B2B marketing: Why it’s all about a B2i experience
Marketing has changed significantly over the last five years and it’s hard to keep up, let alone get ahead. There have been many improvements in data analysis, testing, ABM, snackable content and gamification, but underneath this layer of playbook tactics, one fundamental element has not changed… marketing still needs to deliver to your business’s ultimate audience: the customer.
It’s about telling a cohesive story and making your customer its hero, which means taking a long hard look and updating our B2B marketing playbook.
The focus shift to B2i
B2B marketing is about the relationship between a vendor and its products. It can be a transactional selling experience which if not managed carefully, can feel cold and impersonal. Yet decision makers are people, not businesses, hence why thinking a bit more like B2C should make sense. They are all targeting individuals who each have motivations, priorities, affinities, and an individual buyer state which we all need to be attuned to.
B2B marketing therefore becomes even more powerful when we bring together the best of B2B and B2C marketing to deliver a B2i (business to individual) experience.
As B2B marketers, we have a big opportunity if we recognise our advantage — marketing is as close to the customer and prospect as the business can get. Our entire agenda is to understand the individual and build relationships rather than just making a transaction. With this in mind, it will also change the way we measure and think about our marketing approach.
The volume of leads, length of the sales process and time spent on your website are always going to be valuable data points. But these are outcomes derived from the goal of understanding which audience we really want to spend time with, what their motivations are, where they go and what they consume, as well as knowing what it is that gives them sleepless nights and what they need in order to be successful.
Getting to know our customers as individuals allows for the curation of content that truly resonates, using simple buzzword-free messages that focus on their personal needs. It also allows for better engagement with greater accuracy and frequency in all stages of their personal customer journey. Importantly, it allows for a much more powerful way to start conversations with customers — instead of just broadcasting what you assume your product or service can do for them.
Knowing the entire customer experience is essential to B2i marketing. A customer or prospect has many touchpoints with a brand, from pre-purchase to post-purchase, so it’s crucial to think clearly about the entire journey that your customer goes through. Each individual customer must be as important as the other if we wish to build and grow a relationship.
With a B2i approach, the result will be that every individual buyer feels that their needs are continually nurtured and valued. It becomes easy for them to access the right information, from the right source, at the right time, from anywhere — and the customer experience will feel unmatched, if not as good as any experience they feel in day to day life.
All in all, it results in the creation of an emotional connection and a relationship that will endure for a lifetime. After all, we want to be with our customer for their whole journey — and it’s our journey too.