In the last 10 to 15 years, digital marketing technologies have changed the way businesses interact with their customers throughout the conversion funnel. B2C companies were the early adapters of such strategies and today, we see B2B businesses adapting the same concepts to the way they market their products and services to potential buyers. For businesses in the industrial sector, like many other B2B companies, the adaptation of such digital marketing technologies is in its early stages of maturity. The Accenture Interactive’s B2B Digital Commerce report details how only a little over half of B2B companies have begun to implement a digital strategy in the last three years. This is indicative of how digital technologies are shaping the customer journey today and how B2B companies, including those in the industrial sector, must respond and adapt to these changes. So what does the future of industrial marketing look like and what role does B2B content marketing play in adapting digital technologies into your business?
How Digital Technologies are Impacting Industrial Marketing Today
Using Data to Capture a Holistic View of the Customer
If you look at it, customer data might not be much, but once processed into information, you’ll find that there is a bigger picture that benefits you as an organisation. In today’s business landscape, it’s important to know your customers well and the way B2B companies get to know their clients is often through interactions with agents and salespeople. But digital marketing technologies offers another way to get to know your buyers. The data that you collect (with their consent, of course), helps map out patterns in purchasing behaviour and how they interact with your marketing touch points. This comes in handy when your B2B business is conducting a customer behaviour analysis, defined by Hubspot as “qualitative and quantitative observation of how customers interact with your company,” which businesses like yours use to interpret economic consumption whether by consumers (B2C) or businesses (B2B).
Customer behaviour analysis allows businesses like yours to determine the different factors that influence a potential buyer’s purchasing decision, no matter where your customer is in the conversion funnel. Analysing such behaviour will help you gain insight on which industrial marketing strategies work for different types of customers. It provides insights on their priorities, motives, and decision making process, helping you understand where they are coming from and what exactly they need at specific points in time. All this information helps your business capture a holistic view of your customer, which will in turn support your B2B content marketing efforts.
Personalisation as the Key to Effective B2B Content Marketing
One advantage of B2B companies like yours have over B2C businesses is that B2B know their customers better than B2C. This is because B2B’s often have salespeople who are customer-facing, physically present to get to know clients more personally and allowing salespeople to personalise their approach and their services accordingly. So how does a B2B company like yours implement personalisation on a digital level?
Segmenting your potential customers is the first step to implementing personalisation in your B2B content marketing strategy. These customers are often segmented by demographics such as age, gender, location, profession, or by engagement activity such as which pages they’ve viewed or lingered on, which newsletters they’ve signed up to or clicked, and more. This information will give you a better idea on how to engage and retain such audiences. Hubspot recommends identifying the key benefit of each segment and their motivations for choosing your product and service. Determining your customers’ needs can help you anticipate these same needs in the future and determine how you can improve their customer service. The statistics for personalisation is compelling, as according to the B2B Digital Commerce report, as much as 33% of customers deserted a business relationship because of the lack of personalisation. B2B buyers already expect companies to provide them with a customer experience similar to what they already experience as consumers, so the time is right to adapt digital technologies to help deliver what customers want. After all, revenues from B2B digital commerce is expected to double by 2020—indicative of the rate at which B2B companies like yours are adapting digital technologies for an improved customer experience.
Understanding the Full Customer Experience
For B2B companies like yours, it’s important to understand that today’s customer is exposed to several marketing touchpoints, especially when it comes to digital technologies. It’s also important to see that these digital technologies are not only there to attract buyers to your brand. Surely, 61% of B2B transactions begin online, as buyers tend to do research via search engines and social media, but it’s also important to note that these digital technologies can help create a full customer experience. In fact, the B2B Digital Commerce report reveals that some 42% of B2B companies already have online-only loyalty programs set in place, while 35% have online training for teams and clients, and 32% provide incentives to clients who purchase online. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. Digital technologies can go hand-in-hand with in-person sales calls and service, providing clients with a friction-less experience that will make them want to be repeat customers. By understanding the full customer experience, B2B companies can determine the areas of improvement and roll out changes to address these. Moreover, understanding the full customer experience can help businesses develop better industrial marketing strategies and yield better results.
If you are a B2B business looking to improve your industrial marketing strategy and implement a B2B content plan, team up with a B2B marketing agency that understands the unique demands of the industrial sector. For more insights on how to effectively implement an industrial marketing strategy, get in touch with The Lead Agency.