Thursday, January 22, 2015

How eLearning Systems can change B2B Product Demo and Customer Support

Traditionally B2B organizations have been offering product demos at customer location. This accounts to huge amount of investment in travel and stay, but cannot be neglected. Often customers also request for repeat of demos, which builds the cost. This happens due to complexity of product or low academic qualification of customer, they take more time to learn. B2B companies especially in the area of customize products regularly face this problems of repeat demos, thus reducing profit on sales.   

B2B should develop new age ELearning systems for product demo. ELearning systems now have high technology integration like Augment Reality, virtual Reality, Web – Meetings, etc. These systems can be incorporated with questionnaire for evaluation of product demo based on answers. Further, this questionnaire will also help in product and service co-creation based on feedback.
Each eLearning capsule or graphic video shouldn’t be longer than 2 to 3 minutes duration to engage with customer and ensure understanding.  These demos can be translated into different languages and sent on smart phones.

Further B2B organizations can offer customer support using these eLearning systems, probing the user to identify issues and raise support tickets for customized solutions.

Some benefits of eLearning Systems to B2B organizations:

  • Cost Effective: eLearning is cost effective as there are no logistics like travel and stay of engineer is involved. This will reduce dependability on printed collaterals, as everything is available on cloud servers.
  • Learning 24 x 7 x 365:  User can learn watching repetitively, thus increasing engagement. Also as the eLearning systems are on cloud, users can watch it at his / her convenience. 
  • Tracking of course: ELearning systems can be incorporated with tracking systems which can help B2B organization to understand analytics. These eLearning demos can be incorporated with questionnaire for evaluation of demo. Feedback systems like these helps in product development, since users can share in real time and partner in co – creation of product / service. 
  • Standardization and Scalability of demo: ELearning systems help to standardize demo, also help to integrate changes based on feedback in real time, so demo course keeps on evolving for better engagement and understanding of user. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Why B2B should STOP using YouTube in Social Media / Content Marketing

B2B organizations have been dependent on YouTube for sharing product demo videos, insights on new developments, product servicing videos, etc. to customers. These videos are used for marketing and customer support as well.

But YouTube has been blocked by most of the corporates, so employees cannot view videos during work hours and as it distracts.  YouTube doesn’t offer landing page for videos or lead generation facility for B2B. These have adversely affected B2B organization’s as they have to courier CDs of product demo and servicing videos to customers, and use other content marketing tools for lead generation. Time has come for B2B organization’s to identify better tools for video sharing, along with landing pages for lead generation and analytics.

Content marketing is most essential for B2B organizations and videos play major role in content marketing. Most B2B organizations have corporate clients for whom they offer products or services, as YouTube is blocked this becomes very difficult to engage with them.  Here are few examples how Video helps B2B in engagement.

  1. Email marketing with Videos: Using videos for email marketing can increase Click – Through – Ratio (CTR) for the campaign. Using video streaming server helps to view the video in the email box itself thus increases engagement with customers. These videos should be not more than 60 seconds and have landing pages incorporated in the emailer for lead generation, which helps to attract customers to website by showing trailer videos. 
  2. Video landing Pages: Using video landing pages during social media and search engine optimization campaign helps for more time spent on each page, thus increasing engagement with customer. Usually website visitors tend to view video rather than spend time reading the entire content. 
  3. Analytics of videos: Video streaming websites offer better analytics about viewing patterns of the video; this helps to filter target audience based on engagement levels. Better the analytics and better will be the marketing strategy. 
  4. Customer Support: This is the most important element of marketing, whether offering demo of the product / service or helping in solving errors in the product. As YouTube is blocked by most corporates, sending a video of product demo or servicing becomes tedious process, with video streaming, B2B doesn’t have to worry about blocked content; the video directly opens in email box. Since it is stream from different server’s chances of the server getting blocked is very less. 
  5. Testimonials: One of the best marketing tools for B2B organizations are testimonials from clients, these are the most effective tools and can be marketed along with case studies. As most customers don’t have time to read through the content, viewing videos  with case study and testimonial capsules helps to engage, since it increases me-too factor and spread word – of – mouth.
 There are many companies offering services of video streaming like

  • Bomb Bomb
  • Get Response
  • HTML5 video plugin is supported by high number of mail boxes, which can help in video marketing

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Outline to help you in designing social media marketing strategy for B2B

B2B organizations have started venturing in social media and content marketing campaigns. Prior planning a social media campaign, B2B organizations have to venture in social listening strategy to understand more about what stakeholders are discussing? What interests them? How can B2B organization engage with them? What are the influencing factors? Etc. Have worked on parameters for which the B2B organizations need to answer before venturing in social media and content marketing strategy.

  1. Define your target audience / stakeholders / customers – Unless you know with whom you need to engage, you cannot venture in Social Media campaign. 
  2. Information which your target audience likes or feels important – Identify through social listening, what they like, type of information which can engage them, topics of interest, when they share posts, etc. 
  3. Social Media networks used by target audience – Identify the social media channels where you can find your target audience, also identify specific groups where they discuss. It is necessary to identify organic and paid channels of social media for specific targeting. 
  4. Marketing vision of B2B brand – Whether B2B or B2C, brands should define their vision, as this forms the motive for marketing. Without vision it will be difficult for brands to engage in any marketing communications activity. 
  5. Visual Identity of Brand – All B2B brands connect with highly specific customers, but should have a visual identify which stakeholders can recollect or connect when they read about the brand. This in an integral part of marketing, as B2B brands have to influence customers deep learning systems. 
  6. Responsibility of content generation – B2B organization have to define employees / people responsible for content generation and authentication before it is published on social media, to ensure any negative impact due to errors. 
  7. Identify most important topics / categories – Identify most important topics / categories which help to engage and communicate with stakeholders / target audience. 
  8. Keywords– Being a B2B organization it is important to target the content based on keywords search trends by target audience. Having right keywords build into the content helps search engine crawlers to rank the content. 
  9. Identify customer journey from Search to Purchase – This is the most important element to measure ROI for campaigns on social media and content marketing. B2B organizations have to identify the complete process along with specific parameters like time required, number of decision makers, customization required, and cost of project.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Six Mistakes by Indian B2B in marketing strategies, are you doing THESE?

B2B businesses have always taken long time to change or re – work on their marketing strategies. Since earlier in 1970s and 80s they enjoyed monopoly business. Which emphasized any Indian company considering to import from international sellers had to obtain NOC from Indian B2B manufacturers of same line of products. This lead to the development of sloppy attitude and less focus on marketing. With change of policies for international B2B companies, these attitudes lead to either their closure or stagnant growth. The ones, who changed, stayed in business and experienced growth.
Now with progress in technology, B2B manufacturers are on the receiving end, as they are yet to embrace the new technologies like digital marketing, CRM (Customer Resource Management), ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), etc. Though most B2B manufacturers are working on embracing technology and digital marketing, but fear of negative impact have made them conservatives.
The below points are my observations on some major marketing strategy mistakes which B2B business; especially manufacturers have been committing over the period. 

  1. Company doesn’t have a website: Most common problem with Indian B2B businesses, they don’t own a website of their organization, zero online presence. Most buyers are searching online; not having a website is as good as not running the business. 
  2. Have a website but only you visit it: Most B2B business design a website just for the sake of it, without having any vision or marketing plan. The websites are designed in old format of tables, without any conformity to W3C guidelines of Google, no meta tags in the website, etc. This is as good as not having website as it is difficult for search engines to crawl or rank it on search engine. 
  3. Website focuses on products only: It is important that B2B organizations focus on offering solutions, rather than products, as buyers are looking for solutions. This would increase engagement with buyer for better influence. 
  4. Solely depend on word of mouth/referrals for leads: With buyers increasingly dependent on search engine and engagement oriented communication, the dependence on word – of – mouth is less, though it is helpful for initial meeting, but cannot wholly depend as lead generation activity. 
  5. Mass Emailing campaign: Email campaign has long been changed, from mass emailer to database brought from different sources; it is now permission oriented email. This concept of mass email often leads to blacklisting of servers by firewall. On the other hand, this also results email reaching in SPAM folders instead of inbox of the customer. B2B organizations need to build strategy for building mailer list, of customer who wants to receive information. 
  6. Digital Marketing: If at all, B2B organizations ever venture in digital marketing, the focus is to have paid profile on Indiamart or TradeIndia and focus on SEO of the website for lead generation. Social Media is the last thing they ever plan to venture and that too is just focus on getting the likes and followers. All the strategies are only focused on lead generation, instead of engagement. But the ground rule is – engagement has to be top priority, while lead generation is outcome of engagement.

B2B Organizations need to venture in new marketing strategies for better engagement with informed buyers.