I recently finished up a darn good book on B2B marketing called Digital Body Language: Deciphering Customer Intentions in an Online World. It was written by Steven Woods, who co-founded the ‘marketing automation platform’ vendor, Eloqua, in 1999.
I’m going to attempt to summarize, review, and add some commentary as it pertains to how we at FutureNow use this concept of ‘digital body language’ to increase the marketing effectiveness of lead generation sites.
First off, I would say that the title of this book really hooked me. I wasn’t quite sure what the author meant by ‘digital body language,’ but ‘deciphering customer intentions in an online world’ is exactly the challenge that us Persuasion Analysts love!
Next, since it’s a book review, I feel I should provide some critique. The publisher, New Year Publishing, should have done more quality control reading before pushing this book out the door. I realize that business books often have more editing errors than, say, non-fiction books, but there were too many in this book. Entire sections of text were repeated, the illustrations didn’t always match up with the text, etc. And, I felt that the numerous case studies in the book, while illustrative, didn’t have as much quantitative data as I would’ve liked.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s learn more about what Digital Body Language (DBL going forward) is about. The book is roughly broken into 4 sections:
But before we get too deep, who should read this book?
At its essence, the thesis is that the process for marketing and selling in the B2B environment has been changed by the Internet. It’s not even a “sales process” anymore; it’s all about the “buying process” and how you align to it. Hmm…reminds me of how I learned that concept from another good book written by FutureNow’s co-founders back in 2006. While it’s perhaps not the first time this thesis has been written about, I still like this description from page 118:
Marketers can no longer simply devote their efforts to blindly pushing a prospect through a seller-defined sales process. Buyers no longer tolerate that outmoded thinking. Instead, today’s marketers must provide appropriate ways to enable buyers to take self-directed actions consistent with their buying interests. The marketer no longer leads. He follows the buyer…
We sometimes forget, but the marketing world has changed drastically over the last 10 years…
The next chapters in the book delve into what DBL is and why it matters in the context of B2B marketing and complex sales cycles. DBL is a means of data collection and analysis that is intended to deliver on the promise of ‘nurture marketing.’ The book’s stated goals of nurture marketing are to stay on the prospect’s radar, present relevant content, keep the conversation going, and monitor DBL for any changes that indicate the prospect has moved to the next stage of their buying process.
The phrase is a play on the fact that in the “old days,” a salesperson would rely heavily on the body language of those he was selling to. The salesperson could read the room and figure out who held the purse strings, who was the internal champion, who had major objections, etc. Because the Web has taken so much of that away, companies must now rely on the digital version of that body language, made up of things like:
Next week, we’ll continue by exploring what the implied benefits of Digital Body Language are to both Sales and Marketing teams, and talk about Wood’s vision for the future of marketing under this inevitable model. Stay tuned!