Harnessing the Voice of the Customer for B2B Marketing in 2024

In today‘s volatile market environment, customer-centricity has become critical for business success. According to Gartner, 90% of marketers believe marketing initiatives should align more closely to customer needs. [1] However, only 24% actually implement customer feedback in decisions, with 55% of those dissatisfied with data quality. [2][3] This reveals a major divide between B2B organizations and their customers.

In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll explore how B2B marketers can leverage voice of customer (VoC) insights to craft data-driven strategies that resonate in 2024 and beyond.

What is Voice of the Customer?

Voice of the customer (VoC) represents feedback gathered directly from customers about products, services, and brand experiences. This includes:

  • Purchase history – Product/service usage
  • Preferences – Communication channels, features
  • Browsing data – Website navigation
  • Survey responses – Feedback to direct questions
  • Interviews – One-on-one discussions
  • Focus groups – Moderated customer panels
  • Social conversations – Public social media interactions
  • Reviews – Ratings and testimonials

VoC provides a transparent view into customer perspectives, enabling organizations to tailor experiences, offerings, and messaging to be more relevant.

According to Forrester, 52% of B2B marketing professionals rely on surveys to collect VoC insights. Interviews (45%), focus groups (41%), and social listening (40%) are also common. [4]

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data=‘[["Surveys", 52], ["Interviews", 45], ["Focus Groups", 41], ["Social Listening", 40]]‘
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Blending quantitative and qualitative techniques gives well-rounded insights into customer mindsets.

6 Strategic Applications of VoC for B2B Marketing

VoC should inform key initiatives across the marketing mix. Here are six impactful applications:

1. Optimizing Communication Channels

Analyze which channels customers prefer and strengthen your presence there. For instance, if LinkedIn emerges as the dominant platform, focus on optimizing LinkedIn ad campaigns and organic content production.

2. Developing Targeted Content

VoC provides a content roadmap tailored to audience interests. For example, emphasizing educational pieces around key pain points uncovered in surveys.

According to CMI, 58% of B2B marketers now use articles in content marketing, with eBooks (56%) and case studies (54%) also popular. [5] VoC ensures you create exactly what customers want to engage with.

3. Crafting Personalized Offers

Spotlight customer needs using VoC to design specialized discounts, free trial versions, or incentive programs that speak to those needs. Targeted promotions convert at 70% higher rates than generic offers. [6]

4. Building Your Brand

Refine messaging, tone-of-voice, and visuals based on brand perception feedback. Show customers your brand aligns with their top values and priorities.

5. Improving CX and Digital Experiences

Identify pain points through VoC to exceed expectations. For example, 48% find obtaining product information difficult during research. [7] Close these experience gaps.

6. Entering New Markets

Analyze VoC data from current segments to find new target markets with similar needs. Produce tailored content for these prospects to start relationships.

VoC in Action: Brand Examples

Let‘s explore how two leading B2B brands have deployed VoC programs:

Airtable

The SaaS platform conducts quarterly VoC surveys with users to create segmented buyer personas and align content accordingly. VoC also feeds directly into their product roadmap – suggested features are implemented based on demand.

"We use VoC to guide almost every aspect of our product, marketing, and sales strategy." – Howie Liu, Airtable CEO

Maersk

The shipping giant gathers VoC through in-depth interviews and surveys with current and prospective clients globally. Findings have strengthened their brand positioning around simplicity and enhanced digital customer experiences. VoC also informs employee training programs.

"VoC delivers an outside-in perspective to improve in areas that really matter to customers." – Rob Townley, Head of Marketing Technology, Maersk

These examples demonstrate the breadth of potential VoC applications for B2B organizations.

Overcoming VoC Implementation Challenges

To maximize value, marketers should be aware of a few common VoC program challenges:

  • Survey fatigue – Limit survey length and frequency to maintain engagement
  • Unstructured data – Use AI tools to parse through and analyze open-ended feedback
  • Sample bias – Ensure you capture voices across demographics and personas through recruiting
  • Operational silos – Break down internal barriers to spread insights wider into the organization
  • CX disconnects – Close loop between gathering feedback and improving experiences

With planning and resources, these hurdles can be overcome to extract full value from VoC.

The Future of VoC

VoC will only grow in importance as a B2B marketing cornerstone. Emerging trends to watch include:

  • AI-enabled analysis – Automated tools can quickly process unstructured data like call transcripts
  • Integration with CX – Unified CX/VoC platforms for holistic customer understanding
  • Expanded reviews/ratings – Collecting feedback on all channels (not just website)
  • Predictive analytics – Using ML to model future outcomes based on VoC data points

The future belongs to brands that can stay tuned in to ever-evolving customer voices. Are you ready to place VoC at the heart of your 2023 marketing strategy? Let‘s connect to discuss how our decades of data analytics expertise can help.

References

[1] Ramaswami, Rama. "How Marketing Can Better Sense and Respond to Customer Needs." Gartner, 2021.
[2] “Share of marketers using customer data in their decision making worldwide in September 2021." Statista, 2021. [3] "Share of B2B marketers satisfied with customer data worldwide as of June 2021." Statista, 2021. [4] “Forrester Analytics: Customer Experience Professional Panel." Forrester, 2020. [5] “Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends: Insights for 2024.” Content Marketing Institute, 2022. [6] “Getting Personalization Right.” McKinsey, 2018. [7] “The 2021 B2B Buyer Report: No More Excuses.” Avionos, 2021.
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