What’s the key to success in working in the B2B marketing space? Customer collaboration, according to consultant and Forbes contributor Larry Myler. In a July 2017 opinion piece for Forbes.com, Myler talks about ways to gather and act upon buyer feedback—and how this evolving collaboration between businesses and their customers is an important part of both marketing and retention.
“Improving the customer experience is high on any marketing manager’s list, whether you’re running an online platform, or a bricks-and-mortar store. But as is the nature of business and society, marketing is constantly evolving. Emphasis is shifting from retention only, to customer collaboration as well. How efficiently a company captures and makes use of customer feedback to improve the experience will define its ability to adapt to trends and remain competitive.” — Larry Myler, Contributor, Forbes.com
Myler begins his article by talking about feedback collection methods. Today, multiple channels exist for communicating with customers. B2B market researchers can gather high-quality feedback through “surveys, feedback boxes, user activity and usability tests, and simply by reaching out and asking,” Myler says.
Business intelligence tools like heat maps and analytics are now more plentiful and useful than ever, as are social media and online communities. But for a big-picture understanding of B2B, Myler advises supplementing online and mobile data collection with old-fashioned conversation and fieldwork: “Taking time to speak with your customers individually will give you a clearer idea of exactly what is going on,” he points out.
As for customer retention, Myler says, “By 2020, the customer experience is predicted to overtake both product and price in distinguishing one firm from another.” Customer loyalty and engagement will depend largely on special offers like B2B affiliate programs, incentives, discounts, and revenue-sharing models.
He also addresses the value of taking a consultative, one-on-one approach to client relations. By fostering individual relationships and hosting industry conferences, B2B market research companies and marketers can better learn to understand their clients’ pain points—and work closely with them to collaborate on solutions.
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