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31 Oct 2023

Why you should make a promise to the customer

Why you should make a promise to the customer

Brand has become a word that means different things to different people. Although marketers use the word on a daily basis, outside the marketing team the term is sometimes seen negatively. And for many B2B CFOs, it’s the first thing that comes to mind when they need to save costs.

How can we reframe the idea of ‘brand’ in a way that resonates across the C-suite.

One answer is to think of a brand as a promise to the customer. When done well, it is a promise that is made and fulfilled consistently and repeatedly to the point that the customer has complete confidence it will be fulfilled the next time.

The beauty of a promise of the customer is that it requires little work to understand and means the same thing to everyone. Its promoters suggest that it can be a wrapper for the key marketing disciplines everyone already understands.

Within the world of B2B, that notion of a promise is particularly relevant, says strategist and CEO advisor Roger Martin, one of the team behind the ‘promise to the customer’ framework. He notes that the relationship between customer and supplier is typically more personal, as trust is built over time between individual buyers and sales reps.

A Promise to the Customer is defined as a proxy mental model that allows marketers to deploy familiar marketing frameworks in a way that is much more easily understood by
the C-suite, other functions within their organisation, and customers themselves. A Promise to the Customer puts accountability to the customer at its core and delivers against the basic pillars of marketing: Product, Price, Place and Promotion.

Martin has worked with think tank LinkedIn B2B Institute and WARC, the global authority on marketing effectiveness, using the latter’s database of campaigns, to explore the impact of making a promise to the customer. The findings are clear: a promise to the customer is more likely to drive brand health, market share, and long-term sales.

The conclusion is equally clear: brands can create more effective marketing by placing an explicit promise to the customer at the heart of their strategy.

At the B2B Marketing Expo you can hear Mimi Turner from the B2B Institute and David Tiltman from WARC present the findings of a study of more than 2,000 campaigns to see what happens when companies build communications around a specific promise to the customer.

● Uncover why making a promise to the customer could be a more effective wrapper for the 4Ps of marketing than the increasingly misunderstood idea of brand.

● Find out what makes a good promise to the customer and how the approach delivered enhanced commercial impact.

● Understand why this approach can help boost effectiveness in the B2B space particularly.


Find out more about WARC here

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