“CX needs to be fully integrated to create seamless online and offline activities in order to drive advocacy and retention. This is the battlefield nowadays. Not price or products.”
Christelle Fraysse has 20 years of global business experience with particular emphasis on marketing global enterprise software businesses. We spoke with Fraysse on trends, better content and cleaner data. Here’s what she had to say.
B2B industry trends you’re excited about and why?
Customer Experience (CX): CX needs to be fully integrated to create seamless online and offline activities in order to drive advocacy and retention. This is the battlefield nowadays. Not price or products.
You differentiate your business and gain competitive advantage by providing a world class experience at every touch point, including marketing promotion, sales, customer service etc. The experience has to be consistent and engaging; it needs to feel superior but natural, all while aligning with your brand identity.
Content changes: The type of content and how people absorb content is evolving. We need to focus on more content visualisation and less long form. Content should be more interactive with gamification and an increased use of videos that tell a story and engage.
Hyper-personalisation: Prospects and customers expect a more personal customer experience now; one where they feel ‘known’ by your company. We need to address their unique pain points while taking into account their specificity, preferences, demographics, and more. Hyper-personalisation is central to greater conversion, a better customer experience and higher rates of engagement.
But hyper-personalisation is dependent on the quality of data you hold for each customer – bad data will end prospective business opportunities.
AI automation: Many things can be automated for scale and for efficiency, enabling teams to focus on high value activities instead. But beware: like hyper-personalisation, it only works if the process has been thought through in detail and your background data supporting AI is solid.
Automation can go horribly wrong and damage the relationship you have with your customer or prospect if done badly. You need to consider all eventualities and how each customer action may change the automation. Predictive analysis is another great way of allowing businesses to forecast future behaviour and trends and make more informed decisions but, again, bad data can damage this.
How tough it is to work in B2B marketing, and what advice would you give?
I wouldn’t describe the industry as tough, but you have to learn every day in order to stay current. My advice to a marketer would be that B2B and B2C are coming together and the tactics used by B2C marketers are increasingly being applied to B2B. B2B marketers are embracing digital channels and increasingly moving to integrating B2C techniques to creatively deliver content and drive greater engagement with their business audience.
The difference for B2B marketers is that you’re seeking engagement with multiple people in different roles (from decision makers to influencers) in order to tell a story with purpose that can help drive a transaction. This is the challenge. It’s also what makes B2B exciting and interesting!
What are some of the pain points in marketing that you’ve experienced?
One ongoing pain point is sales and marketing alignment; it’s both challenging to manage and more important than ever. I’ve found that developing a culture of true partnership with sales can benefit the entire company as well as the bottom line. Using the right tools in data governance, and ensuring the right data is acquired consistently, allows for more effective marketing activities.
Developing a short-term and long-term strategy is also a challenge. Short-term demand generation and brand building often compete for budget allocation and can sometimes require education of key stakeholders.
Also, to truly develop content of value for prospects and customers, you need a pool of subject matter experts within your organisation to drive that content. It isn’t always easy to access this and to provide the content that will get the attention and time of your target audience.
Finally, with digital channels being more prominent, technology now plays a big role in marketing, but the pain point can be implementing the solutions that will provide the greatest opportunities. In order to make more informed decisions, ask yourself if you’re utilising technology that enables you to be agile, test new approaches quickly, and track your activities.
A marketing achievement you’re happiest about?
Consistently shifting the perception of marketing from a ‘cost centre’ to a ‘revenue generator’ – an accomplishment I am proud of. I’ve managed to build shareholder value and generate revenue, as well as align the way we sell with the way our customers prefer to buy. Driving customer-centric change within organisations lies at the heart of marketing.
How would you improve your data in B2B marketing?
In B2B marketing, demographic and behavioural data are equally important for a successful marketing operation. However, it’s key that this data is high quality and accurate. Data input can take time, so businesses should focus on quality rather than quantity and attaining a clear definition of what data is particularly important. Ensuring a structure is in place for those using your system is vital to avoid shortcuts or the input of bad data. Providing a framework can drastically clean up data and maximise value.
Maintaining data that is both accurate and current involves regular cleansing. It’s important to have a strategy and the right tools in place to ensure data is consistently cleaned for duplicates, inaccuracies and other errors. This will dramatically increase the value of your data. Consolidating data to avoid siloes is also essential. This includes ensuring the use of one trusted source, by investing in technology such as a CRM, in order to provide a single view of the customer.
Not only can technology aid consolidation but, by using the right tools, data can be analysed effectively through reporting, dashboards and visualisation. This can allow users to ask the right questions, understand and analyse the data to inform decisions, and ensure quality.