Let me start by saying that I’m not a flavor expert, food engineer or coffee pundit. I am, however, a coffee lover and brand expert. So, when asked about my thoughts on whether the pumpkin spice latte and tea craze is waning, I had to give it some serious thought. After all, one can’t argue that pumpkin spice drinks haven’t been a smashing success. When first introduced, it was the perfect seasonal drink, bringing all the smells, images and experiences of fall to consumers’ palates. This alone requires props. Beyond that, there are still many pumpkin spice fans out there, but as with all things brand-related, staying fresh is the name of the game. That is, perhaps, the biggest hurdle for pumpkin spice’s staying power. It is beginning to feel tired and over-used. As such, it is time for coffee and tea companies to step up and launch exciting, new flavors that offer pioneering tastes and experiences to today’s customer.
Recently, I was on the phone with a prospective client. We were discussing our firm’s approach to the market which focuses on valuing the customer and creating a personal connection with them. As I continued to rattle on, I was interrupted by a question, “what does creating a personal connection have to do with a B2B customer?” I have to admit that the questions stopped me in my tracks. While my mind went to “because your customer is a human being and wants to be treated as a unique individual” regardless if they work for a B2C or B2B business, I realized that the question was sincere. It struck me then that in some industries, there is a perception that the goal should be to preserve a business as usual stance. The logic goes something like this: You have a product or service that other businesses need, you send them the sales sheet on all the benefits, and they make a decision based on those said benefits. The truth is that marketing has evolved – and, yes, even in the B2B world – your customers want you to understand their specific needs, value their unique wants, and understand who they are – personally. This is the reality, so holding firm to how things used to work quickly results in your company lacking relevance. No one wants that. Here are the top changes to the business to business customer behavior and how your company can utilize them to flourish.