In the drive to know their customers, marketers sometimes forget that consumers are living, breathing, three-dimensional people. And this is especially true of B2B marketing, when it sometimes feels like a monolithic corporation – not an individual – is making a purchase decision.

However, by stepping back and viewing customers through three lenses, marketers can begin to build a more thorough, cohesive and realistic image of who they are connected to. These three lenses are: Social media, purchase patterns and communications. Let’s look at each one in turn.

Social Media

The tweets, Facebook status updates and Instagram photos your customers share on social media says a great deal about who they are – and how interested they may be in your product. Using third-party analytics tools, marketers can access in-depth social data about their overall audience as well as individual customers.

Purchase Patterns

What has your customer purchased recently? How does it relate to your product? What are they talking about purchasing in the future? Understanding the purchases that your customer has made will show you a great deal about their interests, behaviors, decision-making process and more. And you can use this information to position your marketing and sales messages to more effectively reach your customers when they are ready to make a purchase.


Consider the number of customer service communications that your company deals with every day. If you are simply handling each ticket and moving on, you’re missing out on some great data. The communications that customers have directly with your company can provide insights into their place on the buyer’s journey, their needs and desires, what they would like to see from you in the future and more.

Making the connection

Each of these three lenses is powerful on its own, but when combined they offer the full 360-degree image of a customer that every marketer craves. For instance, a yoga mat company knowing that a VIP customer tweets about health foods is one thing. But imagine if that company also knew that they recently purchased a new blender for post-workout smoothies, and that the same customer inquired about hot yoga-specific mats a few weeks ago. Combining this information, the business might conduct market research into hot yoga towels and mats, or partner with a protein powder manufacturer to expand their market.

Unfortunately, some companies may be unable to link these three lenses because they have siloed their teams, effectively cutting social media marketers off from customer service and customer service off from the sales team. However, by connecting departments through their shared need to know the customer, these silos can be dismantled and a true understanding of the customer can be developed.