New Research: B2B Should Use B2C Customer Loyalty Principles
For years, B2B marketers have largely viewed B2C loyalty tactics as irrelevant in their space. After all, B2B buyers don’t respond to reward points and coupons. Plus, customer retention has long been seen as the responsibility of those in sales, service, and support.
But B2B marketers are under growing pressure to interact—and deepen relationships—with customers at every stage of the lifecycle, since retaining a customer is more valuable than acquiring a new one.
That’s why B2B marketers can’t afford to overlook the opportunity to learn from their B2C counterparts, who are experts at driving customer loyalty.
And Forrester’s latest research report, B2B Loyalty, The B2C Way, outlines practical ways B2B marketers can apply B2C principles to deepen relationships and engagement. (Download the free report here.)
Deepen engagement to lock in loyalty
While it’s understood that customer loyalty ultimately boils down to the value an organization delivers over time, at the heart of customer retention is engagement. An organization’s ability to maintain a customer’s interest and involvement over the long term is the linchpin to delivering that value.
As Forrester analyst Emily Collins underscores, “B2B companies stand to benefit from three core tenets valued by B2C marketers, which have nothing to do with discounting, and everything to do with building a flexible, customer-obsessed loyalty strategy.” They are:
- A deep understanding of customer needs and motivations
- Consistent customer interactions across organizational silos
- An adaptive strategy that accounts for the changing customer and market landscape
Forrester’s recommendation: Extend and elevate your existing retention efforts
The Forrester report stresses that B2B marketers are under as much pressure as their B2C peers to become customer-obsessed. To that end, Collins reminds us that while loyalty programs may have started in the B2C world, the concept can apply to the B2B space.
At the heart of the report, she encourages B2B marketers to develop an engagement plan featuring a mix of perks falling into three categories:
- Material rewards that incent and reinforce desired behaviors
- Experiential benefits that engage channel partners, customers, and end users alike
- Recognition and customer acknowledgement that appeals to advocates
Building customer loyalty increases retention—and makes acquisition easier
In today’s world buyer-empowered world, more B2B buyers consult their network of peers for advice and guidance during the purchase process. This means that a company’s loyal customers can be a key reason it makes the shortlist of potential vendors.
Bottom line: the goal for every B2B marketer should be to build up a healthy stable of loyal customers willing to advocate on behalf of their company.
Download this free limited-time Forrester report to learn how to:
- Adapt B2C loyalty tactics to reward, recognize, and engage your B2B customers
Use the nuances of B2B to guide your loyalty strategy
Extend and elevate your existing retention effort