Trends - Corporate Marketers: Experience Design in Business to Business Companies
Our sources show that the term Experience Design is often interchangeably used to mean a variety of things. These include areas such as service design, product design, and UX design. We chose to focus mainly on event design (virtual or physical) and environmental branding in order to best answer your request but also included some information on related areas
Through our research we found a few key trends in B2B marketing to consider. Most important is the effectiveness of face to face interaction and how this experience can be enhanced in so many ways but mostly through personalization to every individual. Also important is the growing rate at which first contact with a company is made online and on mobile devices. Meaning it is important to have these areas well-designed to encourage further relationship building. Our researchers also note important trends in branding a workplace environment to strengthen a brands message and how new technologies can help to make an experience more accessible or memorable.
The main focus of marketers within current trends is the idea that nothing beats face to face human interaction and this key element is made even stronger by applying B2C strategies in B2B marketing.
It is important to create a unique and complimentary experience. This means not just an experience that stands out and will prompt memories and stories but one that relates back to your brand or the message you are trying to send. It is also important to think about this impact on the individual level, not as a group experience. Use any information you have available in your tool belt to reach out to each person and let them know why they need to be engaged in the experience. Do this by making feedback and input a priority even ahead of the experience. You will be asking individuals to give up their professional time and they need to see the personal value gained through that exchange.
Demographic data is a key tool that can also be utilized to ensure an experience is relevant to the individuals involved. This can allow you control over your audience in a targeted way.
Within this personalization and engagement have clear goals for where to leave each individual by the end of the experience. Make these goals measurable with specific metrics and set a road map for how to reach them.
Another dynamic to consider is the overall structured format of an experience. Current trends are suggesting that a more open environment where individuals can choose when to engage in different parts of the experience may be more successfully. The agency of this strategy is more engaging for any one person than being shuffled around on a strict schedule as a group. A more structured format for an experience may also be enhanced by bringing in someone to lead the flow and perspective of the experience based on a personal or emotional connection. Your company can highlight an experience by having an activist lead the individuals thought through any benefits your company may offer that matters on a more human level.
All of the above trends focused on some level of event for consumers. The next overall trend leans more into the idea of creating an overall environment for both employees and consumers.
We found in an interview conducted with three separate companies that a redesign and overall branding of their office space helped to strengthen their brand. Simply put, each company redesigned their spaces to include more visuals/graphics related to their brand and goals. Being in this space as an employee offers a focus and vision that helps individuals to embody the brand and serve consumers in a way that best reflects the company. For outside consumers stepping into these spaces, the companies were able to set an immediate tone of the brand and what is viewed as important to that company.
While current trends do emphasis the effectiveness of solidifying a B2B relationship by utilizing personalized and impactful face to face interaction, they also recognize the key to beginning these relationships largely lives in digital branding.
More and more, the initial contact for a B2B relationship is not only happening online but on mobile devices specifically. It is projected by the year 2020 70% of B2B search inquires will be made on smartphones. With this in mind it is important to have a great B2B web design for both desktop and mobile devices.
For both formats, functional minimalism is regarded as the best practice. This means minimal text and branding that conveys a message simply. Some more important aspects found through our research include the following: convey the quality of your product, provide a well-placed call to action, provide direct contact and customer support, present a clear value statement and a design that tells the brand story, along with quality content. For mobile, it can be even more effective to utilize features only smartphones offer such as location tracking or click to call links.
New Technologies VR AR and mr
The two words of digital engagement and physical experience meet through another trend, VR AR and MR marketing. Virtual reality offers experiences that are immersive, engaging, and personal. Augmented reality can be used to enhance a physical experience an individual is already enjoying by viewing even more than what's physical possible in front of them. Mixed reality is the happy marriage of the two, utilizing the existing world around an individual while also providing full interaction which of course makes an experience more engaging. These technologies can be used to entertain, educate, and market all while reaching a wide audience or by making one experience for a concentrated audience larger than life.
Finally, we wanted to include some thoughts from the former creative leader at the Walt Disney Company, Peter McGrath. In an interview about B2B marketing he stated that automotive and consumer electronic industries are really leading the way in incorporating their brand with the human experience. He also highlighted that companies who are incorporating entertainment and art into their marketing are innovators in his eyes.
Current trends show that good web design, with a mobile device in mind, is the best way to start a B2B relationship. In order to keep the relationship strong nothing can beat face to face interaction. This strategy must be enhanced with individual personalization and human connection in order to be effective. A company should also not be afraid to utilize new technologies, live entertainment, or art to create a memorable experience for their consumer. Art and environmental branding can also strengthen the message with a company and its employees.