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Mobilised Thinking – New Rules of Engagement for B2B Marketing or should I say B2P Marketing

With communications evolving markedly, the way we work now has changed irrevocably compared with even a few years ago, particularly with increased use of the mobile web. This has major implications in the way B2B organisations approach their communications – provoking a significant rethink on more traditional B2B comms channels. This is supported by two recent surveys, from Forbes and McKinsey & Co., that not only suggest social networks are now a key information source for execs, but also that ‘networked enterprises’ (web 2.0 fluent) enjoy a greater competitive share and higher margins. With more informal channels being used as key information sources by busy business people, there is a perception that a more human tone has emerged in B2B. As a result, many have started to refer to B2B as B2P – ‘Business to Person’ – reflecting the recent paradigm shift in the way the sector is being considered and how mobile and social comms have opened up more constant/personable communication between companies and their customers. As one industry pundit phrased it, “putting a relationship on the relationship”. These are the following areas that we feel are important for B2P marketing moving forward.

Keep the customer content

With the relative ubiquity of smartphones among business people and the ever-growing tablet market, it is no surprise that many are making more use of information they can access on the move. To this end, smart B2P companies will make sure key information is channel-neutral, so that customers can get what they need, when and where they need it. Typical information might include offers, business locations and also podcasts/video content. To this end, companies are also trying not to pull business people into cold, corporate environments, but increasingly using social media to give people what they want, when they want, where they want it.

Cutting through on the move

Recent media reports suggest a distinct decrease in email as the communications vehicle of choice. In 2008, business users were sending 140 a day, whereas now the figure is down to only 84 on average. Increasingly, email is seen as being for formal communication, while instant messaging on handsets such as Blackberry is gradually taking over. Also, group social media messaging will increasingly allow more efficient comms within select groups, versus the traditional all-staff email.

 

Open up data – open useful dashboards

With the increased fluidity of content that smartphones and tablets encourage, it is no surprise that many companies are looking for platforms that allow information and applications to be re-tasked across different channels (in tech-speak, ‘open APIs’ – Application Programming Interfaces). What we are likely to see developing in 2011 is an increasing use and perceived value in dashboards; business people becoming used to the convenience of infographics versus text-heavy data sources. Smart B2P firms will steal a march by not only sharing expert information, but doing it via formats that help people work smarter, not harder – to take out the information they need.