Nobody buys from people they’ve never heard of, or do they?

Back in the “olden days” when you would never get fired for buying IBM, companies spent a huge amount of money generating the brand awareness and brand trust that meant they would be considered as “an IBM brand”. Today, things have changed somewhat and people will buy from brands they’ve never heard of. There is, however, a big proviso in that purchase.

There has to be a very low level of perceived risk. Let’s look at some examples to explain what I mean.

Tertiary Brands

Back in the 90’s, the supermarkets started introducing what they called tertiary brands. These were the precursors to the value ranges that most of the supermarkets went on to develop. The tertiary brands were cheap versions of either branded or own-brand products. They would be very cheap and so, even if they didn’t taste particularly nice, you, as a consumer, hadn’t lost much. In the minds of the buyers of these products, there was a perceived monetary loss, but only a small one and so many people bought these products. They, no doubt, believed that the supermarkets wouldn’t sell anything that was that bad.

The Nokia 3310

nokia 3310With the Nokia 3310 making a comeback, it reminds of the days when that phone was de rigeur. Even in the days before Facebook and Instagram, you really weren’t cool if you had a Sony Ericsson phone. However, many people (including yours truly) bought something without the Nokia badge on it and risked what our friends would say. Personally, I rarely run with the crowd and so that was my main reason for not buying a 3310.


Amazon now enables 1000’s of brands that few have ever heard of to offer their products to the marketplace. There are very few products that you cannot find on Amazon.  In the same vein, Ebay allows us to buy from people we’ve never heard of, never mine brands.  £millions are spent every day on both new and secondhand products where we have no clue whether they are going to be any good, or even work.  Luckily for us, the peer reviews fellow purchasers provide allow us to reduce the risk in our minds before pressing “Add to Basket”.

So what do all of these have in common?

They met a need in the market at the time, either now or in the past.

Do you meet a need?

When a decision maker is considering purchasing from you for the first time, your marketing has to do the following:

  1. Show that you help them resolve a need
  2. Reduce the level of perceived risk to an acceptable level.

Reducing perceived risk

In a B2B market, price is a factor, but rarely the sole factor. The old adage still fits: “There is good, quick and cheap.  You can have any two, but not all three”.

Price is going to help, but to me the key factor is proof.  Show your target audience the evidence you have that shows you can deliver on their needs.

We’ll start looking at the different types of evidence next week..

I hope this helps

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