Updated: Jul 3, 2022
The Internet is changing. The B2B buyer journey and sales channels are changing. To meet these new demands, we need a new mindset. It's no longer about websites or digital ads, but about unique experiences as well as emotional connections and multilateral interactions. In the future, leading companies will be built as online communities - as part of an open, inclusive, and collaborative organization.
One of the first articles here on #B2BmodernSelling is titled "Understanding Media, Instant Gratification, Metaverse, and B2B Selling" and refers to Canadian Communication Theorist Marshall McLuhan and his legendary statement in 1964 "The medium is the message".
I postulate in this blog that the Internet is now much more than a medium and we need to rethink this information superhighway, or we will fail with our digital marketing and sales efforts. To give weight to this line of thinking, I would like to dive a little deeper with this blog article and show that we are faced with a new kind of ecosystem on the Internet that fosters large-scale multilateral collaboration and coordinates new behaviors and beliefs, not only between providers and users, but also between users themselves. This fact is of great importance for #B2BmodernSelling and it is about much more than just search and be found.
So, we need a completely new mindset that allows us to grasp the whole picture and the new dynamics. See how the Internet is changing, find out how communities of interest and collaboration can help you build deeper customer relationships, discover new ways to offer your products and services and grow your business with modern marketing and sales practices.
If we consider the Internet as a part of reality, we need to understand its structure according to the laws of sociology and deep-psychology, not just the laws of media. Navigating the Internet is much more than just becoming familiar with websites and social media platforms and messenger services like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, TikTok, or even Metaverse; it is also about understanding how the internal dynamics of the Internet are mobilized or shaped.
The Internet is one big brain machine
But first, let's look at the development of the modern Internet. The first round of the World Wide Web was a pure system with documents, so-called web pages, which are described with HTML and linked to each other by hyperlinks. Then came more abstract web pages that drew information from other pages, such as on social bookmarking sites or through a Google search, which turned out to be a kind of collective intelligence. Eventually, we entered the collaborative phase, where you can find anything and get kudos for your contributions. We're talking blogs, wikis, Twitter, RSS, instant messaging, multiplayer games, open-source development, as well as social networking. These are all approaches that encourage and motivate users (and employees) to release their creative energies.
The modern Internet thus consists of evolution in the sense of a collaborative "shaping of the world" and a shared improvement of life. This means that the more a company arranges and orchestrates such evolution, the more likely that company is to shape the market. And, those who shape the market influence all customers more than advertising and marketing ever could.
Cyber-branding means offering evolutions
In the new world of branding and marketing, there is no room for tactical and fleeting campaigns. It's about winning the hearts of customers and brand fans in a sustainable way. B2B buyers, for example, are people who may not care about your product right now but will in the future once they have a reason to act. The idea is to lead them into a long-term relationship through acquisition and activation strategies, convince them to visit the product information center (or a Metaverse showroom), subscribe to newsletters or publication mailings, and motivate them to take participatory actions in a community of interest.
This approach requires not only a new sales technology stack focused on Sales Operations and Sales Enablement, but above all a new Marketing Mindset with a new Marketing Manifesto:
1. Don't focus on the product, but on the customer's life (pay attention to them)
2. Work together with the customers and do not invest too much in acquisition (selling takes place through building common ground)
3. Manage the customers and the community and not the products (no longer interpret the benefits of a product, but focus on constructive and lively relationship building)
4. No longer go to mass media and large events, but build exclusive micro-media and virtual worlds (in connection with important cultural topics)
5. Focus on meaningful partnerships (to benefit from new network effects made possible by large-scale collaborations)
In the past, it was enough for a supplier or a brand to commit itself to being a guarantor of quality. That was the time of advertising. Later, when marketing was invented, the brand became the interpreter of the product. The brand defined the benefit for the target groups: publicly and via mass media. On the Internet, this benefit game only works to a limited extent, or rather, the real potential is not tapped. The Internet has now mutated into a personalization apparatus that organizes collaboration and unleashes creative energies. The task is to make this brain machine work for you.
Crafting a virtual space for the world to connect and collaborate
More than 4.5 billion people are connected online today and use the Internet to create a virtual public sphere. They seek attention, want to exchange ideas, and help shape the way we live. The Internet has thus become part of our collective consciousness, and it is therefore organizing the way we live today.... more and more actively and quickly.
Thank you for reading.