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Customer centricity: what B2B can learn from B2C

Ingrid ArcherHow do you place your customer in the centre of things? What is the true value of marketing? How can this be measured? How can you transform the organisation? These subjects will be discussed during the B2B Marketing Forum on March 17th. The main theme is ‘Leading the change; from self to customer obsession’. We spoke to one of the founders of the Forum, Ingrid Archer, from the B2B Marketing agency spotONvision.

Why is ‘Leading the change; from self to customer obsession’ the main theme of the B2B Marketing Forum?
“There is a great transformation going on in B2B marketing. For a long time we have been talking about content marketing and marketing automation. But now, advanced technologies have made so much more possible. That’s a good thing, but it can also make things complicated for companies. Not everybody understands what is going on and how to apply new technologies.”

Which challenges do companies face?
“Marketers are confronted with new technologies and are forced to generate leads in a smarter manner. They need good insights into what the buyer wants; they need to create relevant content and must monitor performance effectively. After all, they have to prove the value of their marketing. For instance Bol.com applies technologies in their B2C marketing by offering personalised information to the customer. B2B customers can learn from this. How can you conduct personalised marketing? This requires a new marketing approach. And by using relevant data you can show your management how your activities contribute to the company’s revenue. So by using the right tools and by monitoring effectively you can show that marketing is not a cost driver but that it contributes to the business. Who knows, maybe in the near future you may hear champagne corks popping in the marketing department, instead of just in the sales department after closing a deal.”

More and more managers advocate intensive cooperation between marketing and sales. Do you agree on that?
“This is true. And I would like to add Communications to that as well. Communications, marketing and sales need to work together so that there is no double work done, as often is the case currently. It would be much more effective and profitable if they collaborated in an integrated manner.”

DHL, ING, NUON
What else will happen during the B2B Marketing Forum?
“Topics include: customer obsession, added value of marketing; measuring value and transformation. The results of the spotONvision survey on marketing performance management will be presented. For this survey we interviewed 26 marketing directors. We have also conducted another survey in collaboration with TNS NIPO, on how customers experience a B2B-purchase and how marketing  interact with this. Various speakers will discuss the customer journey, like marketers from DHL, ING, and NUON. And I will speak about placing the B2B customer in the centre of things, according to a recently conducted survey.”

B2C marketing is good at putting the customer in the centre of thing. So why isn’t B2B yet?
“B2C marketing is less complex than B2B, when you look at the buying cycle. If I make a product that is not being sold, I take it off the market. But apparently in B2B you can still get away with not putting the customer at the centre of things. For some reason the customer puts up with this, perhaps because there are more complex products and services involved. But start-ups, who are customer-focused and who maintain a warm relationship with their customers, can catch up on large companies. Forrester research shows that companies, whose main goal it is to put customer experience first, also have a higher market value than companies who have revenue as their main goal.”

Do you want to learn more about customer obsession and customer centricity? Register now for the B2B Marketing Forum.

This blog was previously published by Marketing Tribune.