Marketing strategies to survive and thrive in today’s highly dynamic business environment.
Part 1: Today’s Environment
In order to be successful selling to businesses, it is important to recognize the role of the individual. It is all too easy to lose sight of the fact that organizations – from small businesses to global corporations – are comprised of groups of people with not much more in common than the shared enterprise called “work” that brings them together 40 or so hours each week. Allowing for 8 hours of sleep each night, there remains 112 waking hours each week to devote to things other than work. How we fill our non-working waking hours provides important clues to what motivates, inspires, and defines us as people.
Whereas the workplace used to be the primary location that cutting edge technology was encountered, decades of increasing power and miniaturization and decreasing cost have driven highly sophisticated technologies into every facet of life – extending far beyond the workplace, to virtually every place an individual spends their time. Experiences online and increasingly offline include an information-driven component that is tailored to an individual’s preferences. As a result, we expect a level of customization commensurate with our history of visiting and interacting with people, places and things of interest.
What are the implications of this pervasive, highly personalized world of information in the context of business-to-business marketing?
- There is a melding of personal and professional life driven by mobile devices, cloud services, social media and changing nature of work.
- Laptops, tablets, smartphones move fluidly between workplace and home.
- An increasing array of broadband connectivity options provide an always-on experience delivered by cellular carriers and home/office/public networks.
- Cloud services provide access to applications and data, allowing individuals to be untethered to a specific access device.
- Social media further blurs the lines between personal/professional personas and connections; products and services that are used in the home can also be used in the office; influence of widely followed individuals extends across the work-life divide.
There is an expectation of high levels of recall and personalization. Information provided is remembered across multiple sessions and channels, and is used to drive personalized content and offers.
- Days of one-and-done, spray-and-pray marketing are over – not only is it an inefficient use of marketing resources, it has a negative impact on customer experience which diminishes brand value.
- People want to be listened to: “your opinion counts;” and people want to be remembered: “we know you.”
- Savvy customers – the ones who tend to drive highest value and influence purchase decisions of others – recognize the inherent value of information provided. Information is the currency of the networked world.
- When an individual provides information it is with an implicit understanding they will receive something of appropriate value in return for it – relevant information/offers, customized options, connections to others with similar interests, etc.
Part 2: Technology enablers
Part 3: It’s all about the dialog