As a B2B marketer, you may not have thought much about the experience economy or how it affects your customers and the way you should market to them. The experience economy refers to a recent trend where consumers are shifting more of their money from buying goods to buying experiences. In fact, millennials spend four times as much on experiences as they do on “stuff.” This fundamental shift is changing the way organizations of all kinds treat their prospects and customers.
Here’s a look at how customer experience expectations are evolving – even for B2B buyers – and how you can ride that wave to success.
Make it Me2B
Too much marketing and sales content miss the key ingredient: the customer. In fact, according to Forrester, 57 % of B2B buyers say that a lot of vendor marketing material is useless.
Traditionally, marketing used to be product or service-oriented and drove the message outward from that specific focal point. Now marketers have to start with the customer (Me2B), and not their goals or product. Marketing strategy must begin with the customer.
In a recent Forrester webinar, April Henderson explains that marketers have to “see past lead generation and start creating game-changing, relationship building content.” A customer-centric webinar is one of the best ways to do that, and when executed efficiently, can win you an impressive amount of brownie points. At GoToWebinar, we’re seeing B2B companies like Gainsight and PoductPlan successfully use webinars to humanize their brand and create interactive experiences that start with the needs of their prospects and customers.
Make it exclusive
Have you heard of FOMO? It refers to fear of missing out and it’s fueled by all those social media images of your friends having the time of their lives in stunning locations. Inc.com reports that 7 out of 10 millennials experience FOMO, and it is driving their “experiential appetite.”
Even B2B marketers can tap into this feeling with exclusive, one-time offers. This could be a conference or event, a webinar featuring expert speakers, special training, or a limited-time content offer. So instead of showing the same banner ad over and over, think about how you can create can’t-miss experiences.
Make it frictionless
The lines between B2C and B2B are no longer as rigid as they once used to be. Your customers are used to high levels of service from retailers like Amazon and Zappos, and they don’t see why the B2B arena should be any different. Given that 46% of all B2B researchers and buyers are millennials, and that number is only expected to increase, you have to increase your focus on delivering frictionless customer experiences.
A frictionless experience goes far behind a slick website and a convenient mobile experience – although those things are important too. It means dynamic messages, seamless flows from one marketing touchpoint to the next, convenient customer service, and easy ways to provide the information buyers and customers want when they want it.
Make it personal
Big data has enabled hyper-personalization at scale. Each customer’s experience needs to be as customized as possible to their unique values, goals, and challenges. According to Forrester, 79% of buyers say they value content that is tailored to their industry or role. So with every marketing message or touchpoint, your audience should know exactly why it’s relevant and why they should care.
Businesses can gather large volumes of data and tweak the delivery of ads, email, and content down to a very granular level. Webinars can also be incredibly personal. For example, have registrants submit questions and topics in advance so you can tailor the webinar content to what’s important to them. Webinars also give you the rare opportunity to interact with attendees one on one, and you can use that input to drive the conversation.
Marketers that prioritize experiences will win big. Studies have shown that companies that focus on delivering great experiences have an average revenue growth rate of 23% as opposed to 13% for those that don’t. So stop worrying about content downloads, page views and email clicks and start thinking about the customer experience.