Frankly, I have three USB flash drives in my computer bag from various companies, I don’t use a mousepad, and I no longer carry pens with me all the time. It made me realize that if that partner really wanted to provide me something with value that would also impress me and make me want to use them more, they could give me knowledge. Not data, but the analyzed data, the visualization graphics and the concise conclusions that would help me be more competitive at what I do in my job.
That is a big lesson in the era of B2B content marketing and in a services economy where even companies with cool products need to define value add around their precious inventions. Think for a minute about Apple. The iPhone without the apps market is a nice phone, but with it, the phone is your on-ramp to the future. Just as important as inventing a cool phone, was creating the ecosystem that permits the phone to be more than a phone.
In our business, we do landing pages for clients. There are some powerful, credible self-service competitors in that space. Yet, we do pretty nicely. How? Not all customers have the knowledge, experience, skills or time to make their landing page strategy work. Nor the hours to evaluate the results and the commitment to continually be reading the trend data in the market to evolve strategy. Let alone the diverse domain expertise to optimize how to use landing pages in a complex, multi-faceted media plan. The services wrapper around the base offering (the landing page) is as critical as the offering itself.
Back to those USB keys, it is not that tangible incentives are bad. Sometimes they really hit home. But to really impact a customer, make sure you know what they really value. It may be that many of your best prospects value what’s in your head more than that branded gadget you can put in their hands.