By Steve Sullivan, National Sales Director

You’ve heard Hammock talk over the years about how marketing with content should never solely focus on a product’s features and benefits. We should focus on the solutions a product, service or treatment delivers. I heard that reinforced in a talk this week by Michelle Peluso, senior vice president of digital sales and chief marketing officer at IBM.

Peluso started Site59, a last-minute travel site, which survived 9/11 and then was bought by Travelocity, where she rose to be CEO. After C-Suite stops at Citigroup and Gilt, she now runs global marketing and brand initiatives for IBM―quite a resume.

Peluso emphasized that successful brands focus on a mission beyond their products. Nike (where she sits on the board of directors) does not focus on shoes and apparel, but, instead, it caters to the needs of the athlete in all of us.

She also cited CVS/Caremark, whose mission is to be much more than a pharmacy, and to serve the health and wellness of their communities. This goes far beyond just dispensing drugs.

And of course, IBM, which has turned its focus beyond computers and technology solutions, and stares down the world’s biggest problems. These successful brands, among many others, are focusing on tackling much larger challenges than the sum of the parts of the products they produce.

Shouldn’t that resonate with us as marketers? Large brands like these know this instinctively and build their mission statements around those challenges. Each serves as a great model for how you (and we) should approach our audiences.

So don’t just take it from us. Brands like Nike, CVS/Caremark and IBM are showing us what success looks like, and it’s not a head-down focus on peddling products. Having a plan for highlighting your ability to solve those problems will help your brand build this kind of trust with your customers.

(Image: Getty Images)

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