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Humanizing The B2B Decision-Making Journey


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The consumerization of B2B technology is dramatically changing how decision-makers research, discover and engage with peers in their journey. During this keynote presentation, author, digital anthropologist and Altimeter Group principal analyst Brian Solis, will uncover the innovative strategies B2B brands are implementing to better adapt to the increasingly complex and cross-channel decision-making experience. Using his own research, analysis and experience with B2B companies as a baseline, Brian will share his perspectives and real life examples of how B2B brands can:

-Understand new disruptions in the modern decision-making journey
-Humanize the B2B buying experience using more emotive and personalized approaches
-How information and peer-insights have evolved in key touch-points
-Help buyers manage risk in the selection process

Published in: Marketing
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Humanizing The B2B Decision-Making Journey

  1. 1. Marketing Innovation in an Era of Digital Darwinism Brian Solis, Principal Analyst and Futurist Altimeter, the digital analyst group at Prophet @briansolis
  2. 2. “I love brochureware!” - Said no B2B customer ever “I love legal-approved marketing messages.”
  3. 3. From Monologue to Dialogue
  4. 4. Viral Influence Growth Hacking Programmatic Transparency Algorithm AI Omnichannel Crosschannel Attribution Authenticity Snackable AR/VR Infographic Storytelling Remarketing Remarketing Dynamic Millennial The language of marketers vs. the language of customers
  5. 5. We are not Our Customers Executives Business Outcomes Costs/Profit Shareholders/Stakeholders Scale Growth Customers Professional Goals Personal Values Usefulness Convenience ImmediacyExperienceDivide
  6. 6. I tried to be innovative, but I got held up trying to justify my ideas.
  7. 7. For marketers to innovate, takes an honest and introspective analysis of to today’s work and standards.
  8. 8. B2B
  9. 9. B2C
  10. 10. B2B2C
  11. 11. P2PPeople to People
  12. 12. The roadmap from IQ to EQ to HQ
  13. 13. Change begins here and here and here
  14. 14. Business “as usual” is an outdated mindset. Modern customers are connected and empowered. They want things NOW and PERSONALIZED in the moments that matter how they communicate, discover & connect. NORMAL THE NEW
  16. 16. PRIORITIES
  17. 17. Businesses that mapped the customer journey within the last year. Down (54%) from 2016. Roadmaps are developed and investments are made without understanding customers. 35%
  18. 18. Mobile has changed everything. People look at their phones 1,500x each week. They spend 177 minutes on their phone per day.
  19. 19. Consumers expect more They're over- informed Make critical decisions using mobile They rely on social and reviews They expect answers + transparency Generation-C (Connected)
  20. 20. Ladies and gentlemen, The Cluster Funnel
  21. 21. 71% of customers say that inconsistent cross-channel messaging negatively affects the experience. (Forrester)
  22. 22. Credibility of CEOs is at an all-time low, with a 12-point decline in the last year. “A person like yourself” is as credible a source for information about a company as a technical or academic expert. Source: Edelman Trust Barometer
  23. 23. The 90s called… They want their Internet back.
  24. 24. “B2B marketing leaders are using mobile to engage customers…reducing purchase time and increasing customer loyalty. Mobile is influencing an average of more than 40% of their revenue.” - BCG
  25. 25. Innovation is all the work you do to conform to expectations and aspirations of people as they evolve instead of making them conform to your legacy perspectives, assumptions, processes and metrics of success.
  26. 26. The Rise of Advisor Businesses
  27. 27. B2B Marketing Experience Lifecycle “Know Me”
  28. 28. The B2B B2B2C B2C P2P Marketing Innovation Manifesto This is a manifesto for those who believe that human-centered innovation is the heart of marketing transformation
  29. 29. 1. Human-Centered Design: Unbias data to learn…Who are your unique audiences? How do they talk? What do they value? What are their immediate and longer-term challenges? What are their goals/aspirations? 2. Learn Intent+Context: Learn the questions they ask, who they trust, where they go and understand devices/times/preferences/attention. 3. The Hero’s Journey: Redraw their lifecycle journey and identify key moments of engagement – design for mobile-first engagement. 4. Marketing as a Service: Beyond sales and account management, partner with key stakeholder groups to positively affect the entire journey and relationships. 5. Imagineer P.O.P.E.S.: Prioritize content dev/campaigns across the journey (video, podcasts, articles, graphics) The P2P Marketing Innovation Manifesto
  30. 30. 6. Scale Personalization and Value: Invest in programmatic, AI platforms that deliver personalization (right time, right place, right message, right device.) 7. Influence 2.0: Partner with trusted authorities to collaborate on the creation and delivery of useful, engaging content. 8. Community Engagement: Assign staff and ambassadors to engage the front line and incentivize reward their ongoing efforts. 9. Employee Advocacy: Partner with internal authorities to empower employees to more effectively engage customers and each other. 10.Marketing2: Report results, progress and learnings to all stakeholder groups. It’s marketing for the marketing! 11.(BONUS) P2P2P: Help customers better engage their customers. The P2P Marketing Innovation Manifesto
  31. 31. Manifesto Examples
  32. 32. User-Centricity Turning customers and users into heroes! Schneider Electric put the creativity of many B2C campaigns to shame with its customer- centered message of user empowerment. The company understood its user, not just decision- maker. It created a bottom-up approach to brand awareness and demand-generation.
  33. 33. Customer Journey Re-imagine the customer journey from the customer perspective: the team needed to evolve the marketing program from being inside-out driven and become buyer centric. Step #1. Build a strategy based on customer behavior and intent data Step #2. Develop personas and respective journeys Step #3. Coordinate transformation across stakeholders Step 4: Test and learn. Measure and report. “This transformation has turned marketing into a true revenue contributor. We've been able to double the conversion rate and improve customer experiences.” - Kira Mondrus, Director of Global Marketing, SecureWorks.
  34. 34. Cross-Functional Collaboration Objective was to shift perceptions of company from mobile operator to total communication provider and trusted strategic partner among senior business executives. Marketing and sales partnered to identify what customers in that vertical/industry are thinking about, what sales enablement pieces would help the sales team guide conversation, what promotional assets would be needed to help with a successful inbound campaign. Marketing as a Service "Without exception, colleagues across our business are impressed with the approach and quality of the content. And now we’re seeing business generated as a result - the domino effect is working!" - Sally-Anne Burwell, senior marketing manager
  35. 35. Volvo Trucks Live Test: Recipient of a Cannes Grand Prix, Volvo Trucks finds imaginative and emotion-tugging ways to demonstrate the qualities of its vehicles – in this case a truck that can be driven through buildings, attacked by cranes, rolled down hills, and still operate flawlessly at the end of it all. Already viewed over 14 million times on YouTube – it proves the power of social storytelling. Product Value: Content
  36. 36. Did you mean MailChimp? Customers frequently mispronounce the company’s name. They decided to create a campaign to have fun with it while introducing the brand to corporate and small businesses alike. This inspired a collection of cultural activations, from creating hit singles and a new brand of potato chips, to starting fashion trends and making short films about singing sandwiches. MaleCrimp, MailShrimp, KaleLimp, FailChips, VeilHymn, SnailPrimp, JailBlimp, WhaleSynth and NailChamp all have one thing in common: They sound like “MailChimp.” Imagineer P.O.P.E.S.
  37. 37. Businesses have a finite amount of money and time and customers have a finite amount of attention and energy; therefore, marketers must identify the most connected people that can to help expand their reach. - Dr. Bernardo Huberman, Director of HP Labs Influence 2.0
  38. 38. “At [B2B Company], we source the most relatable and useful stories from our Fortune 500 customers to arm our network of influencers and creators for peer-to-peer storytelling. Over the last several years, we’ve paid millions of dollars to our influencer community with campaigns across every category. We get that back and more.” Influence 2.0
  39. 39. Inspiring reviews through online and real life advocacy Marketo engaged and rewarded customers across its live events and digital channels to encourage them to submit reviews. Marketo received 538 net-new reviews. They also gained the #1 position within the Enterprise segment and was dubbed the “Most Reviewed” solution. Drove majority of new business pipeline. Community Engagement “Reviews were our number one goal when we launched our advocate marketing program. Engaging customers across both physical and online channels allowed us to get more genuine reviews and gain a huge competitive advantage.” - Danielle Camara, Senior Customer Marketing Manager
  40. 40. “Fanatical Support is at the heart of everything we do and is the ideal that guides every interaction with our customers. Helping employees share on social media is good for everyone. Employees become more engaged, expand their social networks, and build their professional brands. Your business gets the opportunity to raise brand awareness, expand its reach, and attract the best talent. We have over 300 employees sharing monthly, generating over $1 million (annualized) in earned media value.” Employee Advocacy
  42. 42. Brian Solis Altimeter Group, a Prophet Company | @briansolis |
  43. 43. Help Your Customers Help customers reach customers: This is reciprocity in action and an example of what happens when you create content to help your customers with their customers.
  44. 44. The concept was developed out of deep customer research, and oriented around their specific business goals. “I think the biggest lesson -- and it sounds so obvious -- is that when you keep the customer at the center of everything, it's your True North. We just kept coming back to, ‘How do they express their needs? Where do they place the greatest value?’ It framed how we would tell the story, and what we would emphasize.” - Lauren Flaherty CMO, CA Technologies Customer-Centric Content