The art of loyalty marketing in the B2B space: What you need to know
Loyalty is always something that many B2B organizations struggle with — after all, it’s hard to get as excited about buying a new industrial widget for your warehouse as you would standing in line to buy the latest smartphone or tablet.
But while this is certainly true, oftentimes the root cause of the “B2B customer loyalty” issue is far more straightforward than that. Most of the time, it doesn’t have to do with whether you do or do not love a particular brand at all — it’s the fact that switching from one brand to the next is a hassle to say the last.
So, in a world where even the average B2B company receives as much as 30 percent of its revenue from existing customers, how do you address this problem in a way that is mutually beneficial for everyone involved? It’s simple — take a page out of the B2C playbook and embrace the wide range of different benefits that subscription services have to offer.
It’s About Building a Brand around Your Customer
Take a look at some of the most popular B2C subscription services currently in existence. Netflix. Blue Apron. Dollar Shave Club. What do they all have in common? They’re built around making the purchasing process for customers as easy as humanly possible, even if that means switching brands or breaking an existing habit.
These are all incredibly easy ways to fill a need, yes — but they’re all business models built around using existing customer behaviors to create more satisfying customer experiences across the board. This is the major lesson that B2B companies need to embrace to survive into the next decade and beyond.
Now, none of this is to say that switching to a subscription model won’t be without its challenges for the average B2B brand. It would be far, far easier to launch a new subscription-based company than it would be to pivot via an existing one. It’s a massive upfront investment for legacy organizations — both in terms of the culture shift that you’re asking people to go through and the financial requirements to get such a service off the ground.
But it’s also important to note that in this particular case, the reward is often very much worth the risk — particularly for B2B brands. Your customers already likely make purchases on a semi-regular basis and in bulk — why not make their lives easier by automating those purchases?
Not only are you streamlining and improving the customer buying experience and increasing customer loyalty, but you’re also creating a consistent, recurring and (most importantly) predictable business model at the exact same time. At that point, literally everyone wins — which is a very exciting position to be in.
In the End
Even if you can’t tear down your entire brand and rebuild it from the ground up, the major takeaway from this is still every bit as valid. If you want to solidify customer relationships and make them last as long as possible, you need to remove all of the anxiety that comes with purchasing and focus on making the customer experience as easy and as enjoyable as possible.
What do your customers need? WHICH problems can you help them solve? How can you make the experience more inviting and more beneficial from their perspective?
These are the types of questions you need to be asking yourself and once you begin to realign your own strategy around the answers, rest assured that you will go far.