The B2B2C Ecosystem
Channel engagement operates within increasingly complex and continually evolving economic ecosystems. These ecosystems differ by industry, vertical, product or service, brand and even customer segment. Understanding the unique characteristics and cross-channel dynamics of your ecosystem is a critical first step in thinking differently.
The Loyalty/Incentive Continuum
At the foundational level, effective channel engagement requires an assessment of the role that businesses play within the ecosystem. At one end of the continuum, businesses behave like customers or buyers. The restaurant industry is a great example. Here, a B-to-B loyalty or lifecycle marketing program is the most effective solution. At the other end of the continuum, businesses behave like sales people or re-sellers. Auto dealers fall into this category. Here, an incentive program is the best solution. Not surprisingly, most businesses exhibit characteristics of both buyers and sellers. In these cases, a hybrid approach is the best solution.
The Blurring Line Between “B” And “C”
Regardless of position on the loyalty/incentive continuum, effective program design requires an acknowledgment that the line between B-to-B and B-to-C marketing is blurring. More and more, businesses are increasingly behaving like consumers. This is
great news because it means that the marketing concepts at the core of successful consumer loyalty programs can be leveraged in the design of channel loyalty programs. It also means the behavioural econom ic theories that dri ve consumer behaviours can also drive busines s behaviours. Let’s explore some of the key theories and concepts behind the evolution of channel loyalty.