_DSC4859In the run-up to the B2B marketing forum on March 13, Shimon Ben Ayoun (spotONvision) spoke to Arthur Simonetti. Arthur is Marketing Director at DSM and one of the speakers at the B2B Marketing Forum 2014. With his team, Arthur supports the business groups of DSM in becoming excellent in marketing and sales activities. In an interview Arthur gives his vision on the new agenda of marketing and sales.

Focus on market and customer thinking
Arthur: “In 2005 we noticed that there were so many innovations and technical developments in our area. And to make sure that our customers needed and wanted these developments, marketing and sales had to become more prominent in the organization. ”However, back then DSM wasn’t that good at marketing and sales: “Therefore we really started focusing on market and customer thinking. This has resulted in a more important role for marketing and sales in the business groups.” The way DSM changed their marketing approach, resulted in a NIMA ‘MarketingCompany’ award as first B2B company in 2013.

To be excellent in marketing, Arthur stresses the importance that the different business groups need to take a look at each other and need to learn from each other. Besides that, it is important to look outside the organization: “We need to learn from other organizations, so also from our competitors.” To transform your marketing department successfully to a department where the focus is on customer-centric thinking, Arthur gives 3 crucial tips.

1. Make sure you really understand your customer
Arthur: “You need to make a thorough investigation on where your customers are, who they are and to whom they listen to. Too often we look at markets only from a number perspective, without really looking at the people and listening to them. According to Arthur this is the most important tip. Arthur: “Always look at people and define your customers and the decision making units into personas.”

2. Think about the emotions of your customer
One of the biggest challenges in marketing is, according to Arthur, related to value propositions: “In my opinion, we focus our marketing too much on the so called ‘functional benefits’. We realize more and more that we are dealing with people and these people have emotions.” The emotional benefits are becoming more important and here are opportunities: “In every proposition you make and in every story you tell, you should think about the emotions you would like to trigger.”

3. What you measure is what you get
According to Arthur, good defined KPI’s are becoming more important: “Defining KPI’s and measuring your activities, will help you increase the ROI of your marketing and sales activities.

The journey to customer-centric professional
Arthur believes that we need to avoid talking longer about the separate departments ‘marketing’ and ‘sales’: “The gap between those two functions is old fashion and should disappear. I would rather talk about the ‘customer-centric professional’ instead of the ‘marketer’ or ‘sales person’. Whether you come from the marketing angle or from the sales angle, we should both be putting the customer central in all our activities.” Besides that it is important that the agendas of (the now mostly separate departments) marketing and sales, should focus on the 3 E’s: explore, engage and excite.

  • Explore: collect all the data, internal and external, about your customer so you get a 360-degree view of them.
  • Engage: we should become part of the conversation with our customers. To do this, you need to deliver good, valuable content. You also need to know where those conversations take place. In that way you can become a trusted source for your customers.
  • Excite: make sure that you have a reinforcement of your messages in all the different channels you use. That requires integration and orchestration.

In the presentation at the B2B Marketing Forum 2014, Arthur will present examples of how DSM brings those 3 E’s alive. If we are able to change our agenda to this 3 E’s, we will all become a real customer-centric professional. Don’t miss the presentation of Arthur and register now for the B2B Marketing Forum on March 13.