A successful mobile strategy is extremely important to a B2B marketer's success. Here are four ways that B2B marketers can tackle mobile in an engaging and effective way.
Mobile is playing an increasingly large role in B2B customer awareness. Recent research by Forrester shows that mobile is a mainstream content source for tech buyers. Both C-suite and IT buyers increasingly use tablets and smartphones for research. But while many companies have made significant progress reconstructing their Web experiences with a user-first mindset, it isn't as simple as "porting" that experience to a smaller screen.
Some B2B companies approach the mobile channel in a way that is reminiscent of the era when B2B technology and software companies scrambled from the mainframe world to the World Wide Web. The outcome was flawed - user-centric design was mostly absent in the initial porting of software to the Web. It seems few B2B players have learned from this experience, as they continue to approach the mobile era without consideration for the user.
With this in mind, below are four steps to help B2B marketers become more mobile-centric.
Enhancing customer-centricity is a vital step for improving business performance. An essential element of this is customer-journey mapping, which can range from life-size dioramas to whiteboard sketches to small, precise charts. Regardless of their form factor, most of these maps tend to focus on consumers' and organizations' informational, functional, and sometimes emotional needs. Few consider the media touch points of the customer journey and that media seems to diverge, not converge.
B2B marketers should include the following dimensions in their journey mapping projects to learn how and when buyers are interacting with the company.
Successful content strategies modularize content so that it's published at the right time and optimized for digital devices. For the next generation, digital content experience marketers must provide relevant content to a targeted user at the optimum time on their chosen device. Currently, programmatic digital advertising is doing this - processing real-time learnings to improve the quality of creative content, effectiveness of campaigns, and cost of advertising.
Consider the future "editor in chief" of content strategy - this person will need to have the imagination of a game designer, planning for multiple endings, or the improvisation skills of a military commander, constantly reassessing and reconfiguring assets. Good content won't suffice anymore. Google has started to include the overall website quality in its search rankings, which is why mobile plays an increasing role in content and site planning.
Capturing the attention of B2B buyers will require that the next-generation content strategists master these three requirements:
Virgin America's new website has started using responsive Web design to deliver an ideal experience with appropriate content at every interaction.
Salesforce's website utilizes responsive Web design and has optimized its navigation structure to display always "just what's needed."
What's often overlooked is that a B2B buyer is also a consumer. Expectations are similar for users buying a pair of glasses online from Warby Parker or a ticket on Virgin America's mobile app. However, the quality of mobile experiences provided by consumer marketers far exceeds those from the B2B category. How can we change this? With an advanced customer-journey map and a next-generation content strategy in place, the next step is to focus on the design of your mobile experiences.
Whether designing a responsive website, or for Android and iOS, designers should focus on applying the universal mobile user experience design principles. Here are some guidelines:
The recently redesigned LinkedIn and Connections Apps are efficiently optimized to provide the most recent or relevant content with the least amount of effort.
The ultimate differentiator for your mobile strategy is a mix of simplicity and surprise. Simplicity will appeal to the rational side of prospects and customers; elements of surprise will make the experience memorable. To win your audience's preference and loyalty, you need to stay a step ahead, by identifying their needs and preferences. Make sure you have simplified every detail of the experience with your B2B audience in mind. Unlock the built-in hard and software capabilities of today's tablets and smartphones to provide a competitive edge, including:
Sprint's Safe Driving app locks your phone automatically while driving to prevent texting or calling by tapping into the phone's accelerometer.
Mobile plays an important role in lead generation and other portions of the consideration stage, so developing a customer strategy that considers all touch points, with an emphasis on mobile as the lead channel for "first-contacts," has never been so essential. Following these four steps will help B2B marketers tackle mobile in an engaging manner.
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Thomas Mueller is the chief experience officer, digital, leadership, and simplification, at Siegel+Gale based in New York. Thomas is often inspired by cycling trips through New York's Catskill Mountains, where he spends much of his free time renovating his country house and admiring the simple wonders of the constantly changing scenery.
As a brand experience visionary, he passionately believes in honing the essence of simplicity to enable remarkable experiences through any service, interaction or communication. For the past 17 years, Thomas has devoted his work on the client side at agencies to the pursuit of making users and brands equally happy.
Today, as chief experience officer at Siegel+Gale, he works with consumer brands, financial services firms, media companies and nonprofits such as American Express, Bank of America, Citi, IRS, Penske, United Mileage Plus, HP, SAP and Rotary International to help them leverage the power of simplicity. Prior to joining Siegel+Gale, Thomas worked with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Arnold Worldwide and Razorfish.
Thomas holds a BFA in communications design from Fachhochschule München in Germany, an MFA in media design from the Art Center College of Design and a certificate from the Harvard Business School's Business Perspectives for Design Leaders program. He has contributed to such notable publications as the Wall Street Journal and Forrester Research Reports. His many awards include the New Media Invasion Gold Award, Cannes Silver Cyber Lion, Art Directors Club NY, The One Show, Webby, WebAwards and DesignInteract.
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