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What can IKEA teach us about B2B lead nurturing?

Posted by Kenneth Connolly on 27-Jan-2015 16:19:00

I recently recalled a childhood memory of being dragged along by my parents when they went to buy furniture for our house. The cavernous warehouse-style shops were filled with ‘scenes’ like living rooms and bedrooms and sometimes kitchens too. Once in this environment, my curiosity would get the better of me and I would run from one stand to the next, jumping on beds, laying on sofas and generally causing mayhem. With me otherwise engaged, my parents had the freedom to explore the items for sale in the store. However, due to its size (and the amount of products on offer), they typically drifted along an unplanned route in a trance-like state. This shopping experience meant many things caught their eye, but they rarely fully engaged, and ultimately they bought nothing.

Then along came IKEA.

B2B Lead Nurturing IKEA Example Floor Arrows

Even as a child I was able to appreciate the inherent benefits of the IKEA ‘floor arrows’ idea. Now, instead of customers wandering aimlessly around a warehouse, they are guided, lead and steered in the way that suits both parties equally. The customers have a direction to follow and are directed along a route that almost guarantees they’ll see every product available. In addition, IKEA is able to manage the customer journey, ensure all of their products are seen, and engage shoppers with products that they are most likely to buy at a time when they are most likely to buy them. 

These simple floor arrows are the epitome of managing the customer journey throughout the sales cycle, and a similar philosophy should be adopted by all B2B marketers in the form of lead nurturing. 

Each of your pieces of content (infographics, tip sheets and ebooks etc) is a floor stand or a ‘scene’. Just like the living room and bedroom setups in a furniture shop, they show the prospect what they could achieve with the right items. They are selling the dream of the perfect life with huge revenue and enviable profits. However, just like in traditional furniture shops, when your content is shown individually in a large space (the B2B marketing industry), it can be lost in the crowd and visitors can fail to fully engage with it. 

When lead nurturing is implemented though, prospective customers can be directed from one piece of content to the next. They can be presented with the right information at the right time during their journey. The outcome, of course, is greater engagement and increased sales. Using emails and telephone calls as ‘floor arrows’, B2B marketers can guide, direct and lead prospects through the sales cycle with information that they are interested in. Instead of leaving them drifting from one piece to the next, they can point them in the right direction and nurture them towards a sale. Just like in IKEA, B2B lead nurturing works for both parties. The prospect regularly receives content they are interested in (as opposed to generic materials); and the B2B marketers are happy because they can ensure their communications and content are highly targeted and they can drive a lead towards a sale. 

To find out more about automating your own lead nurturing strategy…

Download The B2B Marketing Automation Handbook now 

Topics: B2B Lead Generation, B2B marketing, B2B Marketing Automation, B2B Lead Nurturing, Marketing Automation, Lead Nurturing