As founder of Point To Point, Mark Goren combines a comprehensive knowledge of advertising, marketing and brand management with a strong dose of curiosity and a passion for technology that improves communications and connects people. Along his business career Mark has founded and stewarded a variety of businesses including a jet charter service, a pre-press business, a successful 24-hour security services company, a software company (which was acquired by Adobe) and Point To Point. Mark’s unique background gives him a powerful perspective on the marketplace forces that shape the economy and a strong understanding of how clients can succeed in it.
Point To Point is a premier B2B Customer Engagement Agency, focused on accelerating growth through more intelligent customer interactions driven by deep customer insights and data.
BusinessInterviews.com: How do you help organizations understand accelerate their growth through improving their customer relationships?
Mark: The big piece that companies are missing, particularly those in the B2B sector, is understanding their buyer. There is a big difference between a buyer and a customer. A buyer is in the evaluation and decision-making process before they actually make a purchase. A customer is someone who already bought something from you.
So naturally, a customer is easier to understand than a buyer simply because they’ve given you the opportunity to understand them. However, we can’t take for granted or assume that we know what a buyer wants before they make a purchase. The distinction between these two words is very important in what we call the “B2B buyer revolution.” It’s here and it’s here to stay.
You really need to know more about your buyer than you think. To help our clients gain a deeper understanding of this audience, we use research, analytics and a range of technology tools to better understand how buyers think and make decisions. We focus on understanding who the buyer is and how they behave to get to the path to purchase.
At the end of the day, smart B2B marketers have to anticipate a buyer’s needs and be available to them real-time – anywhere, anytime and in any context in which the buyer wants to learn more about you. This is the “B2B Buyer Revolution.” We help clients establish a marketing infrastructure that helps them be ahead of buyer needs.
BusinessInterviews.com: What are some common mistakes you see businesses make when it comes to customer engagement?
Mark: I’ve seen countless organizations assume they understand their buyers, but unfortunately their view is often old and not sensitive to the work buyers do before they raise their hands to actually purchase something…and become a customer. An often-quoted statistic is that buyers are 60 percent through the buying cycle before they contact a company. Staggering!
Certainly, companies are doing a better job of understanding their customer and are using technology to further identify each individual customer and build loyalty.
But organizations oftentimes don’t know their buyers – before they make a purchase. Buyer vs. customer is a distinction no one makes and it’s a big distinction. Companies need to treat customers differently than they treat buyers. Companies are merging buyer and customer into one person and that’s not appropriate. Then you’re not effectively marketing to them. You’re insulting the customer by treating them like a buyer.
BusinessInterviews.com: You’re constantly evolving and pivoting as a company. Can you share some insights on the art of reinvention?
Mark: Evolution begets reinvention. To evolve you have to realize that everything is in a constant state of change.
Throughout our 30+ year history, Point To Point has constantly evolved and pivoted because our clients and prospective clients (aka buyers) are doing the same. We strive to anticipate and respond to their needs before our buyers realize what their needs are. That becomes the catalyst and driver to constantly evolve. We should always be ahead of clients’ needs and helping them understand and think about how to create better levels of engagement for their buyers and customers.
BusinessInterviews.com: What are some advantages of launching an integrated marketing campaign?
Mark: Today we live in an omni-channel world and buyers are no longer relying on one kind of media. Smart marketers know that building programs to engage buyers and customers in virtually every marketing communication vehicle to effectively reach their audience is key. This doesn’t mean you have to be everywhere. If you understand your buyer and customer then you know how they like to consume information and in what format and when; you know what motivates them and you know their emotional triggers and motivations. This will help marketers define where (and how) they need to be to most effectively engage with their buyers and customers.
BusinessInterviews.com: What are some trends in the digital marketing landscape that you’re excited about?
Mark: I believe we are in revolutionary times and the ways we understand and connect with buyers makes everyday interesting. It all means that we’ll get closer and closer to the buyer to provide better insight and response to align with needs.
For example, near-field communications is an extraordinary opportunity because now you have place and buyer connected, which creates context. Combine these and you can create engagement that is richer, more contextual and more satisfying to the buyer.
BusinessInterviews.com: Can you provide an example of how technology and marketing are merging and establishing new opportunities to create higher levels of customer engagement?
Mark: Connecting any number of new technologies to the right analytics creates opportunities we never dreamed of. We’re moving to a state where anticipation of need appears as a real-time response. Being in the right place at that right time with the right experience is the grail of marketing.
Right Place + Right time + Right experience= Optimized Engagement
Google is doing an incredible job here – optimizing our experience so we find what we’re looking for.
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