Brand experience accounts for more than 60% of a company’s competitive edge26/02/2019
Today’s B2B buyer is more concerned about the brand experience they receive from companies - and you should be too. According to Oracle, 86% of buyers are prepared to pay more to get a better brand experience and Accenture reports that 86% of B2B CMOs consider it to be very important. So what exactly is it, and more importantly, how do you deliver it?
Brand or customer experience is, quite simply, the experience that a company delivers to their customers. It is far greater than just the product or service itself. To truly be able to penetrate markets, gain competitive advantage and ultimately increase your profitability, you need to sell a complete experience. So how do you do this? It all begins with your relationship with your customer.
As B2B marketers it is our job to truly understand our customers – read our latest article here on the changing B2B buyer. We need to know what really makes them tick and then deliver a complete brand experience tailored around them. The good news is that a brand experience is unique to each company. Competitors may try to replicate or imitate, but the experience that you create for your customers is yours and yours alone.
In today’s world, where customers are surrounded by continual choices, having a defined and relative brand experience is the only way you can gain a competitive edge. In fact, studies from Gartner show that the brand experience accounts for a staggering two thirds of a company’s competitive edge. Without this vital element at the heart of your company and marketing strategy, you are setting yourself up to fail.
Let’s not kid ourselves – the customer is in control. No matter how great our product or service is, how effective our marketing strategy is and how keen our pricing is, the customer isthe one in control. They can have their pick of the companies, so how do you get them to choose you? By delivering an experience that will not only satisfy their needs, but also their wants and keep them coming back for more. So, how?
To be able to deliver a brand experience, as with any marketing, you must have a solid strategy. One of the core principles of marketing is the 4 Cs. As Tim Hazelhurst, one of the founders of B2B marketing, explains “The 4Cs are the 4Ps for B2B marketing. Not Product, but “The Customer’s wants and needs”; not Price, but “The Cost to satisfy the customer’s wants and needs”; not Place, but “Convenience to buy” and, finally, not Promotion, but “Communication with”.”
Adhering to the 4 Cs will help you to define and deliver the brand experience that your customer is looking for. You must look at developing a relationship with your customer. Now we all say we do this, but it is more than just a quick customer profile. Really get under the skin of your customers and understand them as individuals. Listen, interact and engage with them, don’t just sell to them. Start a conversation, pique their interest, inspire them, appeal to them, even challenge them, but get them engaged. Not only will this get customers coming to you through choice, but your customer retention and brand loyalty will take a boost too.
To create the best experience for your customers, you have to be present. Be available, at all times, to speak with your customers in whichever manner they prefer, as this is crucial to building a long lasting relationship. We are not saying that you need to have people sat at the end of a phone 24/7, but look at ways to reach out to your customers and make it easy for them to contact you. Artificial Intelligence is on the rise, and research shows that it will be a mainstream customer experience investment over the next few years. According to Gartner, 47% of organisations will use chatbots for customers care and 40% will deploy virtual assistants. However you do it, do it well. We all love good customer service and that is what we must deliver, continually and consistently.
With Forrester reporting that 23% of B2B CMOs are already viewing improving customer experience as a top three objective, get in there now and make your brand, the brand of choice. You won’t regret it! Especially when you consider that, according to Wunderman, a whopping 86% of buyers will pay more for a better brand experience and 54% of UK consumers feel more loyal to brands that show a deep understanding of their preferences and priorities.
In order to market effectively, you need to create a genuine and appealing brand experience and you need to do it now. Improving your customer experience will only bring added benefits to your business, so you really have nothing to lose. Are your offering the best customer experience? Let’s talk marketing.