If you think a customer centricity strategy is primarily for B2C businesses, think again. Customer Centricity is defined as creating a positive experience for the customer during the sales process. It is important to note that this includes pre-sales, point of sale and post-sale.
Recent reports have demonstrated that B2B companies which apply a customer relationship management strategy reported 31% more revenue growth. Another report highlighted between customer-centric marketing and lead generation, arguing that learning from customers can increase lead quality by 130% and boost return on marketing by 30%.
Therefore, B2B marketers need to work to build a brand that focuses on defining and/or creating customer demand, responding to that demand and then ensuring the customer remains loyal. While the relationship salespeople have with their customers is crucial in a customer centric strategy, the marketer plays a crucial role in defining that relationship, and digital marketing tools can be a great way to connect the sales and marketing team to the customer.
Here are 5 tips for implementing a customer centricity strategy via digital marketing:
- Perform "fun" market research online: The biggest benefit to customer centricity for marketers is learning from their customers and potential market. So, why do I call it "fun" market research? Let's face it, most people in the B2B industry don't necessarily enjoy participating in market research even if you offer them perks like gift cards, etc. Many think it's a waste of their precious time, others simply can't participate in research in exchange for a gift (company policy). So, why not create more informal marketing research campaigns online. Create polls/surveys and share them on social media in more of a laid back atmosphere. Your customers may be more likely to participate in the privacy of their home/office by clicking a few buttons rather than do a formal focus group.
Another, more discrete way of performing research online is through LinkedIn. Look through groups and see what your industry colleagues are posting and perform a content analysis to see what the hot topics and keywords are and use that to create your own content marketing campaigns.
- Use your blog to tell a story : Part of a customer-centric approach is getting your customers involved in the story of your brand. Use your blog to gradually tell a story of your company's history, experience and how it is evolving to meet market demands. Write on topics that reflect your company's foundation and expertise.
Some B2B industry blogs focus on technical content, which is fine because you need to prove your expertise in the industry, but don't forget to mention your brand throughout the blog as if it were the protagonist of the story.
For example, "Brand X understands the challenges facing our industry at this time. In a recent case study, we were facing the problem of...."
- Start a social media conversation: Start conversations via LinkedIn and Twitter. This doesn't simply mean posting in a group and that's it. Encourage people to comment by asking questions like "what is your opinion on this" or "would this work in your company". Be sure to reply if someone comments. Also participate in conversations already started. This shows customers that you are engaged and interested in what's going on in your industry.
As a "warning", be prepared for negative comments and how to deal with them. Part of the customer experience is dealing with when they are unhappy.
- Send considerate, not promotional email marketing campaigns: In B2B email marketing, promotional email marketing messages can stick out like a sore thumb, and more often than not, your audience will start to unsubscribe from your mailing list. Send email campaigns that focus on the customer and his/her potential needs. For example, share content your company has written but share it as a favor to the customer, for example "we've written this article which may be useful for any upcoming projects". And then follow up with "if you'd like to discuss further, feel free to contact me". This kind of message puts the customer in charge.
- Put a face to the brand and form a relationship: Get your employees involved in digital marketing - especially social media marketing. Too many times, the marketer is the only face of the brand and in a B2B environment, the customer sees right through it. When you get more "faces" involved in your brand, and LinkedIn is a great place to do this, the customer immediately feels a more personal connection to the brand.