Walk the halls in any corporate, B2B headquarter and you will most likely hear that growth and managing change are key strategic objectives. Probe a little deeper and don’t be surprised to feel employee pushback with the rate of change and the barriers it presents.
Fear is omnipresent. No one wants to risk a client relationship, a contract, revenue stream or their job. And for many this fear translates into risk-averse behaviors. We’re getting smarter and better but also worried that AI and automation will displace human capital. The world feels uncomfortable. But to thrive, a successful growth strategy can’t be built on an internal view of the world.
Readiness for Change
For B2B companies, confidence starts with understanding your audiences. Demographics and firmagraphics are much easier to embrace. But to make a connection, marketers and relationship professionals need to grasp the needs and motivations of customers and prospects. And in today’s economy it’s less about control and more about guiding, teaching and leading.
Companies generate a lot of data and the ones that can figure out how to effectively use the data will stay ahead. Focusing on audience segmentation can uncover rich insights and sharpen precision. But traditional segmentations tend to focus on the past few months whereas category transformation requires a need to anticipate tomorrow today. A more relevant segmentation strategy needs to fuel a growth map that is:
Future Focused - built on emerging trends and behaviors
Commercial - identifies the opportunities that will grow in the future
Flexible - developed around drivers that will determine future choice
Embedded – aligned around a purpose and language to win in the future category
Pivot to Win
Whether you’re a B2B or B2C company, categories need to be defined by consumers. Those that strictly adhere to category conventions will be ripe for disruption and the days of being shielded by barriers to entry with high margins are numbered.
Growth will come from adjacencies and the need to look beyond the immediate category is not a nice-to-have option. A future-focused segmentation and growth map based on higher-level, audience attributes will drive immediate impact but over time will also strengthen resiliency when markets shift.
Questions leaders should have answers to:
• Does the organization understand what drives the end-user of a product or service?
• What are the needs and motivations of direct customers?
• What drives purchase behavior?
• What is the customer experience and how can it be improved or reshaped?
• How can I be confident where growth will come from?
• How do trends integrate with the brand strategy and key targets?
• How do we align the organization to take advantage of this opportunity?
The old paradigms for staying relevant are gone. Is your strategy built for the future?