b2b engagement marketing

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  • SilverpopFrom First Click to Lifetime Customer

    Engagement Marketing Solutions

    B2B Engagement Marketing:Its Not All About You Anymore

    WHITE PAPER

  • Engagement Marketing SolutionsSilverpop WHITE PAPER

    www.silverpop.com/b2b 1-877-484-7704 2010 Copyright Silverpop. All rights reserved. The Silverpop logo is a registered trademark of Silverpop Systems Inc. 2

    Brands, whether B2B or B2C, are no longer defined by marketers. Instead, they are now characterized by the very people marketers hope to influencecustomers and prospects. But a new opportunity is emerging that will catapult marketing to an even higher level of effectiveness and influence. This new world of marketing takes advantage of the Web 2.0 phenomenon by allowing marketers to participate in the dialogues and forums occurring in the market-place that are undermining the traditional approaches to branding.

    This new world is called engagement marketing.

    Engagement marketing is all about developing a two-way dialogue between organizations and their markets. And B2B marketers, especially those closely aligned with their sales forces, fully understand the vital importance of listen-ing to the customer. B2B engagement marketers have imbedded in their DNA the need to not only sell but to listen, understand and react.

    They know that business buyers have just as many choices regarding, for example, the kind of printer ink cartridges they buy for their offices as do consumers. Business buyers just buy more. A whole lot more. And so busi-ness buyers of ink cartridges will seek out more information before making a purchase decision than will a typical consumer. Consequently, B2B market-ers are quite familiar with the growing expectations on the part of customers and prospects to be treated as a partner as opposed to a lead.

    B2B engagement marketing calls upon buyers to not only voice their opinions about the brand, but to actually help enhance it to participate in the brands evolution. Rather than looking at customers and prospects as passive receivers of messages, B2B engagement marketers believe that both the marketplace and the brand are best served when communication and understanding flow freely from one to the other. So when the office manager suggests to his or her vendors sales rep that ink cartridges should be packaged by the dozen, the manufacturer listens.

    Interestingly, in some cases organizations with a very strong sales focus struggle to implement engagement marketing. Some B2B companies that have traditionally relied upon a strong and aggressive sales force can have

    B2B ENGAGEMENT MARKETING: Its not all about you anymoreIntroduction

    B 2B marketers, like their B2C colleagues, have diligently worked at perfecting the art of shaping customer and prospect perceptions. They have years of experience developing precisely targeted communications

    comprised of finely tuned content directed at the specific audiences they

    want to influence. Traditional brand marketing requires the engineering of

    messages that engender the right impressions about the companys products

    in the marketplace. The traditional art of branding has grown and flourished

    for many years. But thats all begun to change.

    difficulty developing an online dialogue. Some marketers wrongly believe that sales are ultimately driven by the sales force alone. But in todays interactive word, buyers are seeking as much information about new products and services as they can obtain. They want to do business with companies that are willing to have conversations with them and form more of a partnership, rather than limit interaction to a selling opportunity.

    Establishing customer loyalty and prospect respect through marketing programs that fully engage with the marketplace will become increasingly important to remain competitive. This white paper provides strategies and tactics for B2B marketers to implement programs that create dialogue with customers and prospects, build brand value and customer loyalty, and help drive revenue.

  • Engagement Marketing SolutionsSilverpop WHITE PAPER

    www.silverpop.com/b2b 1-877-484-7704 2010 Copyright Silverpop. All rights reserved. The Silverpop logo is a registered trademark of Silverpop Systems Inc. 3

    Defining Engagement Marketing

    While studies find that marketers recognize the importance of customer engagement, the latest Online Customer Engagement Report from Econsultancy found that fewer than half of organizations actually have a defined customer engagement strategy in place.1 How to go about establishing a deeper and more beneficial relationship with customers and prospects eludes most organizations.

    Forrester Research defines online engagement as the level of involvement, interaction, intimacy, and influence an individual has with a brand or company online over time.2 To further define engagement marketing, its important to recognize that targeting is not engagement. Engagement happens when people are actually waiting to hear from you and find your communications personally relevant to them. And under the current economic conditions, engagement marketing makes more sense now than ever before for B2B marketers.

    Customers and prospects want two-way conversations with the companies they do business with, especially when considering entering into any type of long-term relationship. Business buyers want the ability to offer insights and observations about a companys products or services, and to play a role in the development and enhancement of products they care about or that are impor-tant to their own companys success. They also want the ability to control the buying process, engaging in discussions when they feel the time is right.

    When you reach out and listen to customers and prospects in authentic ways, you build relationships that can have significant impact on your com-panys growth and longevity. Working from a clear understanding of custom-ers needs and business goals drives engagement marketing strategy.

    In 2009, you can expect marketersespecially those promoting big-ticket business products, solutions and servicesto place greater effort on building customer loyalty rather than acquiring new prospects. Managing the customer experience will be a focus of successful marketers. Attempts to remove the threat of client defection and revenue loss will be a key strategy employed by most companies. Six out of 10 customer relationship managers say thats their top goal this year.3

    Implementing programs that more fully enhance customer experiences with the companys products and services or that streamline the buying process of new prospects will help keep companies moving forward through these turbulent and largely uncharted economic

    waters. And while a difficult economic environment is a good reason to start listening more closely to customers and prospects, the benefits of engagement marketing will continue long after the recession has passed.

    Because engagement marketing puts customers and organizations in partnership with each other, the improved ability to identify brand ambassadors among customers becomes a key outcome of such initiatives. Engagement marketing creates cohesion and purpose between companies and their markets. By taking a customer-centric view, not only toward marketing messaging and channels but to product features and enhancements, marketers are able to position their companies as customer advocates. And customers can be more easily transformed into brand advocates.

    Obtaining testimonials and recommendationsa necessary element of many B2B sales situationsmore easily becomes part of the conversation when engagement marketing practices are put into place. In fact, when asked what value engagement marketing would bring to their organizations, 58 percent of marketers said the ability to turn customers into brand advocatesrecommending the companys products and serviceswas important to them.1 As it should be.

    In a series of surveys, Forrester Research asked more than 7,000 North American and European enterprise IT decision makers about the sources they turn to for information about products and services. More than eight out of 10 respondents said word-of-mouth recommendations are the most important source when making buying decisions.2

    The Strategy of B2B Engagement Marketing

    The nuances of how you create an engagement marketing program thats suited for your company, your offerings and your marketplace varies by the industry and

  • Engagement Marketing SolutionsSilverpop WHITE PAPER

    www.silverpop.com/b2b 1-877-484-7704 2010 Copyright Silverpop. All rights reserved. The Silverpop logo is a registered trademark of Silverpop Systems Inc. 4

    offering. But the core strategy upon which you build brand awareness and loyalty and move prospects farther along in the sales cycle revolves around communication.

    Engagement marketing is not push marketing or pull marketing. Its collaborative marketing. The messages emanating out the company are no more important than those coming from the marketplace.

    Ultimately, the goal of engagement marketing is to create relationships that benefit both customers and organizations. In the Econsultancy survey, 38 percent of marketers said the value of engagement marketing was found in increasing customer lifetime value. But nearly the same percentage (34 percent) said it was about increasing the value the company delivered to the customer. In fact, it is both.

    B2B marketers create a win-win scenario by continually supply-ing customers with information that helps them reach their own business goals. By giving audiences the chance to respond, you help build brand loyalty. Strong content and thought leadership aligned with t