By Drew Nicholson, CEO of OgilvyOne Business

Here’s a statistic courtesy of our friends at Gallup. It's a little wordy, but do persevere.

Only 29% of B2B customers are fully engaged with, which is to say emotionally and psychologically attached to, the companies they do business with. As a result B2B companies are at risk of losing more than two thirds of their customer base.

To be honest, the only surprise is that it’s as much as 29%. Do three out of ten B2B customers seriously believe they are “emotionally and psychologically attached” to their network infrastructure provider or their contract cleaners?

If they are, great, but what about the other seven? I suspect they’re not as “attached” for the simple reason that B2B brands are often terrible at the basics of customer communication and engagement. So how can we get back on track?

  1. Context

How many of your customers remember their last contact with you?  As few as 5% of B2B buyers remember previous comms or touch points with their suppliers. Your customers are on a journey – and on journeys, reminders of where you are are always very welcome.

   2.    Getting Personal

Remember, everything’s relative. So, in a world where B2B brands tend to treat everyone the same, a simple acknowledgement that you know whom you’re talking to – their status, their role – will make a huge difference.

   3.    Be simple to buy

What exactly is it you’re offering? Marvellous though your product may be, I’m afraid your audience doesn’t care. They’re busy people and they’re unlikely to look in your direction unless you give them a damn good reason. So, make them an offer – ideally a personalised one. Convince them why they need to act now.

   4.    Email

Yes, it’s an old and sadly devalued media (and a victim of its own success), but it’s still got a lot going for it. It's personal and it’s direct. We can teach the old dog new tricks and use (properly deployed) marketing automation software for specific tasks, and if you’re prepared to send out emails that aren’t wall-to-wall copy, you may be surprised at how effective it can be. Yes, I love email.

   5.    Be engaging

B2B audiences are people. They’re not from Stock Shot Central, they’re not unfeeling rational automatons. They want to be engaged, amused and entertained. I mentioned earlier that B2B audiences are busy people, but I’m willing to bet that the first time they watched last year’s John Lewis Christmas ad, they weren’t sitting at home on the sofa. I suspect they watched it at work. Where they were, of course, very busy.

So, let’s get that 71% engaged for good. I’m up for it. What about you?