Nick Watt at the Digital Doughnut
put together an excellent paper
back in March of last year in partnership with Episerver
. Based on extensive voxpop surveys’ with both B2B and B2C marketing strategists: he captured broad and insightful views on the state of the nation with regard multichannel/omnichannel use cases’ and needs.
I will declare that I love both Doughnut and Episerver so I am inherently biased on both fronts, but I was really pleased to see B2B responses carved out from B2C. Too often B2B is overlooked/consumed by being merged in with retail D2C orientated campaigning. It is also vital to note that B2B marketeers inherently understand multi-channel or influence/nudge campaigning far more readily than B2C: we know that we:
- have come from a historic presumption that we need to communicate gradually
- that we must communicate through multiple partners and channels to reach the customer
- that we must reach teams of people within our target customers to influence a sale.
In the omnichannel world, B2B has a natural head-start, so I wanted to add something to Nick and Episervers’ paper representing those of us who reach our customers through partners. It is a Cloud and clouded world we communicate through…
I am particularly drawn to the infographics Omni-channel subheading: ‘The Nirvana
’ Nirvana meaning breaking free from the ‘illusory sense of self’
, (although sadly I fear in our trade we are unlikely to ever reach a place without suffering – those quarterly and annual attribution reports won’t write themselves!).
‘Breaking free from the illusory sense of self’; I like this concept for intermediary based marketing as we MUST accept that our own ‘self’ determined marketing materials will never reach our audience unfettered by channel – so ‘self’ is very much an illusory in B2B – but the infographic has to be altered.
In intermediary rich sectors, we have to allow our marketing ideas to pass both metaphorically, and today technically, through the cloud of influence or intermediaries processes.
Those intermediaries could be close to home, such as your sales team, or almost out of reach, such as an international distributor or VAR. Additionally there are the critical influencers that you have zero control over such as media partners and omnipresent advisors such as Martin Lewis in the financial services sector (Martin’s Moneysavingexpert.com
site is the most influential financial advice site and the 8th highest Buzz ranked site in the UK for ANY subject: http://www.brandindex.com/ranking/uk/2014-mid/top-buzz-rankings
) frightening for all those B2C banking marketeers…
As B2B omnichannel marketers we need to often take a visionary leap as to what our marketing message will be once it has reached its ultimate recipient. Like social media marketeers have come to accept in very recent times: you cannot control what is said about you, you have to lead or maybe just join a community, and allow your own marketing to be the beginning of a message, not the completed article. Again, to B2B marketeers, this is not new.
So what is our objective when advising and supporting our customers CDO’s and CMO’s to reach channel marketing nirvana – well…. the all seeing eye on a dollar bill is an irresistible metaphor (perhaps perverting the Buddhist view of nirvana more than somewhat – but let’s face it, our CDO and CMO friends in most cases won’t remain our customers for long without that additional financial outcome!)
- From a marketing distribution standpoint, CDS always reference back to the importance of the 3 C’s: Right content, right contact, right context as our method for ensuring marketing distribution is effective.
- But the elephant in the room is, of course, what “Right” actually is – what is the right message, who are the right contacts in a chain of contacts and what is the channel context?
- For brevity (and the inevitable opportunity for a follow up posting) lets end this blog with the beginning of the solution.
Before you can be omni-channel, you first must be omni-aware and in a channel network that means we need tools and metrics that take into account:
- Our ideas, content and campaigns will not pass directly from us to our customers (even via our own direct sales team)
- That our intermediaries are typically named VALUE ADD resellers for that reason, they ADD VALUE, so we must let them (and let go of that sense of self).
- That our ultimate customers will be exposed to multiple variants of our original message through different channels and touch points.
If we accept these as true then we must choose “listening” and analytics tools and feedback loops and reports that include our channel partners, and by that I don’t mean spy on them, I mean collaboratively design, track and share content and campaign activities together. You need to:
- Share assets
- Co-Reference your assets
- Co-ordinate your/their campaigns sharing common tags, hashtags and links
- Share success
To succeed in this regard you must be able to answer with at least a degree of positivity to this question:
Would your value added channel partners share their Google Analytics data with you? Will you with them? Or is that still too scary….?
Blog author: Peter Mann, Director of Client Services