There are multiple small marketing sins that – as consumers – frustrate us. Like when we’re constantly retargeted with ads for the product WE JUST BOUGHT on Amazon. Or when we receive a relentless barrage of marketing emails. These may seem like silly first world problems, but it’s these little annoyances that can build up and tarnish our opinion and perception of a brand.
When multiple marketing sins add up, they can boomerang and destroy brand loyalty altogether. And what’s worse…these sins are avoidable.
Now, those examples above may be consumer-focused, B2C, customer experience issues, but that doesn’t mean they’re not applicable in the B2B, enterprise sales space as well. Enterprise marketers and sales teams can commit customer experience and marketing sins just as badly as their counterpart at consumer brands.
So, how can we be sure that we’re not committing the sins that will drive potential customers away, and into the waiting arms of our competitors? The answer is simple: technology.
This week, top marketing minds are meeting at the Marketing Nation Conference, an annual event sponsored by marketing automation software provider, Marketo. The focus on this conference is on marketing technologies, how they’re revolutionizing the industry, and how they’re changing the way we market and sell. And this customer experience issue is one of the many topics that they’re covering at this year’s event. The role that technology can play in combating this issue is very much the reason for that.
Many of the marketing and customer experience sins that I’ve laid out above are a result of just a few key issues:
- A lack of knowledge about the customer, their activities and their interests
- Limited visibility and transparency into what different organizations within the enterprise are doing, and how often they’re engaging with a prospect
- Impersonal and generic outreach that doesn’t say, “I know you and your challenges…I feel your pain, man!”
Luckily, these are all things that advanced marketing technologies and new innovations can help us overcome.
First, there’s the issue of not “knowing” the prospect. Today, this is almost inexcusable thanks in large part to the information that’s available, and easily attainable thanks to our advanced analytics technologies and social networks.
People show you what they’re interested in with their activities and engagement. If analytics show that a prospect is spending significant time on a particular blog post or page on a Website about a particular topic, there’s a good chance that they’re at least personally interested in that topic. The learnings from analytics can then be reinforced by looking at that individual’s activity online. What are they sharing on LinkedIn? What are they discussing on Twitter? The information is there if we just open our eyes and use the tools that are available to us.
Then there’s the lack of transparency. If John in sales reaches out twice this week to a prospect and Joanne in marketing is sending them invitations to a Webinar, and an email newsletter all at the same time, you could run a risk of angering the prospect. John and Joanne need to know what each other is doing. They can’t operate in a silo.
This is another area where technology can help. Marketing automation programs – such as those offered by the conference sponsor, Marketo – integrate natively with CRM solutions and help to increase transparency into what disparate organizations within the enterprise are doing, who they’re reaching out to, and how frequently people are being contacted. They also streamline processes and only send hot leads – those that have been lead scored and show a certain level of interest – to the sales team for outreach.
Finally, there’s the impersonal and inapplicable marketing content and messages. As I discussed, using the analytics and tools available can help to identify what a prospect’s interests are, and where their pain-points lie. From there, marketers can work to craft messages that are personalized, show that the company understands that individual’s challenges and illustrate that the company has a solutions that can help them overcome their challenges. This can be accomplished through the creation of custom microsites, or just by sending the correct resource at the right time in that customer’s journey.
The same things that make you angry as a consumer can make an enterprise sales target angry, and shape their perception of your company. Customer experience is becoming increasingly important. Customers want to be engaged, not marketed to. They want to know that your company gets them, and gets their challenges. And they want their time wasted. Luckily, as marketers, there’s an app (or apps) for that.