Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, chat bots and voice optimization are all buzzwords taking over the digital marketing space as B2B marketers shift towards customer-centricity.
These buzzwords are putting pressure on marketers to incorporate AI that will help them deliver personalized content experiences regardless of their current digital status and maturity.
Implementing AI just to check the box is becoming an increasing issue within the B2B marketing space. To ensure success, there is a clear process to follow.
Here are the steps B2B companies need to take in order to launch a successful digital transformation strategy that will engage customers and build stronger relationships:
- Conduct an internal audit. Ask questions and listen to everyone in your organization. Ask yourself, does our current organizational structure work? Are we set up for digital success or are there gaps that are causing us to miss potential new business? These questions will be the starting point to setting yourself up for successful customer relationships in the long term. An internal audit will help you understand what is currently working and what needs to be changed before any transformation takes place.
- Gain employee buy-in. Even if a company’s content marketing and technology systems are fully functioning, nothing will change if there is not buy-in across the organization. Bring in outside experts to help move the organization towards customer-centricity starting from the top. Roadblocks will inevitably pop up, but if the change starts from the top and includes the core team required to implement new customer-centric strategies, you will overcome challenges.
- Integrate sales and marketing. Again, this needs to be an internal corporate change, from the top down. If both sales and marketing simply listen more to the other side, large strides will be made and gaps will start to fill. Without this integration, valuable and crucial new business opportunities are missed and compromised. You will only find success if sales and marketing are working towards the same customer-centric goals.
- Select the proper technology and partners. Many organizations have separate technology and automation system that don’t speak to each other, causing huge gaps and unnecessary work. This disconnect hurts the lead nurturing process, causing missed prospect opportunities. Invest in the right technology and partners with the expertise to implement the technology. This investment will be worth it in the long run to ensure you are realizing maximizing value from your marketing technology investments.
- Have a strong strategy to pull it all together. B2B marketers are looking more closely at the customer journey and learning that customer experience has to be a priority in order to make a seamless experience for prospects. Customer experience has not been addressed strategically in the B2B space before. Now is the time to take a systematic approach and get it right. Mapping out the customer journey is a critical step towards delivering a seamless experience that produces results.
- Take a customer first approach. Historically, customer-centricity has not been top of mind for B2B marketers. Companies need to come to terms with the fact that their content marketing approach needs to shift to be customer-centric. It’s not as much about a brand’s messaging, but what the customer really needs to improve their business. Personalization should be at the forefront of a content marketing approach to address the needs of the customer. Ask yourself, “Are we making it easy for our customers to make a quick decision?” Regardless of the type of marketing program, it needs to provide ease of use, allow for a quick decision and eliminate other noise in the space.
If you can confidently check off all the items on this list, your company is only then ready to start evolving in the digital marketing space.
For more information on this topic, check out this Overcoming B2B Digital Marketing Challenges Best Practice Guide that I participated in with Econsultancy.