Friday, June 5, 2015

The Executive MindXchange Chronicles provide summaries and valuable take-aways on all sessions post-event. Other insightful sessions from MARKETING WORLD 2014: A Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXchange include: Rising to Brand Experience Excellence, Social 20120, Savvy Marketing: A New Way to Think About and Drive Value via Adaptive Analytics and many more.

A Sample from the MARKETING WORLD 2014 Executive MindXchange Chronicles:  ASK THE EXPERTS! PANEL DISCUSSION

Where Worlds Collide: The Evolution of the B2B Consumer

Consumer forces like mobile, 24/7 connectivity, customer empowerment, virtual communities and collaboration are spilling into the enterprise. In this interactive discussion, panelists explored the expectations of the new B2B consumer and looked at how marketing executives can creatively and strategically navigate the changing dynamics in the B2B and B2C consumer paradigms.

Barbara Glasser,
Senior Vice President, Head of Marketing, Corporate
Communications and Product Management,
Astoria Bank

Christa Carone,
Executive Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Communications &
Fidelity Investments

Lisa Connolly,
Senior Brand Manager,

James Gross,
Vice President, Global Marketing,
Brady Corporation

Roseann Harrington,
Vice President, Marketing, Communication & Community
Orlando Utilities Commission

Kevin Murphy,
Global Hair Care Industry Leader, Xiameter at
Dow Corning

Jamie Womack,
Vice President, Marketing & Branding,

In a lot of ways, B2C marketing is influencing how business is done on the B2B side.For example, there’s a greater push in B2B marketing to become more personalized. The panelists talked about some of the things they have learned from B2C marketing:

B2B customers now expect the same features the B2C customers get, said James Gross of the Brady Corporation. That includes ratings, reviews, personalization, selector tools, and advanced searches. All these things are blurring the line. Amazon is the fastest growing B2B company, or as Gross called it, B2E (business to everything). In this new environment, the key is having the right info at the right time and keeping messages consistent. B2B customers are trying to collect as much information prior to buying as they can, so you need to make sure they’re thinking of you.

A lot of it comes down to dialogue, said INVISTA’s Lisa Connolly. What’s the personal value in a B2B situation? You need to be able to have that dialogue to discuss problems and solutions.

Another key is the greater need for transparency in purchasing journeys, said Christa Carone of Fidelity Investments. After the economic meltdown in 2008, Fidelity’s phones were ringing off the hook. Customers were looking for help and asking for the company’s point of view about the situation. Customers put a lot of trust in Fidelity, and the company has built a whole division for planning and guidance for clients. Everything is based on transparency to earn the trust and confidence of customers.

According to an Ad Age survey of B2B marketing decision-makers, 52% of marketing budgets will increase in the next year. The top three channels companies that will focus on are digital, events, and direct mail.

Panelists agreed that content is king today. Companies need to have great content geared toward the audience and medium. The average buyer looks at 10 pieces of content before making a decision, so companies need to make sure they’re offering content that potential customers find helpful during that process.

B2B marketers are using all social media platforms to publish content. The group ranked the platforms in order of effectiveness:

1. LinkedIn
2. Twitter
3. YouTube
4. Slideshare
5. Vimeo

To use those tools effectively, messages must be short and sweet, panelists said. Mobile doesn’t seem to be part of marketers’ plans yet, but is shifting. One-third (33%) were using mobile marketing in 2013, while the number will increase to 49% in 2014.

One recommendation from the panel: Learn the language your customers’ companies use to communicate with their customers, and make sure you communicate with them in a similar way.

Many of the audience members said that their companies use customer personas as part of their marketing efforts. Panelists discussed their approach to personas: There are different viewpoints on what personas are for, said CareerBuilder’s Jamie Womack. Her team uses personas to humanize their efforts and keep the customer at the center. They’ve looked at what B2C marketers have done well to determine how to adapt that to the B2B world. The key is figuring out who the buyers are and what motivates them to buy.

The idea of the customer journey is also becoming commonplace in B2B, said Dow Corning’s Kevin Murphy. As his team maps the customer journey, they define it in two distinct phases. At every step, the company has an opportunity to be impressive or not.

Today, there’s a high-tech, high-touch paradigm; it’s easy to become overwhelmed by technology. However, it’s critical not to lose sight of the personal side of marketing. How can companies personalize their outreach in this landscape? Hosting and participating in events is one example cited.

In addition, create content that speaks to different personas. One big area to focus on now is finding messages that resonate with cross-generational audiences. Marketers must also make sure there is alignment between what the companies say and what they do. Content can be the bridge between the two.

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