4 items tagged "b2c"

  • A closer look into B2B marketing personalisation strategies based on MI

    A closer look into B2B marketing personalisation strategies based on MI

    Creating effective B2B (business-to-business) marketing personalisation strategies based on market needs and behaviours

    What is marketing personalisation?

    Simply, personalisation in marketing is using data collected about a target audience to tailor content, products and services specifically to them. The quantity and richness of data collected determines the extent of the personalisation.

    Personalisation in marketing has clear business benefits

    Appetite for this marketing personalisation is still strong today. In the Gartner 2018 State of Personalisation Survey, 87% of surveyed marketing leaders said that their organisation is pursuing personalisation. This is due to the clear business benefits associated with personalisation, reaching the right person with the right message through the right channel at the right time. The Harvard Business Review states that personalisation can lift revenues by 5-15% and increase the efficiency of marketing spend by up to 10-40%.

    Various studies have shown that there is an increasing gap between customer expectations and the ability of B2B organisations to meet them. For example, 98% of consumers have chosen not to complete a purchase because of incomplete or incorrect content pushed to them.

    Over-focusing on demographics means B2B personalisation isn’t as effective as it could be

    Thinking of marketing personalisation solely as a marketing activity is the main reason organisations are not fulfilling their potential. Despite investment in customer data, predictive analytics, and marketing cloud solutions, marketers forget the role primary market research plays in creating an effective personalisation strategy, through the understanding of needs and behaviour.

    Personalisation in B2B marketing can be broken down into three categories that affect broad and large-scale marketing activities:

    • Segment-specific – personalised by demographics (such as industry, organisation size, age & job titles etc.)
    • Persona-specific – personalised for specific buyer types
    • Stage-specific – personalised for a stage of the buying process

    When asked about the effectiveness of types of personalisation approaches used, three out of four B2B organisations stated that segment-specific personalisation is very poor, poor or neutral. However, despite the poor returns the majority of B2B organisations employ this ineffective approach to personalisation.

    There is a need to capture more behavioural information around needs throughout the buyer or customer journey. Stage- and persona-specific approaches to personalisation are more likely to be rated well and very well in terms of effectiveness. Yet only a third of B2B organisations utilise behavioural and persona-specific information into personalisation strategies and only a quarter personalise information across the customers and prospects position in the customer and buyer journey.

    B2C organisation on the other hand have invested more heavily into research for their personalisation efforts. When marketers were asked about the data and insights they have available for personalisation, 61% of B2C companies thought they had sufficient information compared to only 52% of B2B organisations. This under utilisation of persona and stage-specific information presents strong opportunities for B2B organisations to better meet individual customer needs and capture a competitive advantage.

    B2B marketers value personalisation but are not supported by the wider organisation

    Marketers are not overly satisfied with their performance when it comes to personalisation; only 12% were very or extremely satisfied with their performance.

    The main reasons driving this dissatisfaction were identified in a following open ended question and can be grouped into three key themes: lacking information to connect with customers on a personal level, lacking dedicated personalisation roles and a lack of investment. When further considering investment and spend on marketing personalisation, B2C are outspending B2B. 53% of B2C organisation expected their personalisation budget to increase throughout his year, compared to only 25% of B2B organisation.

    As a result of this lack of organisational support, B2B marketers feel that they are ‘'barely scratching the surface of what could and should be done'.

    Author: Joe Boag

    Source: B2B International

  • B2B and B2C: Challenging the traditional paradigm

    We often - and quite rightly - talk about the very real distinctions between B2B and B2C markets, buyers and decisions. However, the traditional paradigm of ‘B2B as rational’ and ‘B2C as emotional’ is being challenged by an increasingly strong undercurrent of discussion about the thoughts, feelings and emotions of B2B buyers and decision makers as individuals – not just as representatives of the corporations they work for.

    A B2B buyer is not solely an agent of the business they work for, and they do not exist in a vacuum. They are a human being with emotions, preferences, and a life that exists outside of their workplace. And, outside of work, they are a consumer. It is inevitable that our expectations as B2B buyers are shaped, to some degree, by our experiences as consumers in the B2C world. Therefore, in addition to the space that is being carved out for the ‘human’ in B2B decision making, much can be gained by recognising the ‘consumer’ as an additional influence.

    The consumer, as I’m sure we can all recognise, is faced with an overwhelming choice of products and services; able to order for next day delivery, at the click of a button; familiar with the ‘personalities’ of our favourite brands through prolific social media presence. These three elements of the consumer experience – access to a wider than ever range of options, ability to quickly and easily acquire products, and exposure to a strong social media presence – are all relatively recent phenomena, but have become so prevalent that many of us can’t imagine our daily lives and purchasing experiences in any other way. As the bar has been continually raised by B2C companies in terms of the choice, access and exposure they offer – so too have our expectations as consumers risen exponentially. For many of us, these high expectations will be translated into our lives at work, influencing our expectations as buyers in a B2B context.

    In her article ‘Too Much Choice’, Eva Krockow uses the example of a coffee shop to illustrate the overwhelming amount of choice available to consumers – Starbucks, she says, offers a choice of 80,000 different drinks combinations. Disadvantages of such abundant options aside (decision paralysis, disappointment or self blame) freedom of choice and maximum product variety is still very much expected by consumers, due to the liberal belief that making our own decisions will lead to increased happiness and wellbeing. Taking into account the aforementioned importance of emotions in B2B buying, it makes sense that the same underlying motivation and desire for variety also applies here – particularly when buyers are used to this desire being met when they are operating as consumers, outside of work.

    Furthermore, in the consumer sphere, potential stress caused by an overload of choice is partially tackled through the use of numerous comparison and review services – usually websites – to aid the consumer in making a choice. These decision making aids are not always so readily available in B2B markets – mostly because, by definition, the target audience for products and services is much smaller. One particular area where we have noticed this in our own research is in the utilities sector. While it is very easy for consumers to compare a range of utilities offers from different suppliers on one web page, this is not always an option that is widely available to businesses. The utilities being sold are the same as in the consumer space, the suppliers are often the same, and B2B buyers are used to quick and easy comparison in their lives as consumers – it can therefore be disappointing when the expectations they have built up as consumers are not lived up to in their work interactions. The disconnect between the B2C experience and the B2B experience is apparent.

    Convenience – including next day, or even same day, delivery – may be the most important reason behind the rise in online sales. While experts tend to believe that physical shops will continue, the decline of the high street is difficult to ignore – in the first nine months of 2018, 1,000 retail businesses went into administration and 85,000 retail jobs disappeared from Britain’s high streets.

    B2B online sales are also on the rise, and are predicted to reach over $6.6 trillion globally by 2020. However, many B2B companies remain at least ten years behind where they should be in terms of digital transformation. While it’s true that running a B2B ecommerce channel is often more complex than for B2C – due to B2B’s higher value sales, wider range of payment methods, and complicated catalogues – B2B customers increasingly expect to be able to buy the products they need through multiple online channels, and for those products to be delivered more quickly than they ever have been before – just as they do in their lives as consumers. However, websites of B2B companies are often digital catalogues, containing product information but lacking the ability to actually make the purchase online. Features of successful B2B ecommerce websites include showing prices to signed-in customers who have individually negotiated terms, inclusion of a 24/7 online chat feature, and the ability for customers to save a custom order in order to easily repurchase it. Features like this allow the B2B buyer to replicate their quick and easy consumer experience when purchasing for their business, while the additional needs and challenges of B2B ecommerce are still accommodated.

    There has been a significant amount of commentary about the use of social media in B2B marketing, with a growing consensus that these channels do have a place within the strategies of B2B brands. There are numerous examples of B2C brands with successful social media strategies – one being the baking brand Greggs which has become known for its humorous Twitter feed, most recently handling the backlash to its newly-introduced vegan sausage roll. But it can be difficult for B2B companies to see a place for themselves in this playful landscape. Outside of LinkedIn, which is focussed specifically on business, many B2B companies have a relatively low social media profile. However, and especially considering the increased importance given to establishing emotional connections with B2B buyers, social media is important as it offers a forum for B2B companies to connect more closely and authentically with their target market. Examples of successful B2B social media campaigns include MarketStar’s ‘The Evolution of the “Zombie” Lead’, which uses graphics and storytelling to engage its Twitter followers. Storytelling on social media is one strategy allowing B2B brands to maintain their professional image, while engaging followers with interesting content that reflects the brand’s personality. The use of engaging visual content, particularly on image-based channels like Instagram, can also be very effective for B2B brands.

    The differences between B2C and B2B markets will always be important, but there is much to be gained from considering the similarities. All B2B decision makers have a not-so-secret double life as a consumer, and it is inevitable that experiences enjoyed in the B2C world will shape expectations of what can be achieved in a B2B context.

    Author: Lorna Finlay

    Source: B2B international

  • Back to the essence of human-to-human marketing

    Back to the essence of human-to-human marketing

    While multiple sessions at this month’s Cannes Lions international festival of creativity looked at harnessing data and artificial intelligence, B2B International has been conducting some pretty interesting research into the role of emotion in business decision-making.

    The surprising fact is that in the process of choosing a supplier, when it comes down to deciding between the two final contenders in a pitch process, a very significant 56% of the choice comes down to emotional factors.

    Clearly this means marketers need to think harder than ever about building a human connection with potential customers. So it was very interesting to see at least one discussion at Cannes looking at how to combine the benefits of automation with an increasing desire for a one-to-one, completely personal service.

    Called ‘Human-to-human marketing in a world of technology’, the discussion featured Elizabeth Rutledge, American Express’ chief marketing officer, talking about the brand’s global marketing journey and how they are balancing technology with humanity.

    ‘Tech can connect us but also push us far apart,’ Rutledge said. She called for a ‘focus on digital empathy’ that is, making things more personal and fusing marketing with a real human touch. ‘The more relevant tech becomes, the more we value true, human qualities,’ she added.

    Rutledge’s philosophy ties in with the findings of B2B international's ‘Winning with Emotion’ research, particularly our insight that business-to-business communication is human-to-human connection.

    Tracking the full decision-making process from research to appointment, although rational factors such as an acceptable price, viable product quality and effective distribution form the minimum requirements necessary to enter and rise to the top of the consideration set, generating an emotional connection is ultimately what counts when the final decision is made.

    It is critical for suppliers to have a strong brand in which customers feel emotionally invested. Not only does it impact on the final decision, but 95% of decision-makers stated that even before contacting a supplier, feeling a sense of connection to a supplier’s brand is as important as feeling confident about what they do.

    Whatever they might claim about their logical thinking, there is also the fact that business decision-makers don’t simply leave their experiences as consumers at the front desk.

    SME decision-makers in particular, rely on their experiences as consumers when choosing a supplier. While 26% of enterprise decision-makers reported to have been influenced by their consumer experiences, 34% within SMEs reported doing so. Suppliers who serve both businesses and consumers should be aware of the synergies between their B2B and B2C offers and ensure an excellent experience and consistency across both.

    So how can B2B brands form better connections with customers? Here’s the strategy:

    Create positive word-of-mouth by delivering an excellent customer experience. Recommendations are important, so this can give potential buyers confidence from the outset in the suppliers they consider.

    Strengthen thought-leadership positioning to connect with potential buyers. Business decision makers reported that a demonstration of expertise via content marketing was the third-most important factor in evaluating suppliers under consideration. For enterprise decision-makers, thought leadership was even more influential (ranking as the second-most important factor).

    Clearly communicate your point of differentiation and sell on value because although B2B buyers are not driven by price alone, the value they perceive a supplier can add to their business is crucial.

    Build connections with the influencer network because B2B decisions are rarely made unilaterally. In 80% of cases, more than one person is involved in the decision and for a third of purchase decisions, a team of four or more is required. So, do aim to connect emotionally with multiple stakeholders (often from different functions) rather than focusing all efforts on the one person traditionally considered 'the decision maker'.

    Elizabeth Rutledge’s final remarks at Cannes were worth repeating: 'Go out and find the empathy', she said. 'Create real human connections one customer at a time'.

    It’s really something to think about. Human-to-human marketing is going to transform what we do in the most positive way imaginable: a brave new world we can embrace in good faith.

    Source: B2B International

  • Why B2B marketers shouldn't neglect B2C data

    Why B2B marketers shouldn't neglect B2C data

    Companies don’t buy goods and services, people do. And people buy for emotional reasons first. So, understanding what motivates people to buy is at the heart of learning why and how they consume. If you are focusing solely on B2B data, then you’re missing a critical piece of the equation.

    In the “age of the customer” where customers are in control, B2B marketers need to understand their prospects in new, sophisticated ways. This requires utilizing data about your buyers at work, but also outside of work.

    Typically, B2B data focuses on role and firmographic information. While B2C data can reveal information providing clues to the emotional reasons and process your customers use when making buying decisions. By combining B2C and B2B data, marketers can develop more relevant content and experiences that meet individual buyer needs. This is proven to increase the ability to contact and engage B2B buyers.

    ‘Integrated’ customer journey

    Customers know when they are being targeted, and often they don’t like it. Let’s say you have an insect problem, and you mention it to a neighbor. Next day a pest control salesman shows up at your door. While it’s convenient that the product arrived right when you needed it, you are naturally skeptical. You feel targeted. Modern day targeting strategy must be natural and non-intrusive. And data-led insight and context is required to achieve that.

    Meeting B2B sales objectives requires thinking big picture, beyond the business, to consider what’s happening in your customer’s life. Real people shift personas and uniforms throughout their day. From 9-5, B2B buyers assume their work persona. From 5-9 they assume their home, friends, family, and general B2C persona. Despite these shifts they are all integrated. What motivates and inspires, but also what scares a customer is essentially the same across work and personal life personas.

    How and why someone buys a specific car, house, vacation or clothing brand is directly related to how a person will acquire a server, services, or consulting.

    Let’s say your customer is passionate about a certain sports car brand. This could indicate that they have a more adventurous and aggressive attitude, which often translates to the same attitude at work. These insights can help B2B marketers craft messaging and offers that connect with these attitudes and leverage them toward their product.

    Cybersecurity for example may not seem like an exciting topic, but marketing it in a clever way can show the more adventurous consumers (who also make B2B decisions) that it’s worthwhile. HP’s campaign of movie shorts parodying the TV show Mr. Robot starred Christian Slater educating people about the importance of cybersecurity. It was a bold move that brought a lot of attention.

    Combining B2B and B2C data attributes are key to understanding the emotional and philosophical nature of your customers. When this is accomplished, messaging and creative and entices buyers to act can be created.

    Data-driven marketing

    Modern customers interacting with a company through different channels (store, website, social media, app) want it to be personal. Marketers who accomplish this across platforms will increase loyalty and trust.

    Data about your costumers must inform what you do. It’s not about applying B2C techniques to B2B marketing. It’s about using more data to become a better, more relevant marketer.

    Combining predictive analytics and machine-learning models with the millions of B2B and B2C data attributes we can collect about prospects nowadays provides the tools to connect 1:1 on a human level. Even better, we can use this data to increase B2B marketer’s ability to expand their reach.

    Connecting with customers is more complicated than ever and reaching them in a modern omni-channel world can be challenging. If you’re a B2B marketer, the first step is to use data to create a 360 degree view of your customer. When you manage to do so, you can reach more buyers with more relevant content and messaging in more mediums.

    Steve Jobs was probably right with this quote: “You’ve got to start with customer experience and work back toward the technology, not the other way around.” Incorporating B2C data attributes in B2B marketing gets to the heart of understanding your customer, creating tailored customer experiences and reaching them in more relevant media. And that’s definitely a good thing to keep in mind as you strive to improve ROI.

    Author: Collin Dayley

    Source: Insidebigdata

EasyTagCloud v2.8