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Differentiate On The CUSTOMERS' Issues in B2B Marcom

Category:
  • B2B Marcom
  • Last week I read an excellent post on FREIGHT DAWG: The Logistics Blawg, written by Eric Joiner. The post, titled, "Pure Genius: Southwest Airlines Baggage Strategy" discusses the reasons behind SWA's recent promotional project titled, "At Southwest Airlines, We Love Your Bags!".

    The post leads with a 30-second video commercial depicting SWA baggage handlers expressing their love (maybe 'obsession' is a better word) for our checked baggage. In the spot, these people simply can't understand why other airlines: a) don't LOVE our bags, and, b) charge us to ship our bags.

    While the ad is VERY amusing - and while it truly makes a compelling statement - it is the ensuing discussion (comments) that is really valuable. The reason WHY the discussion is valuable is because it reveals some of the stuff BEHIND a differentiation campaign. It shows us how it is easy for smart people to get bogged down in all sorts of corporate gunk. It depicts how we, as business, and business to business marcom, people, can lose sight of the customer and their experiences, feelings, needs, fears, hopes, and desires.

    As an MBA, I can appreciate the detailed thinking, the educated perspectives, and the keen analyses within each comment to that post. But, as a frequent flyer (consumer), I simply LOVE the fact that an airline expresses the same feelings that I do with regard to my luggage. I LOVE my baggage (why else do I struggle to schlep it with me all over the world?). I care about it. I don't want to pay for it to be mishandled, mangled, and misplaced. I want baggage handlers to care about my luggage and treat it with respect. This gets to human emotion - and THAT is powerful stuff.

    I know that this ad doesn't reflect reality (no, SWA baggage handlers don't really wave at my bags and call out, "See you when you get home!")  ... and still .. the ad makes me want to fly with Southwest Airlines. This is simply because they are differentiating based on MY issues.

    In essence, the SPIRIT of the campaign permeates both the consumers and the SWA staff. Now the baggage handlers know what is expected of them. The company is leveraging a capability against their customers' issues and telling everyone (employees and customers) what they strive to do.

    When developing your BtoB marcom projects, never lose sight of your customers' issues. Address them and you will be hitting the hot buttons.