Common to both of these approaches is a thorough understanding of their audiences, and aligning this understanding to their corporate objectives.
Everything starts with the customer/audience
That’s the biggest disruptive change in all industry sectors, and potentially hardest for the traditional, non-transactional manufacturing and industrial sector to get to grips with. They’ve not been able to witness (for example) incremental change to e-commerce algorithms resulting in increased sales. They’ve also been the most guilty of the ‘what have we got that we can sell?’ mentality.
Understanding the audience used to be the domain of marketing, but now that businesses can connect more directly with all of their audiences, it’s now the domain of all disciplines, and the responsibility of the top table.
B2B doesn't have to be dull
So our approach to Digital Disruption for traditional, B2B businesses segments the many objectives of the business, allied to a more forensic look at the mindsets, needs, actions and intent of the audiences.
We believe a thorough segmentation of the audience in their journeys with the organisation is the starting point for a business to decide which transformation route to follow, or at least which to follow first. For many complex businesses, especially in the B2B industrial and manufacturing sectors, wholesale changes in how they operate, produce products or indeed innovate can be a big and complex decision.
We've sworn "Bye 2 Boring in digital B2B"
Digital Technology for better audience engagement
So what we see more often is using digital technology to begin a better communication, engagement and interaction approach with all audiences. This is a ‘safer’ first step, while the core business may lag a little behind with its product innovation.
This is manifested by applying commonplace B2C principles in the B2B marketing space;
- Using Data as an input to drive communication and marketing change, rather than as an output of what has already happened.
- Improving website technology and platforms, using enterprise level marketing-focused CMS to segment, personalise, analyse and adapt
- Integrate ERP/CRM and web data to make sure we can track and measure lead generation through to sale (this is complex and there are typically multiple purchase touch points so it’s a significant exercise)
- CONTENT and SEARCH. Invest in it, Integrate it, recognise their value, use all available channels that work for the company appropriately.
- Solid governance to ensure multiple stakeholders/markets/teams don’t go off track.
- And, of course, use a strategic digital partner who can help you with all of this as well as the larger business transformation that digital technology can deliver.
All of this is possible once the organisation has a thorough understanding of its audiences, their experiences and journeys.
Understanding and detailing the user journey
What this sector often thinks is that UX and Customer Experience (CX) is the domain of the B2C or transactional B2B world, but we’ve been able to demonstrate how this can benefit the traditional sector too.
Using audience planning tools, audience mapping, and segmented persona journeys, we’ve been able to map the many complex journeys audiences take with large complex businesses and create digital touchpoints to improve (one step at a time) the experience all audiences have.
Customer Experience Map for Freestyle client RS Components
In this way we’re able to track engagement over time in increasingly granular detail. Using marketing techniques and technologies, including eCRM and Automation tools, we can begin to measure the direct impact these engagements have, and ultimately all the way to the bottom line of share price, product sales, reputation management and audience engagement. It’s a little way off percentage increments in an e-commerce channel, but it’s a long way from AVE and column inch measurement; and fundamentally is a powerful way to improve business performance, which is why we’re all here in the first place.
Let the Digital Natives drive
Our message to those in traditional sectors, our lovely NSBs, is to let the digital natives within your business take the wheel for a while. Even if it’s only in audience mapping, workshops, hacks or pilot programmes. By working with an agency who understands the customer journey (that would be us), you can still do the navigating, all while deriving enormous benefits and sending positive ripples throughout your organisation. This in turn allows the traditionalists among your ranks to gradually get up to speed without feeling undermined, while being able to see measurable impact from Day 1.
The new Bostik website is a great example of a client making decisions to push the traditional boundaries, and is just the beginning of their transformational digital journey.
Does your business fall into the non-sexy niche? Find out how we can help you say Bye2Boring B2B
[Case Study] Learn more about the Bostik project