How A B2E Approach Keeps the Customer King

by Justin Lee

Everyone’s heard the old adage “the customer is king,” right?

Every business owner knows that it’s in their best interest to make sure that each of their customers finds the right product and has a good experience using that good or service, lest he or she walk away without buying anything or ends their subscription or service retainer.

So why shouldn’t a business’s marketing efforts also center on providing that customer-centered experience? Why shouldn’t businesses be figuring out what potential customers are interested in, engaging them, and connecting engagement to demand? That’s where the business to experience model — B2E – comes in.

At this year’s Marketing Nation at Adobe Summit, we saw how data analytics can take that tried-and-true wisdom and turn it into to 21st century marketing strategy. Instead of thinking about marketing as business to business or business to consumer, this year’s presenters showed us that businesses need to realize that they really all fall into the B2E model, whether they’re selling to an individual consumer or to a large organization, because at the end of the day, marketing in the B2E revolution has to mean getting to know the customer well enough to give each of them a unique, tailored marketing experience that will help the marketer move product.

Adobe CEO, Shantanu Narayan, drove that point home as he opened up the conference sharing with attendees that “you may have millions of customers[,] but you must know them like they are your only customer” so that you can structure their experience of your product—all the way from acquisition through their purchase and usage of the product—in a way that best suits them.

This might have been hard to accomplish for each of million of customers in the past, but the beauty of modern, cloud-based analytical platforms is that the wealth of data that companies can access about their customers can now be distilled to actionable insights on how to best engage each of those individuals.

And this has real world consequences for how a company interacts with its potential customers. Take SunTrust’s onUp movement, whose goal is to help five million people in five years achieve financial confidence—knowing what’s coming in and what’s going out of their bank accounts—using SunTrust technology. With the right tech tools, it’s meant that they can efficiently identify the right customers and then meet them where they spend their time—on Pandora, a Buzzfeed article, USA Today—with a message that has been uniquely crafted to that individual’s needs.

Such targeted messaging increases the chance of engagement with the initial offer and likely increases the possibility that the individual will engage SunTrust’s services. By engaging such a targeted audience set, SunTrust is not only driving sales, but they are doing so in a way that is smarter and potentially, more efficient.


To hear presenters from this first official day of the Adobe Summit tell it, the way to drive sales with marketing, this B2E approach, is to use data, AI, and all the tools to get the right message in front of the consumer. In doing so, the message should be so dialed-in that it doesn’t even feel like a sales pitch; the customer sees that their individual concerns are addressed making a seamless connection, or engagement.  And why wouldn’t customers be more like to buy a product or service? After all, the marketing strategy that brought them in makes it very clear, the customer is king.