Helping brands earn fans
Customer Experience, Engagement, and Advocacy
posted by: Nick Venturella
While social media and digital marketing disciplines will still be needed in 2020, there is a fatigue that is occurring among the audiences of those marketing tactics.
More specifically, so much messaging is scheduled or AI or something automated that it can often keep the human connections of the people involved in B2B organizations (marketers/sellers and buyers) at arm’s length from one another.
Given this state of automated, often-non-human message bombardment, how do B2B marketers cut through the clutter to be heard and generate positive results?
In a word: balance.
In my opinion there’s really one umbrella concept that you need to focus on to determine the right balance of all the other key areas underneath that concept...
What I mean by this is, your organization needs to build partnerships internally and externally that are mutually beneficial to create a self-sustaining and scalable ecosystem of market potential.
In regular speak: start with your own network of employees, partners, and customers to create genuine win-win situations that brings value to what each party cares about. This is not a new concept, but it’s needed now more than ever.
That means, starting to invest where you are vs. only being heavy handed towards demand generation. If you currently invest 80% of marketing budget in demand gen. and 20% elsewhere to build relationships and partnerships across your organization’s current network (employees, partners, customers), consider changing that to 70% / 30%, or even 60% / 40%.
Your organization’s current network is where you can begin to gain depth and eventually more scalable reach due to the network effect of cultivating advocates over time. To cultivate advocates over time is simple: build mutually beneficial relationships with those humans in your organization’s network over time – always be trying to give great unexpected value, and it will come back to you in spades. This practice will help drive forward and upward the success of all involved.
How this drives everyone’s success forward and upward is by caring about the success of the people involved in each area as much, if not more, than the wealth of your own organization. (If you take care of the people involved, wealth will come. Here’s a Harvard Business Review article that highlights this effect.)
The basic idea is that your organization’s brand stands for something, and your products/services help your target audience achieve something, so then the question is, how can you bring additional value to others beyond “I have a problem and you have a solution,” with a real human relationship?
The idea is to elevate the connections your organization’s network has far beyond the capabilities of the product or service you sell to build meaningful and fruitful relationships.
Also, and this is crucial, you have to actually and authentically care about these partnerships (and if you care about the success of your business you will care about these partnerships on a human-to-human level – people run businesses, and people buy from people, period).
Because more and more people in this digitally chaotic world are craving trusted human interactions – and they can still be online interactions, just more human-to-human vs. bots – the power in driving market growth is in building relationships that build community where that community trusts one another to give their attention to one another learning and improving because of one another around a common purpose, brand or product, but it’s less about the entity that’s bringing them together and more so about the collective outcome of expanding one’s trusted network and ecosystem of human connections.
This is where concepts of Employee Engagement, Partner Marketing, Customer Experience, Customer Success, Customer Marketing and Advocacy come into play. They all exist to leverage and scale an organization’s current network, which can’t even begin to provide dividends for anyone involved until trust is built and real human relationships are cultivated.