SAP is a B2B pure play, but changing buying patterns have led the company to adapt B2C marketing practices to connect with decision makers.
A new TV spot released last week, “The Future of Business has Feelings,” showcases how brands need to get more in touch with their customers’ emotions. English actor Clive Owens asks viewers how they’re feeling on a scale of one to five. He then immediately notes that it’s a silly question, because everyone feels way more emotions than that on daily basis. To succeed, businesses need to understand all those feelings, and turn problems into opportunities.
“We want to show experiences that people have with brands, and make the important point that every day, an experience can be different,” says Tillman of the video, which will be showed on broadcast TV as well as across SAP’s social media channels. “Businesses can take control and understand customers more than ever before if they want to win in the experience economy.”
In the past, buyers were purely interested in the capabilities of the products themselves. Today, what decision makers are looking for is a bit more nuanced, and marketers need to keep up, she says.
“Those capabilities are still relevant, but what has become more relevant is the personalization of technology, and how it caters to the individual needs of the users interacting with technology,” Tillman notes. “We’ve transitioned from selling products to selling brands, and anticipating needs at an end-user level.”
Just as consumers expect relevant and contextualized marketing offers, so too do B2B customers, agrees Alison Biggan, president of corporate marketing at SAP.
“There’s an expectation that you know the things I care about and where I’m spending my time, and my history with your company,” she says. “It’s important that we’re connecting all the systems in the background, so whether you are hearing from sales or marketing or support, everyone understands [the history] of engagement.”
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This is especially crucial in today’s environment, Biggan says, because it is easier than ever before for customers to switch loyalties if they have a bad experience.
“If you are not differentiating based on experience, and doing everything you can to meet your customer’s expectations,” she says, “you’re opening it up for a competitor.”
Last year, SAP developed its first brand narrative, to create a clear focus for how the tech company goes to market.
“We have a lot of campaigns, messages and themes and they can be confusing,” notes Tillman. “We needed an anchor that told the value story of SAP, and how SAP technology helps to drive companies and help the world become a better place.”
Tillman is also very conscious of the fact that SAP has several different constituencies that it needs to communicate with, all of whom have different needs and interests.
“How we deliver and drive campaigns has become a great priority for us, and the story we’re telling has evolved,” she says. “The way in which I deliver a story to an IT professional may be different from how I’m going mass market from the way I talk to a body of end users who interact with the product on a day to day basis.”