The ‘digital brand experience’ bar has been raised. Are you keeping up?
In B2B, a powerful online presence has always been important, but the last twelve months have shown just how influential it now is for your buying centre. As your potential customers increasingly use digital channels for research and making purchase decisions before engaging with sales teams, your digital brand experience needs to be a cut above the rest.
Now that you are unable to engage and nurture prospects face to face, where the strength and experience of your salespeople can shine through, your digital assets must come into their own. You need to be certain that they are precisely on point across every channel and touchpoint, or it will only serve to demonstrate a lack of understanding of your customers’ needs and pains.
There’s no denying the opportunity: McKinsey concludes that digital leaders in B2B achieve up to five times the revenue growth and up to eight times the EBIT growth of their peers. However, while everyone is talking about digital lead generation and ABM, these are just cogs in the overall digital machine; there’s a bigger branding and customer experience picture to take care of, and tomorrow’s winners are the ones who can put it all together.
In short, the B2B digital brand experience bar is now higher, and you need to keep up.
Demonstrate value, always
The rise of digital and analytics have fundamentally reshaped the B2B selling environment and buying journey. Yet the ultimate goal remains the same: to attract customers into a lasting, profitable relationship with your brand and business. High-quality, value-driven experiences will help to create this connection. To deliver them you need to offer personalised, unique, engaging interactions, tailored to specific audiences and key moments in the decision-making process.
Each touchpoint represents a direct reflection of your brand, and well-constructed content will help to build engagement and trust. Messaging and calls to action should hit the prospect’s key drivers, and the focus should be geared towards demonstrating how your solution adds tangible commercial value, not just a description of what it is.
Be visible and relevant
A buyer’s search process often covers many channels and platforms – even time of day – which means strategically placed brand visibility is a priority. However, the ‘brand experience’ goes far deeper. People want their time to be productive, personal, and positive, with all interactions being simple and effortless. Your competition is just a click away, so it’s vital to optimise every potential interaction and to ensure your value and promise is communicated at every turn.
To do this effectively, it’s essential that your brand and message is highly relevant; you need to show a clear understanding of what buyers are looking for at specific steps in their journey by providing them with the right information in the right format. And be careful not to assume this is always the same; at early stages it is important to be visible and credible, with a firm grasp of their drivers and challenges. As they get further along the funnel and closer to a decision, the information you feed them must become more tailored and detailed, clearly showing the commercial advantages your solution provides.
Clarity builds credibility
Coherence throughout the whole customer journey, across all touchpoints and channels, is also very important as disjointed or confusing messaging will only erode confidence in what you say. This can only be achieved if marketing and sales work closely to set clear goals, and to align messaging with both the buyer centre and journey. Customers do not want to deal with silos or multiple departments – they want a smooth, logical experience where they get more detailed and valuable insights the more interest they show.
By thinking through the connections needed across your business to get the most from your digital capabilities, you can build digital experience that truly supports your sales strategy. How then to ensure consistency, and optimise your customers’ journey to deliver a more effective outcome?
Leverage different channels
It’s not simply a case of focusing on the online spaces you control; you have to consider all the potential touchpoints a customer may see. This could be an article in a trade magazine, talking with other buyers, or discussions in online communities. It is beneficial to build productive relationships with third parties, such as analysts, journalists, and industry experts, and exploit every opportunity for positive coverage (and never underestimate the power of brand ambassadors).
Don’t forget the human touch
At the end of the day, people still want to do business with people. Especially in the current climate, building and maintaining strong customer relationships requires a balance between personal interactions and digital experiences, so you must determine which parts of the journey should be automated and which ones still require personal contact.
The trick is to understand where human interaction is most effective and invest there, for example through timely and personalised responses to enquiries, or even simply having a person pick up the phone rather than send an email.
Test, refine, repeat
As your customers’ needs evolve, so should your digital assets, and you should constantly be looking for ways to refine the overall experience. Here, input and insights from existing customers are a commonly overlooked source of intelligence and can be instrumental in brainstorming, co-creation, beta-testing, and in relaying where trouble spots and issues exist.
With a plethora of options and information, people also have little patience for complexity. Their digital experience has become as important a differentiator as products and price, and are now synonymous with brands themselves. Simplicity is key – customers want easy navigation, accessibility, and a clear idea of where to find information or how to take the next step in the process.
Don’t get left behind
There are many B2B businesses that have embraced digital transformation, and their brand experience is exceptionally good. You may be one of these, but if you have read this far then it’s likely you are looking for ways to improve.
If you feel that your digital brand experience is not up to standard and failing to generate the leads and opportunities you expect, give Ralph Krøyer, Managing Director of CBC, a call on +45 35 25 01 75 or email him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, and together we can begin to explore your options.
In the meantime, if you would like a little inspiration from the results we’ve achieved for similar businesses to yours, take a look at our work section here.
Topics: Digital brand