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Over the past few years it’s become clear to anyone working in the B2B marketing space that we are facing a paradigm shift.
Globalization and the impact of technologically-driven convergence mean many of the old rules no longer apply. In today’s world “pushing” products and services on customers to achieve desired results is not sustainable. It is about building a customer-centric strategy that delivers relevant, useful messaging and content that creates value as early as possible in the purchasing cycle to reach company goals.
Getting to a point that is truly focused on the customer experience can deliver efficiencies, cost savings and grow market share. It normally requires adjustments to internal teams – whether it is in style and frequency of communication, realignment of teams and managers, or introducing new marketing technologies. It can cause some friction along the way, but it’s a crucial step to take. A comprehensive, company-wide approach is essential to delivering an integrated marketing and communications plan, and therefore delivering an optimal customer experience.
This internal realignment is particularly focused on the marketing, sales and business development teams. Developments such as social media and online user reports have opened up new ways in which B2B customers can interact with a brand – way before they even connect with anyone on the sales team. Indeed, according to insights from McKinsey (from an excellent report entitled, “Do you really understand how your business customers buy?”), a B2B customer will have at least six different channels of interactions with a brand, and will face frustration through the inconsistencies they will find within those interactions.
As we noted in a customer experience 101 company blog recently, it’s key to map out the customer’s journey and interaction with your brand by segment to highlight where these inconsistencies will occur. These findings can also help gain support, or at least acceptance, for why internal changes and a shift in focus may need to be made.
Ultimately, for all the challenges this new future represents, the possibilities are endless. Long before social media and the internet made companies much more transparent, many were claiming that word for themselves to help build trust and brand loyalty with customers. Now, by creating a truly customer-centric, integrated approach, there is an opportunity to galvanize employee efforts and deliver real transparency and consistency – and success.
If you’d like to discuss your B2B marketing needs, as ever, please get in touch.
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