Whilst the quotes from this 2015 article (link below) are now out of date, it seems that back then GE Healthcare had it's sights set on providing value much further up the sales funnel with 'content'.
As a B2B company, how has your approach to marketing evolved?
Stephanie Meyer: We woke up to the fact that most customers are making up their minds earlier, before they see a sales person. Marketers have to think about content in the context of where the customer is versus where we are. In the past, we mostly thought about closing the deal.
What we are seeing now is that content [can be delivered] higher upstream. There are reading materials and key opinion leaders that publish information that we would like to share with our customers. [We need to consider] how we bring that experience in.
What effect did the evolution to ‘content before purchase’ have on marketing?
We made marketing more functional in order to bring out the right digital tools and automation tools, and [changed] the way we think about making our jobs easier. Now we are using marketing automation as a way of tracking customer behaviours that will help us be more prescriptive in the content, as well as being able to drill down to a specific role, for example [talking to] a radiologist. [We use] the same channels but it’s different in terms of messaging; that has been the biggest thing for our marketers to think about in terms of content strategy.
Stephanie Meyer has recently left GE Healthcare but I suspect her legacy will live on in the automation tools that have been introduced to improve the workflow within the mission to 'humanise' B2b marketing, or maybe like other companies we have seen that 'buy' the tools that are brought in to 'speed things up', are actually left on the balance sheet, with no one really using them?.
As part of our continued look at the Healthcare sector, we also reviewed where GE had got to in that mission on social media, and it seems not very far. The social platforms they are on are being used for the same thing that their competitors are using them for, which is to broadcast the corporate message, dress up product benefit adverts as content, and from what we can see, they don't seem to invest an awful lot of time engaging and listening to their customers, and potential prospects.
Based on the most recent information from 2018 GE employ over 283,000 people, so apart from that being a mighty big payroll its also a mighty big missed opportunity to leverage 'employee advocacy' and generate authentic stories that B2b, and even B2c customers would want to engage with.
And that initiative starts at the top, with the leadership teams.
We are active 'practitioners' of what we do, we already know and can evidence the ROI of a robust and internally aligned 'Social' strategy.
Part of that evidence it that you are reading this blog, just like many others - including your competitor!
We also don't do outbound pushy, salesy marketing, so if you would like to explore more, please contact the author of this blog.
We will shift to digital, like everybody, whether that is increasing interactions on websites, apps or email. But we are a handshake business and you still need the sales role.