October 15, 2013

The big long idea

Warp with me and we shall break the b2beast down to its constituent enormousnesses.

Ever heard that? If by that, people mean one message won’t work for all, fair enough. But one idea can. And it better had, because if you’ve got two ideas for what you’re selling (or more in direct proportion to your committee) you’ll be chasing your tail while someone with a clear idea of their business steps in and makes things clear for your market. But the term ‘big idea’ is open to interpretation. The answer to everything lies in the question, what’s the big idea? that is, what’s the bigness and why does that equal goodness?

The big idea that solves all B2B’s problems is a multidimensional beast whose bigness spans Mindspaces, Mediaspaces and Time. We call it, the Big Long Idea. The ‘Big’ aspect deals with the space, the ‘Long’ with time. Warp with me and we shall break the b2beast down to its constituent enormousnesses. And, something B2B always looks forward to, there’ll be an example at the end.

First to the Mindspaces, also called people. How many people does your idea have to appeal to? Who has to be on board with the brand? This includes those in the decision-making unit but can, and should, extend to the brand ambassadors – those who work for the brand. Once you get to grips with that, you can start to appreciate the types of things your big idea has to achieve and can make calls as to the nature of your colossus.

Next to the Mediaspaces. If you went back in time twenty years and tried to explain to a B2B marketer the scale and complexity of today’s media choices, like Kyle Reese from Terminator, you’d be locked up and probed by psychiatrists. And rightly so – it’s bloody madness out there! As luck would have it you can narrow media down and make informed choices when you have the measure of the mindspace coefficient. You know what we’re on about, there’s only so much media one group of minds can cope with. Your big idea should be able to work effortlessly there.

The third dimension of our behemoth is Time. Have you seen how long it takes for people to make a decision in B2B markets? Hardly surprising if you consider the density of the average B2B website. And that actually reminds us of the whole point of the Big Long Idea. To clarify things for everyone so as to shrink the time it takes to actually sell something. It’s hard enough to ratify a decision like (random example) outsourcing IT for the whole of your business without having to work out what that actually means and why it’s a good decision. The decision-making timeline loves a Big Long Idea because, as customers journey from awareness to consideration to decision, a brand needs content. A Big Long Idea provides the golden thread that makes this content coherent and consistent.

If there’s one for the universe there’s one for B2B. And here it is, the big idea … ta-dah. Yes, the big idea is the answer. Simple and somewhat counter-intuitive. Especially if you’ve been taught the lesson that ‘Big Ideas don’t work for B2B’.

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