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Shelton Fleming Associates
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Registered in England 1647866

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Customer-centric B2B – embracing common ideals

B2B marketing has long been centred around strategic account management. Indeed, for many B2B businesses or their practice areas, the number of clients can be counted on two hands. In that context, B2B is the very epitome of customer-centricity. However, technology and social media are changing the centre of gravity for these industrial-scale relationships.

Firstly, you won’t make your client fall in love with you if you don’t share the same ideals. In today’s highly integrated, inter-dependent world, you need to follow the same ethical code and visibly promote ethics and purpose.

Business is not just about business any more. Businesses operate within much wider economic systems – often high-profile business ecosystems – which inevitably have far-reaching social and environmental implications. A company in the supply chain can’t any longer hide in the shadows, its impact on the world.

Indeed, Larry Fink, Head of BlackRock, sums up priorities when he says, “A company cannot achieve long-term profits without embracing purpose and considering the needs of a broad range of stakeholders.”

CSR orientated thinking and sustainability (both in the environmental and social sense) needs be front and centre of business strategy. To be a good match in the B2B world, next time you plan your marketing campaign or organize a networking event, focus on the ethical aspects of what you do and how you do it. Our discussion paper on Sustainability in live events can help you with that. 

Ideals and ethics have the best chance of being understood and appreciated when you engage face to face or these days, in virtual events and online forums. To make these occasions and experiences inspire and create lasting bonds, consider integrating social collaboration techniques. These are tools for online ideation and collaboration.


Co-creation enables ideals to be experienced


One platform we particularly like is Co-Create by Engage Works. Another is Miro. In a virtual event or live-stream, these activities are easily activated via on-screen QR code or live-link.

Use these ideation modules in face to face and virtual events. Work on challenges and opportunities from the get-go, with your B2B customers and partners from across your wider business ecosystem. This will allow you to integrate your business and people into your client’s innovation process, long after the event.

These invitation-only, virtual ideation environments allow individuals in your organization to inspire and engage, unrestricted by time or place. Imagery, video and sound-bites, verbal and written, can be captured in these sessions, energizing the business relationship. Indeed, the mere fact ideas are being shared in these secure social-collaboration hubs is an act of generosity and shared-purpose that creates a launchpad for to B2B relationships to flourish.