If there is one big mistake that B2Bs make, it is their over-scrutinizing of large vanity metrics when in reality they could do much better by focusing on single meaningful connections. When it comes it B2B, we’re talking big numbers–bigger investments and greater revenue generation, quite unlike the B2C companies. Naturally, both of them would follow different marketing strategies, or so we think. Don Peppers and Martha Rogers in their book One to One B2B: Customer Development Strategies for the Business-to-Business World have discussed how B2B companies can adapt themselves to follow the 1:1 marketing model, a strategy that is more of a B2C concept.
What is the scope of 1:1 marketing within the B2B framework?
1:1 marketing is a method of assessing customers’ preferences and choices based on a personalized interaction with them. Therefore, a successful implementation of the 1:1 model requires B2B companies to rev up their customer relationship efforts. Building a long-term and sustainable relationship is at the root of using one-on-one model in the best way possible. Undoubtedly, the customer management in B2B is a long-drawn procedure where efforts have to be made over a longer period of time.
How to focus on 1:1 marketing?
While 1:1 marketing is a different ball game for B2B organizations, there are ways in which you can use this model to further your marketing goals. Here are some of the ways in which you can do so:
- Build relationships: B2B companies need to develop and nurture their relationships with the business customer as an overall organization. It’s equally important for B2B organizations (and their sales and marketing teams) to concurrently work to develop relationships with individuals from different relevant departments of the customer organization as well. People buy from people they like. People buy from companies they like. There’s no easy button for this, but it’s not hard. You just need to care enough to want to build relationships.
- Focus on individual customers: A B2B company typically has fewer, but larger, accounts. So, there’s a greater need to take up each customer individually and assess their needs, values, and expectations. The same is here as relationship building in general. Each customer is different, their needs are different, their pain points are different. Marketers (and sales teams) need to understand that, and treat those customers as individuals. That will make all the difference in the world.
- Manage customers in-between purchases: A single B2B customer is often worth a million dollars. The sales cycles are longer and there are longer gaps between purchases. A B2B company has to manage, touch, educate, and serve their customers–even during these periods of frequent lulls. This is a challenging (and often overlooked) thing to do, unless you have a strong customer management team to create strategies to make use of these intervals. This is where email campaigns and social media come into play. This is also a great example of where your content marketing efforts can really pay off.
- Help customers to manage their business: B2B businesses can gain a lot from helping their customers solve important business problems, not just within the area of their services, but also beyond it. This could be a key component of a B2B company’s content marketing efforts—developing content designed to assist customers in one or more ways to manage and grow their businesses, or offer helpful guidance. This is not brand-centric content, it’s content that’s designed to serve the customer. And it can have a huge impact in overall brand sentiment, how trustworthy the customer feels the brand is, and ultimately how the customer might rely on the brand as a trusted source of information on industry trends, business growth, and profitability.
As we are heading towards a business environment that prioritizes relationships and value-adding propensity of a business organization, success or failure of B2B companies will depend largely on their ability to forge one-on-one relationships with their customers. The faster they adopt the 1:1 marketing structure, the better they will be at meeting their collective business goals.
Have you incorporated the one-on-one model within your marketing infrastructure? What results have you seen?
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