Getting Digital, Staying Physical and the Future of B2B Marketing

It’s often said that we are in a time when “digital marketing” should simply be called “marketing” — and I agree with that sentiment completely. No marketing program can succeed today without a digital strategy at its core.

However, an event I attended last week reminded me that this truth should not discount the power of real space and real scale — in the physical world we all still inhabit — as a major part of the market experience your brand can create.

The event was Catamaran’s grand opening for its 24,500-square-foot Innovation Center in downtown Chicago. Developed as a space to engage, interact and collaborate with partners, prospects and clients, the center showcases an exciting combination of big data, interactive technology, multimedia content and unique collaboration tools.

The Mx Group collaborated with Catamaran for over a year to plan the experience and develop its multimedia content, including the showpiece interactive video, PBM 20/20. Displayed on a 20′ x 6′ gesture-controlled video wall, PBM 20/20 envisions the future of health care and pharmacy services 10–20 years from today, and illustrates the value that Catamaran’s innovation will bring to that world.

The grand opening event was a success. Well attended and full of energy, it even attracted the attendance of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who gave a talk on the importance of innovative companies like Catamaran to Chicago. Going forward, I believe the center will be equally successful as a place of inspiration and collaboration for everything from product development to new business to customer service.

After a year of working on the digital content, what strikes me most is the power of the physical way this content is delivered. PBM 20/20 is impressive on a laptop, but it’s unforgettable on a 20′ wall. Interactive sales presentations are one thing over a teleconference, but physically immersing prospects in your vision is incomparable. Invites to webinars are an important component of modern marketing, but invites to impressive spaces attract mayors and news media.

Someday, we may all live on the cloud, but until then, we can’t forget that customers still live and work in the physical world. And, as all-important as the digital world is, a Total Market Experience™ will encompass both.

Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel visits Catamaran's downtown innovation center

Interactive Table_Catamaran Innovation Center

Launch of the Catamaran innovation center in downtown ChicagoGuests at launch of the Catamaran innovation center in downtown check out PBM 20/20


About Tom Barg

Tom is the former executive creative director of The Mx Group. His expertise includes developing core B2B branding and messaging platforms. Tom is a graduate of Loyola University Chicago and received an MFA in medical illustration from Rochester Institute of Technology.