In my last LinkedIn article, I looked at the ways Amazon delivers amazing brand experiences throughout the customer lifecycle. They deliver key benefits and deepen the customer relationship at every touchpoint, including post-purchase.
Even complex B2B brands can learn a lot from Amazon’s approach. A holistic view is important. However, it’s also important to look at each lifecycle stage individually to ensure it’s optimized.
Below is a quick accounting of customer touchpoints you should consider when assessing the strength of your B2B brand experience. For each touchpoint, ask yourself three questions.
– What is the ideal customer experience at this stage of the lifecycle?
– What needs to change in my delivery to achieve that ideal?
– What do I need to do to optimize the flow from this lifecycle phase to the next?
1. Problem identification. Educating the prospect.
When most folks think about branding or marketing, they think about the pre-purchase phase. The customer has identified (or become aware) of a problem and are actively exploring a solution. Since this is familiar ground to most marketers, we won’t dive too deeply here.
The obvious marketing-owned touchpoints like brand messaging, media advertising, email, social, and web assets all live in this phase. Just don’t forget sales-owned touchpoints like sales and call scripts and one-to-one emails.
As a marketer, you may not own those touchpoints, but you better influence them if you want to deliver a consistent brand experience.
2. Installation or delivery. Closing the deal.
In complex B2B sales environments, the sales experience doesn’t end with a verbal commitment to buy. And, therefore, the brand experience shouldn’t end there either.
No matter how well you shield the prospect from “how the sausage is made”, they’re likely to come into contact with or have exposure to your internal processes. This may include the back-and-forth required to finalize a legal contract, install or deliver a product or service, or resolve initial understandings as to usage of the product or service.
In bigger deals, there may also be interactions with various internal organizations. Sales will probably be positioned as the customer’s central point of contact. However, leading marketers should be sure to have visibility into and influence over all these touchpoints as well.
3. Adoption and maturation. Wowing the customer.
Once the product or service is installed or delivered, it’s time to wow your customer. We don’t just want to retain them. We want to guarantee repeat business and position ourselves for referrals.
An optimal post-purchase experience can drive loyalty and retention for even an average product or service.
From a logistical perspective, we think here about how we deliver account statements, product updates, and performance reports. And, from a people perspective, we think about help desk, proactive customer support check-ins, and timely non-pushy upselling.
What Would Amazon Do?
Like a relay, the customer experience requires a strong effort at each stage of the race and a seamless transition from one stage to the next. Ensuring a smooth hand-off from each touchpoint is critical in development of an optimal customer experience.
Amazon is a master of this. They deliver powerful brand experiences throughout the customer lifecycle and never drop the baton. As a result, they consistently transform prospects into customers and customers into repeat buyers.
The question is… How will you apply Amazon’s practices to your B2B brand?
By Maria Trysla – Marketing Strategy for B2B Companies.
For more branding insights, check out my 4 Steps to Revitalizing Your B2B Brand or send me a message on LinkedIn.
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