Carly Simon sang about it and today’s B2B brand marketers are looking to deliver it. It’s our holy grail. Because once marketing becomes capable of anticipating a B2B customer’s needs an organization transforms from being customer-focused to customer-centric.
Being customer-centric creates a platform for brand differentiation that goes far beyond product features and benefits. A customer-centric strategy centers around unique experiences and brand defining engagements. Exactly the sorts of things that creates separation in competitive B2B categories.
At PTP we spend our days at the crossroads of technology and marketing. This is the heart of what we’ve defined as the “B2B Buyer Revolution.” The convergence of these two things has empowered the B2B buyer to make faster and more informed decisions. It also just so happens to be where creating customer-centric, anticipatory customer experiences are born.
While a customer-focused company spends time asking its customers for feedback, a customer-centric organization leverages technology and data to gain deep insights into behavioral patterns to anticipate their needs. A customer-focused organization creates experiences that make customers feel the company is easy to do business with; a customer-centric experience is unique, memorable and seamless across channels, focusing on the best solution that enables them to accomplish their task.
What is customer engagement in today’s B2B competitive landscape? Customer-centric marketing is a simple and easy concept to understand yet it can feel somewhat daunting to deliver. It requires commitment from the C-suite, diligent planning from your top marketing communications advisors, and precision execution from a team of subject matter experts. It may sound overwhelming, but don’t be intimated. Keep in mind that once you have the right tools and program structure in place the success you’ll experience will ensure that the program will become embedded into your organization’s DNA. Here are a few considerations to get you started:
- Establish benchmarks - Determine which metrics and KPIs are most relevant.
- Understand your buyers - Create personas that serve as stand-ins for different types of buyers. It’s a mental model that helps to see who you’re talking to and will guide your message, tone, content and imagery.
- Engage across multiple channels - It’s vital to not only be where your customers are, but to understand how your customers use these channels. Mapping out a communications architecture that details touchpoints across a decision or buying journey will serve as a guidepost for planning.
- Vary content to align to the buying journey - Different content is needed at different stages of the buying process. Be sure your content addresses questions and concerns in order to earn their permission to speak to them.
- Develop an informed campaign - Armed with the knowledge of your personas and the types of content that will engage customers across their buying journey, campaign development, planning and delivery becomes focused and engineered for improved outcomes.
- Measure - Without measurement, improvement is impossible. Using established benchmarks, applying analytics rigor will provide a clear understanding of ROI and the optics that will drive optimization.
Deploying customer-centric experiences that are capable of anticipating needs takes B2B customer engagement to the next level by creating an emotional connection. And, it’s connections like this that will result in increased share of wallet, profitability, revenue, and growth.