My impression, or perhaps my hope, was that the digital age would eventually bring us closer to our customers, current and future, creating a superhighway of conversation and meaningful exchange. Wishful thinking. Didn’t happen. And, we marketers are complicit.
Digitalization put the power in the hands of the customer, both current and future. And in response to the barrage of largely untargeted, unfocused communications they were receiving, and we were hurling, they turned us off. They shut the door. They said, now this party is by invitation only.
Don’t call me
This is tolerable news for many B2C-ers, because they have volume on their side and thus, a larger margin for error. This is a pretty significant speed bump for B2B, where the universes are finite, and, most importantly, the sale is personal.
It’s not new news that 75% of a prospect’s consideration journey is completed before they directly engage with your company, but it is revelatory because it illuminates what’s been lost in all of this – trust – that I, Mr. or Ms. Prospect, can trust that you won’t abuse my contact information, that you have information that will benefit me, that you will allow me to learn and to buy (or not) at my own pace.
I’ll call you
Which is why content is so critically and essentially important – because content is often the first to be invited in the door, if not to the actual party. It stands for you and represents you, and must begin to rebuild that basic layer of trust.
Content needs two elements to get your prospects to pick up the phone:
The first is value, and while we all get a vote on what constitutes value, the only vote that counts is the customer’s. They are looking for guidance, for answers, for clues, and if your content doesn’t bring them this value, the customer will take a swing at someone else’s pinata.
The second is empathy. I don’t mean to imply that this is a pity party and you should bring tissues as value. I mean you have to speak so they can listen. Talk the way they talk, understand what they call the issues and how they define the benefits they seek. Sing so they can sing along and you’ll be the belle of the ball.
The bottom line here is that content is your entrée. It enables you to earn the right to come to the party, in this case, the buying party.
Don’t get hung up on. We’ve got a plan that will move your content from guessing to knowing, improve performance, and build that bridge of trust. Operators are standing by.
In My Face
A colleague recently asked, “With all the data available to us now, what role, if any, does qualitative research play in b2b prospect intelligence? Isn’t that ‘old thinking’?”
Somewhat in my face, and a tad confrontational, but a good question. To answer the question,...
While conducting Net Promoter Score (NPS) research for a b2b technology client we asked the president of an operating division of a large multinational the following, “you gave our client the highest NPS score, what is the greatest benefit you get from them?” The answer,...
This long-established supplier of office products to small businesses had just been acquired. The newly merged company was anxious to explore options to increase growth within the current customer base, particularly in its top vertical segments, but years of prior attempts by Deluxe to increase...
Once a dominant manufacturer of those ubiquitous hospital IV pumps, Baxter was steadily losing market share to competitors with more advanced products. To reverse their fortunes, they developed a competitive new line but, being late with the new technology, they knew they had to get...
Tradeshift is a B2B start-up offering a free invoicing platform and a growing web-based business network. Like many start-ups, its vision was grander than its reality. It quickly found itself in a sea of small companies offering commoditized e-invoicing services. Frustrating to employee and founder...