Most B2B marketing, communications and sales departments constantly look for new ways to better reach their customers and create opportunity for meaningful engagement. As Fahlgren Mortine has examined in other insights, the solution isn’t always speaking more – it’s listening better. Engaged listening helps marketers understand what their customers distinctly seek and then deliver on those needs.
Fahlgren Mortine Senior Vice President Julie Exner has extensive experience partnering with clients to listen to their customers. She explained that Marketing, Communications and Sales aren’t the only ones that benefit from engaged listening – the results benefit their audiences as well by enhancing the customer experience. Below is an exploration of effective methods for engaged listening.
B2B CONTENT STRATEGY WITH THE CUSTOMER IN MIND
Completing large-scale customer trend surveys has created engaging content that is valued by both our clients and their customers. Fahlgren Mortine client Vertiv is a global leader in data center technology and infrastructure. Together, we have published two Data Center 2025 reports containing content generated by surveying over 1,600 data center professionals about what they envision for the future of the data center.
The surveys not only allowed Vertiv to practice engaged listening with its audience, but also created content that its audiences wanted to consume. Because the survey results provided the insights of the end-users, the content was much more powerful than what could have been created exclusively from Vertiv points of view.
Another approach Julie offered is working with clients to get more out of their existing product user groups by surveying members and publishing reports that can inform benchmarks for the entire category. These reports are newsworthy – they generate valuable media coverage for the product by reflecting the insights of the market.
PEER-TO-PEER ENGAGED LISTENING
Another method for engaged listening are roundtable-style events and publications. For more than five years, Fahlgren Mortine has hosted a B2B Peer Summit, which offers B2B marketing leaders the opportunity to come together to discuss common challenges, problem solve and listen to one another. Participants find immense value in this opportunity for peer-to-peer listening.
When an in-person gathering wasn’t possible this year, the event evolved into interviews of B2B leaders. Their insights were compiled and shared among participants as a chance to learn from one another despite the challenges of 2020.
Learning from Paid Search
Julie also mentioned a time when a paid search program analyst noticed that potential customers were searching for one particular resource, a product installation guide, that didn’t yet exist. By practicing engaged listening through paid search performance analysis, the marketing team was able to use this insight to optimize content strategy. Developing content that spoke to that directly to that query and adding it to website provided the opportunity for more engagement and conversions. Click here to read more about establishing and learning from a search engine optimization program.
LOOKING BEYOND BY GOING OLD SCHOOL
There are many opportunities to practice engaged listening through digital tools and resources that give marketers access to data-driven insights. However, Julie noted that it’s important not to forget about the value of going “old-school” with insights from those that engage the most deeply with customers.
That could be the sales team, but Julie remembers when the team spoke with an engineer on the client side who spent the majority of time in the field with customers. This engineer said that most of all, his customers ask him what their peers are doing.
Connecting to the instincts of those with the most customer contact allowed the marketing team to better understand what their customer is distinctly seeking. The information gathered through these conversations was then published and made available to the customers. The resulting content had high engagement, a long life and strengthened the customer experience because it plugged into what they really wanted to know.
Learn more about engaged listening for B2B audiences in Fahlgren Mortine’s eBook: