According to a report recently released by Forrester, b2b eCommerce marketers are moving on from their traditional role of trying to out-smart online buyers, and delivering a stream of leads and support to sales teams. With the emergence of new technologies and digital tools, b2b marketers are shaping a digital-powered role as engineers of customer engagement, built around the managing relationships throughout the buyer life-cycle.
Assisted by tech such as artificial intelligence (AI), which uses big data and complex algorithms to help predict customer preferences and behaviour, and then automates the creation of marketing campaigns to pitch to customers, b2b marketers are getting ahead of the game. AI software continually learns from the data so that it can improve its own capabilities, and develop functions such as recommending specific products or offers for individual customers.
Top performing b2b marketers are able to harness the power of new technology to turn web analytics and customer data into buyer personas, (groups of customers sharing similar characteristics and behaviours), and buyer journey maps, that demonstrate how customers interact with multiple touch points before they make a purchase. This combination of personas and journey maps helps marketers design an engagement strategy for every part of the eCommerce customer journey.
Another Forrester study found that over 50% of b2b marketers based their marketing approach around the specific needs of different personas – and analysts expect this figure to rise to 75% in 2018. What’s more, many providers of b2b marketing technology are developing increasingly sophisticated AI software to embed in their software. These advances will help support contextual marketing across the entire customer life-cycle, (including through b2b eCommerce platforms), and will enable marketers to better target prospects and customers with personalised content that optimises each interaction.