I thought I’d share them and what they meant to me.

  1. We are not a rational animal, we are a rationalising one.”  Rory Sutherland, Ogilvy.

The longer I’ve worked in marketing, the more I’ve become interested in psychology.  I used to tell myself I was a logical person – I now see how much of that logic is trying to rationalise what my emotions are telling me – my gut feel.  Brand positioning has as much, if not more to do with emotion than logic and one of the reasons I love marketing is that I get to be creative and analytical at the same time.

  1. People don’t want to buy from you any more, they want to buy into you.”  Paul Cash, Rooster Punk.

Paul’s point was that B2B organisations are built on selling and need to create more emotional experiences.  I’ve worked in some very sales-led companies and what I learned from the best sales people is how hard they work to get people to buy into themselves, before they get them to buy into the product they sell.  People buy from people, after all.

  1. Customers come with questions, not requirements.” Antonia Wade, Thomson Reuters.

I spent a fair part of my career as a product manager, then leading product teams.  Capturing and building requirements has been a big part of my career.  That entails listening to customers’ questions and getting under the skin of what problem drives the question.  When was the last time you asked your team ‘what problem do we really solve for our customers?’

  1. Your WHY doesn’t have to be for the benefit of society, but for the benefit of someone.”  Katherine Almond, Bray Leino. 

Halleluiah!  For too long brand purpose meant saving the world. I’ve always believed in having a purpose and that’s why I work with value propositions.  Very few propositions will solve global warming yet done well a value proposition will focus your business on the benefits it delivers for real people. And probably more than one of them!

  1. Build a business case for what you don’t need to do, not what you do.” Jo Duncan, Lean Content. 

My favourite business book of all time is still “Good To Great” by Jim Collins.  I’m a firm believer that choosing not to do something – even when it can bring you some revenue (but doesn’t fit with your core goal) – is the bravest leadership trait of all. I called my business ‘focused propositions’ for a reason.

These were the top 5 marketing quotes I heard on the day.  What are yours?  Whatever they are – take the time to think about why they stood out to you – and what they mean for your own value proposition.