This post is a question, not a statement. The question is how does one go about marketing a high-quality B2B product or service to customers who are at best price-sensitive, and at worst just plain cheap? Add to the situation that the product/service is a new offering, and the marketplace is already crowded with offerings that claim to be high-quality. I’ve already got a few ideas, but any suggestions/insights/experiences would be appreciated.
1. Branding. Although within this particular space every competitor already says in one way or another that they offer a high-quality service, their brand doesn’t reinforce the claim. Everything from their logo to their website to their messaging says they are fly-by-night operations. However, I don’t pretend to believe that good design and branding will carry the day when it comes to selling a product/service to cheap customers who tend to ignore good branding. Certainly it will help, but I don’t believe it will be enough for effective differentiation.
2. Reputation. Certainly having a good reputation and word of mouth will be effective, but not in the short-term with a new offering since no reputation has been established. However, just as I don’t want to overestimate the power of good branding I don’t want to underestimate how fast a reputation can be built, positive or negative, given the right channels for getting the word out, which leads to public relations.
3. Marketing blitz. Out of every 100 potential customers there will be some who will actually purchase this product/service without any more prodding than having the sales pitch put in front of them through some traditional marketing medium such as direct mail, outdoor, pay-per-click, radio, or TV.
4. PR / buzz. I’m a firm believer in PR as being one of the best forms of marketing when it is done correctly. I think the effectiveness of a magazine article can easily be 10 times that of magazine ad.
5. Partnerships. In my opinion the right partnership could be the best way to pick up new customers quickly. In this case we have already identified companies that focus on the same target customer and whose own products/services dovetail well without being competitive. In addition there could be a substantial benefit to the partner in reciprocal referrals.
Have you had any experience marketing a high-quality product/service to a low-end audience who says they care about quality, but who in reality cares a lot about price, perhaps more than quality?