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Creating more human and engaging digital journeys in B2B

By Chris Barnes, Head of Experience

Five principles to keep in mind to ensure your digital experience is truly in the interest of your customer.

Offering your customer an engaging, personalised experience in B2C is practically a given. But until recently, it was only the most visionary marketers who saw the vast potential of using technology and data to craft an intelligent, creative omnichannel digital experience for their customers in the B2B space. Today, more and more buyers are justly demanding such an offering from their vendors. Remember, every B2B customer is also a person who has had a successful, pleasant engagement with Uber, DoorDash, Zappos or Apple.

To succeed in B2B means going beyond the basic email campaigns and static product pages, and instead engaging with the humans powering your business. Organisations that are bold in their digital aspirations will be the ones charting new heights while their anachronistic competitors are left behind on earth, looking up.

Fortunately, it’s never too late to adopt a people-first mentality to how your customer interacts with your brand digitally. I have outlined five principles to keep in mind to ensure what you are doing is truly in the interest of your customer and engages people on issues that are relevant to them, which is always a better growth strategy than simply trying to bump up numbers through bombardment.

1. Buyers are ultimately people

This really should go without saying. But while we analyse data and look for trends in the numbers, we must never lose sight of the fact that customers, accounts, prospects and buyers are all people. They have names and families, and good digital experiences make them happy, while bad ones leave them frustrated.

It is our job as marketers to treat them as fellow human beings, to understand their desires and needs, give them meaningful points of contact with our brand, and in the process help them finish their busy workday just a little bit happier.

2. Understanding the funnel means understanding relationships

Relating to the first point, it is important to always remember that people cannot simply be reduced to MQLs or SQLs to be dropped like marbles into a spinner. While working well as a business metaphor, the funnel is actually a series of highly individualised interactions each customer has with your product or service.And each produces it’s own subsequent actions and reactions, which are all as potentially different as the customers are unique.

Understanding the context of the buyers and their specific business needs within the funnel can help us better gauge exactly where they are in the customer journey.

3. The right tactics are based on historic interactions

Again, context and relationship are our North Star here. All too often, customers are treated like generic targets, at whom we fling our various marketing darts at, rather than as human beings. But with additional mining of the data, we can discover previous specific interactions and uncover intentions and trends in their buying journey.

Understanding what customers have done in the past can help inform what they will do now and in the future. We can preempt their next question and  from that, we can craft tactics that result in more meaningful interactions, providing data-informed support that can shorten decision-making time.

4. Good design means creating with purpose

Good design can be beautiful. But first and foremost, it must serve a purpose. In the case of good B2B marketing, that purpose will align both your goals and your customers’ needs in a system that is symbiotic.

From a purely self-serving perspective, your digital experience would be designed to address a problem within your own wider business objectives. But when that is paired with elegantly and honestly attempting to meet and fulfill a customer need, you have the possibility for the digital experience to not only artfully engage the buyer within their journey, but also foster a genuine sense of gratitude and loyalty.

5. Small moves deliver big results

If you’ve not yet embarked on an enlightened approach to digital design, it can seem an impossible mountain to climb. But like any great journey, it begins with taking that first step.

And the good news is, small steps can yield big results. Begin with the obvious, easy adjustments to your process. And build from there. You don’t need to map your entire digital customer experience to start implementing improvements to your process to deliver real, tangible results. Each business must discover their own digital path forward, and the best way to do so is to just get moving.

By following these simple yet fundamental principles, you can ensure good results in your digital marketing to help drive growth for you or your clients — and establish relationships based on good human basics.

If you need help with any aspect of your digital journey, don't hesitate to get in touch.

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