It has been reported that business-to-business (B2B) companies are beginning to look to move away from price-led marketing, opting for a value-led approach instead. The focus is, therefore, greater on the customer experience, as cited in new research.
The studies have shown that growing brand awareness as well as retaining customers are the two key mounting challenges for B2B businesses.
The aforementioned is not as simple as you might think though, and as many as 250 global B2B firm’s senior marketers were quizzed. The results highlighted that 58% are motivated on ‘value marketing’, which shows a spike of 19%, up from 39% in the 2015 study. This refers to an approach to marketing that is far more insight-driven, whereby companies offer services and products centred around the value they offer to specific segments of customers.
What stands out from this increase mentioned in the previous paragraph is that there is a clear shift in trends towards value, and this reflects the difficulty of keeping hold of customers within the B2B world. More than half (54%) of those execs in the study reported that customer retention is among one of their top five challenges. This is a significant rise, up some 10% on last year. As it stands, building market share is cited as the greatest task, with 62% of respondents stating so.
In spite of the current pressures, a mere 14% of B2B marketers reported saying the customer experience was ‘ingrained in the fabric’ of their business.
31% of global B2B marketers are in agreement that the customer experience is at least a vital element in the strategy of their firm, while only 19% claim that the execs in their company are taking a dynamic approach to shaping the customer experience.
Experts consider it to be more difficult for B2B firms to meet the expectations of today’s customer needs in light of the vast array of potential touchpoints, as well as the ever-changing customer expectations. A decade ago, companies were primarily focused on customer satisfaction surveys. However, now we see the scope for understanding the customer has grown far wider, which is a positive step for marketers.
Almost half (46%) of those involved in the study stated that ‘growing brand awareness’ was considered to be in their top five challenges, realising a 10% rise on 2015. Again, in spite of these findings, only 54% cite having a programme set up for measuring the perception of their brand from their market. That figure does drop by 9% to 45% for firms based in the UK though.
When it came to answering questions in regards to their business’s unique selling point on a scale of 1-10, the average score from the total respondents is 6.3.
B2B companies have the opportunity to improve their brand differentiation by means of rethinking the way that they approach their communications. The research results highlighted that, in terms of physical commerce, trade magazines and journals remain the most popular communications channel, used by 85% of B2B marketers. Trade shows and conferences were cited as the second highest option (81%), followed by LinkedIn (77%), industry-specific online communities (75%), followed closely by supplier websites on 74%.
Experts consider B2B firms to have revived the value of traditional platforms through trialling options with digital media. Many B2B marketers seem to follow suit by making the same choices as their counterparts in the consumer world by financing greatly in social media. It’s worth noting that not all campaigns always fit the B2B model.
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