By Patrick Willer, Solutions Engineer, Salesforce

The distinct boundary between Business-to-Business (B2B) and Business-to-Consumer (B2C) companies is evaporating as they now operate more like B2B2C companies. Never before have companies been able to get so up close and personal with consumers — that is, if they seize the opportunity to do so. Acquiring, analyzing, and taking action on consumer data to deploy new go-to-market strategies is hard work; but above all, it requires a digital-minded and agile culture and behaviour.

Let’s look at how consumers are changing the dynamics in the 4th industrial revolution and how companies can lay a foundation to hyper-personalize their engagement with their consumers.

 

“B2B companies are only limited by their own culture and actions to connect with consumers.”

 

What Has Changed?

Today, every point of contact between a CPG (consumer packaged goods) company and the consumer is under pressure. Amazon continues to change the retail game on a daily basis while smaller, digital-native companies are bursting onto the scene to nibble away at revenue from the larger players.

In 2018, people spent on average more than 5 hours a day on their mobile phones, essentially scrolling through 100 meters (328 feet) of content with their thumbs. And as this happens, attention span decreases rapidly. Consumers are doing more things on-the-spot than ever before. In fact, 72% of purchases now start on mobile.

If we want something, we want it immediately — and we usually get it quickly. This behaviour is not unique to millennials; all of us have become a lot more demanding overall. We are more aware of wellness and sustainability than ever before. We demand more transparency throughout the entire supply chain. We want to know how companies spend our money. We expect our environment to be just as smart, always-on, and connected as we are. Today, no company is an exception to this new norm.

 

The Age of the Consumer

Companies today understand how consumers search and discover products. They are deeply connected to consumers’ lives and needs. They now understand consumer actions, behaviours, interests, wants, needs, and expectations at virtually every stop along the purchase journey — and know how to adapt quickly as consumers ebb and flow along that journey. This allows brands to be present at every moment when decision-making takes place, giving them myriad opportunities to create instant and hyper-personalized consumer experiences.

 

Know Your Consumers

Knowing starts with listening. Somewhere along the way, many brands and businesses lost that personal touch. But personalisation is back and stronger than ever. In fact, many would say that this renewed focus on personalisation is essential for the survival of any company, especially those operating at a global scale.

With Salesforce, you can supercharge how you tune into social media in order to better understand how your consumers engage with your brand (and those of the competition). You no longer rely on hashtags or @mentions. Artificial Intelligence image recognition and sentiment analysis capabilities allow you to listen & connect with your consumers on a global scale.

You can connect with influencers on social media that are not specifically mentioning you and turn that into a sales, services, and engagement advantage for your brand.

Storing Knowledge

Remembering consumer preferences for the future requires centrally storing consumer information. This is the starting point in becoming a truly data-driven company. This enables companies to do the following:

  1. Engage consumers at the right moment with the right message through data-driven and personalized marketing. By knowing what the consumer wants, you can exceed their expectations by serving them the right offer at the right time, influencing them in the moment of decision making.
  2. Sell directly to them via e-Commerce. Opening a direct-to-consumer e-commerce channel is the shortest path between two points and with the data you gather then you can only increase your knowledge of individual needs. Adidas and Rituals are inspirational pioneers on this front.
  3. Become better GDPR compliant. Many companies — especially larger CPGs — have multiple consumer websites that do not feed a central consumer database. With GDPR companies must have a solid consumer data strategy for collecting consumer data. In effect, GDPR compliance can help to integrate systems and databases that drive increased transparency for both businesses and consumers.
  4. Enable the power of AI. The more consumer data you have to work with, the better you can use AI to analyse it. Doing so helps brands become more predictive — and proactive — around consumer needs across all channels, which ultimately help drive more sales and greater engagement overall.

This all creates a bidirectional flow of data— enhancing both the consumer experience and how companies collect data— which makes it possible to create more personalised and meaningful consumer experiences.

 

Conclusion

As always, those who are obsessed with customer centricity have an advantage over those who do not. Combine that customer centricity with technology to store consumer data centrally can help to drive hyper-personalization across the entire consumer experience. It’s a land of opportunity for trailblazers. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

Article first appeared on the Salesforce blog.

Lava is a cloud solutions provider and an authorised Salesforce Partner in Malaysia. We have more than a decade of experience in cloud solutions which includes marketing automation, CRM implementation, change management, and consultation. We pride ourselves in not just being a CRM partner but in also understanding the needs of our customers and taking their business to the next level.

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