Various studies of B2B customers show that more than 50% are not satisfied with the way in which brands market to them once they became paying customers. Similarly, more than 40% of marketers are not satisfied with the results of their customer marketing efforts, yet 90% of them believe that customer marketing is an important investment. And in an era where customer loyalty is weakening, it is clear that the need to create high value customer marketing investments has never been more pressing.
Over the past eight weeks we have helped our clients to deliver various customer forums, to gain deeper awareness of their customers’ needs and interests, build stronger relationships and eventually increase share of wallet. Here are some observations that the customers shared about what does and doesn’t work in marketing to existing customers.
Understand customers’ interests and needs.
This seems like a no-brainer, but according to the customers I was with, it is rarely done well. Most B2B marketers apply a broad brush to standard marketing programs with existing customers. The result: those customers feel like they are not really a customer. “I just wish they’d stop marketing the same products to me that I’ve already bought.” It would be great to sweep this aside as someone else’s problem, but the customers mentioned more than 10 large global brands that continue to market products they already purchased so it would seem all of us need to double check this one.
Curate, customize, curate.
Further to the point above, these are your customers; figure out what they are interested in and curate the programs to their interests. Clearly, when you have thousands of customers this is challenging, but most B2B businesses do not have hundreds of thousands of customers that they are tracking. Build a system to log their interests and areas of opportunity and use it to inform marketing programs, messaging and investments. And then build customer experiences that are unique and bring value to your clients. The investments made are too large to waste.
Ask their advice.
Full disclosure—we run advisory boards so this point may be deemed as self-serving, but customers restate consistently their desire to help you be successful. Ask for their help and from that ask you will gain a valued partner.
As we head into end of year, many companies are focused on closing deals that are in the pipeline and existing customers are a great source of cross-sell and up-sell opportunities. Remember to engage them with knowledge and understanding of their business and professional goals, and you just may find that the velocity and volume of your close rate increases.