Channel engagement exists within an increasingly complex and continually evolving economic ecosystem. These ecosystems differ by industry, vertical, product or service, brand and even customer segment. Understanding the unique characteristics and cross-channel dynamics of your ecosystem is a critical first step in thinking differently.
At the foundational level, effective channel engagement requires an assessment of the role that the target audience (businesses) plays within the ecosystem. In some cases, the business behaves like a customer or buyer and a B-to-B loyalty or lifecycle marketing program is the best solution. Restaurants are a great example.
In other cases, the business behaves like a sales person or re-seller and an incentive program is the best solution. Auto dealers are a great example. Not surprisingly, in most cases, the business behavior is a blend on the buyer/seller continuum and a hybrid approach is the best solution.
Regardless of channel engagement solution or location on the continuum, effective program design requires an acknowledgement that businesses increasingly behave like consumers and the line between B-to-B and B-to-C marketing is blurring. This is great news because it means that many of the marketing concepts and behavioral economic theories that we leverage to effectively drive consumer behaviors can also drive business behaviors.
For example, customer lifecycle marketing as a strategic framework can be just as powerful for businesses as it is for consumers. And when it comes to behavioral economics, B-to-C marketing challenges associated with declining attention span and infobesity are magnified in a B-to-B setting – as a result, it is even more critical to incorporate heuristics, leverage gamification and ensure content is focused, relevant and vivid.