B2B must smell the digital transformation coffee
Remember the comparison between radio, which took 38 years to reach 50 million users, the Internet that did it in 4, and Facebook, which took less than half that time? Impressive as they are, there's a lot more to digital evolution than just numbers. Actually, 'transformation' is a better word to describe the metamorphosis of the Internet from a channel of information to a medium of social hyper-connectivity.
Less visible, but equally important, is the way that companies have adapted their behavior to leverage every new possibility that digital transformation has to offer. This has largely been seen as a B2C blockbuster, starring retail, telecom and Internet firms, which have pulled ahead of other industries in online engagement. B2B firms have stayed away or sat on the fence, with the view that online, and particularly social media has nothing to offer to them.
They couldn't be more wrong. Let me give you the example of a leader in the semiconductor business - which is as B2B as it gets - and its strategic usage of online media. The company had a long tail of customers mainly in the manufacturing and innovation hubs of South East Asia. While the company did not find it viable to dedicate a sales and service force to these customers, who brought in just a fraction of revenues, it knew that they were strategically important - one, because some of these small firms were working on cutting edge innovation and two, because they were located in some of the world's most exciting markets.
The company hit upon a solution in the form of an online channel where customers could share their experiences and air their problems, which would invariably be resolved by other members of the network who had faced similar issues in the past. It was a win-win for all that took little time and money to achieve.
Are other B2B businesses taking notice?