B2B companies are focusing on the end consumer more than ever before
What do one of the world’s largest beverage manufacturers, a Fortune 50 healthcare company, and the number-one business networking site all have in common? They each generate revenue from B2B business models — yet they are making significant investments in the end customer experience.
The success of a B2B company has traditionally relied on an efficient network of distributors, wholesalers, and service providers. Yes, the goal has always been to get a great product or service into the hands of a consumer who needs it — but B2B brands haven’t actively explored what the experience looked like or who that end consumer was.
Today, no brand can afford to lean too heavily on the middleperson. Consumers continue to up the stakes when it comes to customer experience — and if your brand can’t keep up, then it doesn’t matter whether you sell via a distribution network or directly to the consumer. A disappointed or disengaged customer will look elsewhere.
We’re seeing this shift play out across the three industries I lead here at Adobe — manufacturing and consumer packaged goods, healthcare (payer, provider, pharma), and technology and services. And I’d be willing to wager my prized LP collection that a similar trend is taking place in other B2B sectors as well.
If this shift is something you’re considering in your organization, then your instinct is correct. The old models for B2B growth are no longer adequate if you want to compete.
The business-to-everybody (B2E) opportunity
It makes so much sense for B2B organizations to own their end-customer relationships that you might wonder why this shift hasn’t taken place before. Technology is one reason — these businesses simply haven’t had access to the tools they need for such audience insights.
Even if a consumer packaged goods (CPG) business knew that it would grow revenue for itself and its distributors by influencing the customer at the right time, or a healthcare payer truly wanted to improve the patient experience by taking away the stress, the challenge remained the same. These businesses needed to find a way to build a nuanced (micro) understanding of billions of end consumers in real time and at a vast scale — and that wasn’t feasible until recently.
My team has been working with CPG, healthcare, and technology businesses to gather revenue-creating customer data for several years. The leading beverage company I mentioned earlier is using an end consumer data platform that provides real-time audience insights. This helps to create targeted marketing campaigns at a scale never achieved before. This capability is allowing business leaders to drive smaller and smaller micro-events to impact demand. Next, they are looking to tailor the product in near-real time to meet the demand — and elevate the customer experience — when these micro-events take place.
Our example healthcare payer is investing in a new revenue-boosting insight of its own — that caring about the patient experience (and not just revenue from the healthcare providers) will help to build its B2B brand. This business is looking to help patients through some of the most stressful life events anyone can experience, from life-saving surgery to high-risk births, while patients of other providers may be left unsupported and uncertain of what happens next.
We’re making the experience one of understanding and empathy instead of confusion and worry. Would you be willing to pay your insurance bills on time if your patient experience was everything you could ask for? I know I would — and so would millions of others.
Seizing the B2E opportunity for yourself
If you can build an understanding of your audience in an Adobe Real-Time Customer Data Platform profile, then you can market to them directly and grow demand. Now you’re executing with precision at a speed previously hard to achieve and maintain.
Digital audience analytics methods have given B2B brands the tools to learn about end customers — fast. At Adobe, our Professional Services team is adept at helping businesses maximize what they’ve learned and improve the customer experience. I’ve already shared how this is taking shape for a CPG and healthcare customer, but the same technology is being used by the world’s leading business network too.
My colleague Pavan Ghaie has been working on the front line with this client, using Adobe’s analytics and personalization solutions to identify audiences and determine the content and offers that benefit customers most.
“Effectively leveraging Adobe’s solutions this way enables more B2C conversations and, in turn, improves the customer first-party data to be used for their B2B offerings like their marketing and learning services solutions.”
Head of Services, High Tech and Agencies, Americas
By investing in end-customer insights, B2B brands are transforming themselves with customer-centric knowledge that only they own and only they can use to their advantage. I don’t need to stress how valuable this is, especially when the market is volatile and customer loyalty can be lost in an instant.
Bringing digital and commercial opportunities together
Bringing this technical innovation to life opens up exciting new commercial opportunities, and Adobe Professional Services has developed robust methods for supporting and teaching our clients how to optimize and capitalize on a better customer experience.
I’ve seen firsthand what happens when B2B brands gain access to large-volume customer data that most B2C businesses would be envious of. Teams can tap into brand extensions and explore new revenue streams (like direct-to-consumer) — all while still honoring and perfecting legacy routes to market.
Speed doesn’t always (maybe even ever) come easy to multinational B2Bs. Yet with Adobe’s technologies and approach, we can show you how to own the end-customer relationship with a nuance, scale, and velocity that will keep you one step ahead of your competition.
These are truly exciting times for our friends in B2B.
Get in touch with Adobe Professional Services experts. We can improve your customer experience through future-proof improvements to the systems, strategies, and technologies your business uses every day.
Matt Colquhoun has over 25 years of experience building and leading successful customer-facing teams in the technology services industry. He leads the Americas Strategic Accounts organization, and his team is responsible for the diverse set of industries of healthcare, technology, and manufacturing. Matt and his team are passionate about digital experience and digital transformation and improving our customers' businesses and their teams' skills. Their goal is to improve our customers' businesses by challenging them to learn, to improve, and to grow their businesses in new ways.