Data & Intelligence

Best of Class vs. Packaged One-Size-Fits-All 1:1 Commerce

Are you and your company nimble and 1:1?

The 1:1 Marketing team of Don Peppers and Martha Rogers have written a new book with a forward by Geoffrey Moore.  Great insights into the B2B ecosystem and the need to market better and to apply B2C concepts within the B2B marketing model.

Forbes Magazine posted a nice overview of the book – One to One B2B: Customer Development Strategies for the Business-to-Business World (click to read)

It hit me hard that many of the tenents of 1:1 Marketing align with what is now hot within the B2B E-Commerce marketplace.

– No big surprise since E-Commerce has become Commerce and Commerce is business and business is personal.

1:1 marketing (PDF) is a method of assessing customers’ preferences and choices based on a personalized interaction with them.”

1:1 Model per the Fortune article / book:

Build relationships: B2B companies need to develop and nurture their relationships with the business customer as an overall organization.

Digital Commerce: customers expect alignment and better Self-Service: order history, quick order pads, specialty shipping options, quote to order, automated product selectors and configurators – stuff that helps to nurture the end customer that utilizes the B2B site (in addition to the call center, sales, print catalogues, and special offers).

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Focus on individual customers: A B2B company typically has fewer, but larger, accounts. So, there’s a greater need to take up each customer individually and assess their needs, values, and expectations.

Digital Commerce: Personalization – focus on the individual, tailored web experiences via customer behavior and history; and then a very rich / targeted experience is needed as customers login and are provided content and data specifically for them. Leveraging web click history to better define and build that critical user experience.

E-Commerce has become Commerce and Commerce is business and business is personal.

Manage customers in-between purchases: A single B2B customer is often worth a million dollars. A B2B company has to manage, touch, educate, and serve their customers – even during these periods of frequent lulls.

Digital Commerce: Touching customers is easier via email drip programs and Email Service Platforms integrated to CRM and leveraging order data to serve up special offers and thank customers for the business; targeted re-marketing and Display Ads that are just in time and the correct cadence.

Help customers to manage their business: B2B businesses can gain a lot from helping their customers solve important business problems, not just within the area of their services, but also beyond it. 

Digital Commerce: Great B2B commerce platforms have built in order workflow management that can be extended to the customer’s customer helping them with operational efficiency. The “master admin” that allows a customer to set-up purchasing limits, rules-based routing of approvals, reporting on spend and the very efficient “turn that quote into an order” feature. Give the customer tools to make it easier to do business with you.  Keep’em / Grow’em.

The common thread seems to be a great personalized user experience and delivering great value via a customer centric engagement process and culture powered by great marketing and service.

The best way to do that is best of class platforms and tools tied together with web-services and integrated with core instances of truth (product data systems / digital marketing hubs and ERP).

Great platforms and great software tools give marketers, product managers, merchandizers, sales and others ways to conduct profitable commerce targeted and fine-tuned via analytical data. These software tools should provide the ability to move fast, react to customer and prospect needs: delivering the ability to be nimble and to wow the customer via a tailored experience.

The other approach is mediocre “packaged commerce” bolted onto ERP (think non-SEO friendly commerce stacks pasted on top of ERP: old client server ones and/or SaaS) or mediocre bundled “suite” solutions that are rigid and might not even have Responsive Design templates included.

Terrific User Experience and design, carefully crafted product category pages and great internal site search drive the best of customer engagement…Leading to the best outcome: Conversion!

Let’s get customer-intimate and 1:1.

Reference: Forbes Magazine: CMO NETWORK 10/21/2014 @ 9:49AM, Daniel Newman – Contributor, B2B Marketing Must Focus On 1:1

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Al Thompson

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