Hidden in plain sight:
How mobile is
the B2B world
Hidden in plain sight:
How mobile is
the B2B world
Director, Digital Strategy
Ogilvy & Mather
The growing power of mobile 5
Mobilizing marketing 9
Mobilizing the enterprise 17
Mobilizing products and services 24
The value of smart mobility 28
Getting into a mobile B2B mind-set — five key insights 31
So how do you best leverage mobile for your B2B brand? 33
About the author 36
A mutual fund salesperson is having lunch at a busy café with a financial advisor who may
one day be a client. The topic of low interest rates comes up. The advisor, it seems, is having
trouble finding low-risk solutions that still deliver income for his clients. Recognizing the
opportunity, the salesperson quickly pulls out his tablet and within seconds pulls up a high-
resolution image of real-time interest rate trends overlaid on top of his company’s diversified
bond fund product. The advisor sees how they can deliver higher yields while managing
risk and he is well on his way to recommending this product to his clients by the time the
A manufacturing plant supervisor is working in a particular area of her facility with
a member of her staff, discussing a problem they are having with one of their machines.
Rather than guessing at a solution to the problem, she pulls out her smartphone and
opens an app offered by that machine’s manufacturer that allows her to scan a barcode
on the machine with the phone’s camera. That scan pulls up the specific machine’s
product manual, which she can search for troubleshooting tips for the particular problem.
If that doesn’t solve the problem, one click connects her to a video chat session with the
manufacturer’s technical support staff, saving time and money for both the plant and the
A busy IT manager is returning from a business trip during which he was tackling
a problem concerning a new security threat. While waiting for his flight, he is searching
on his smartphone for some information on this threat. He comes across an ad from
an IT security firm that discusses new advances in security technology. He clicks to learn
more. He explores an interactive experience optimized for his mobile device, signs up
for more information and downloads a whitepaper on the topic, all without ever
touching his laptop.
Creative B2B brands can use the smart mobility technology in these — or in countless other —
ways to deliver value to their customers. Mobile phones have been around as a mass market
device for some time now. They have been used for mobile email communications in a
corporate context for many years as well. But something new is happening. A longed-for
change has finally arrived. Long hyped as the next wave in digital innovation, mobile now
fully inhabits that role because of the widespread adoption of powerful smartphones and
tablets. The buzz has been about the ongoing revolution in B2C applications, but mobile
is also transforming B2B brands and businesses in profound ways. Mobile makes B2B
marketing more effective, sales interactions more productive, distribution partners more
successful and customers more engaged. The impact is enormous and grows all the time.
It will have ripple effects throughout our global economy, even though the hype continues
to swirl around the more immediately obvious B2C applications.
Ogilvy Mather works with some of the biggest B2B brands in the world, helping them
use digital channels to meet their business and marketing objectives. In the course of that
work, we noticed some common patterns taking shape and saw an opportunity to point
out where B2B brands are seeing transformational mobile opportunities that will drive
We decided to look deeper. This research project set out to define mobile opportunities
by analyzing existing quantitative research studies in conjunction with in-depth interviews.
We spoke to key business stakeholders at several major B2B brands in order to identify
where the greatest mobile opportunities await for their slice of the business world.
Our results help answer the crucial questions circling this emerging field:
• Why is mobile more important now than ever for B2B?
• What are B2B brands doing to deliver the greatest value using
smart mobile devices?
• en it comes to my B2B brand, how do I develop a mobile
strategy and prioritize where to start?
We interviewed several key executives at IBM, UPS, Siemens, DuPont, Motorola, Cisco,
Thomson Reuters, CDW, BlackRock and Jackson National (a subsidiary of Prudential
plc), making certain we covered a broad range of roles — from sales to marketing, from
IT to product strategy. Each interview focused on how mobile will unlock value for their
brands. We also probed our subjects’ visions for the future of smart mobility in the B2B
space and their ideas of where the greatest value will be going forward.
We compiled insights from this work with knowledge from other Ogilvy work on B2B
brands in a wide variety of industry categories, including financial services, pharmaceutical
products, manufacturing and IT services. What we learned confirmed some of our
assumptions about mobile B2B, but we also uncovered some striking insights. Overall,
however, we realized that mobile is assuming an ever greater role in the world of B2B
brands, unlocking value in many areas today while looking to the future for the greatest
benefit to both brands and consumers.
The mobile renaissance has been just around the corner for many years already, but it seems
that its potential is finally being realized. What changed?
In a word, power.
Mobile devices today pack thousands of times more processing power than the first laptop
PC did. With this growth in power comes a surge in use. By 2015 mobile internet users are
expected to surpass desktop users.1 With the introduction of 4G networks in developed
countries and 4G’s gradual spread globally, mobile bandwidth is already greater (in some
cases) than a home broadband connection.
The increasing spread of cloud computing services, most notably from Google and
Amazon, means less data storage is needed on your local device, allowing mobiles
to accomplish many computing tasks on their own.
The new tablet form factor has spurred a burst of growth in mobile computing around the
world in an extremely short time period. The iPad tablet was introduced in April 2010 and
is expected to reach 120MM units sold in 2012.2
All these factors add up to an important shift towards mobile devices in digital consump-
tion and behavior around the world. Smartphone sales have surpassed feature phone sales.
Soon, over 50% of American and Western European mobile users will hold smartphones
in their hands, and the rest of the world will not be far behind. In urban China, 35% of all
phones are smartphones. In urban India, 23% of users have smartphones.3
A striking comparison should make this clear: Apple’s iPhone revenues in Q411 were larger
than all Microsoft revenues — from Windows to Office to servers to Xbox.
iPhone vs. Microsoft (Revenue)
(Business Insider, company filings, CQ4 2011 revenue.)
1. International Data Corporation (IDC), September 2011
2. International Data Corporation (IDC), 2012
Mobile and the world of B2B
Despite the overwhelming focus and excitement around consumer applications for
smartphones and tablets, the B2B world is also experiencing similar disruptive mobile
innovations. B2B brands vary in how aggressively they are taking advantage of these
benefits, but all realize how advances in mobile devices and network technology can unlock
amazing value for their business. Mobile is changing how B2B enterprises communicate
with their customers and other target audiences, how they provide sales with just-in-time
information, how they enable their employees to manage workloads in a more productive
way and how they maximize the value of and support levels for the products and services
they provide to both their distribution partners and their end customers.
B2B products and sales processes tend to be complex because they involve multiple
influencers and decision makers. As a result, the sales cycle is longer, requiring multiple
sales conversations with varying levels of detail to ensure relevance for each key stakeholder.
Communications and content must reflect customer needs and be easily accessible in an
interactive, real-time, easily shareable and consumable manner. Mobile is ideally suited to
support that process.
In addition, mobile devices open up new possibilities for interactivity, enabling B2B
brands to interact with stakeholders in new ways. Mobile devices have cameras for video/
photos/barcode scanning, GPS for location-based content delivery and gyroscopes or
accelerometers for rich interactions based on phone movements and orientation. While
the B2C space has seen eye-catching new forms of digital interactivity, there is also a wide
array of fascinating applications within the B2B world, as you’ll read later.
For all these reasons, B2B businesses are adopting mobile in ever-greater numbers. A recent
Apple study reported that some nine out of 10 senior executives use apps at work to stay
informed, entertained and productive.4 Another study reported that 70% of executives
under 40 use branded B2B apps. Benjamin Pollack from Siemens put it best: “We see a
huge difference from a year ago to today. It used to be that major companies were just
testing out the waters with a few apps. Now we have dozens of apps in each of our major
business units.” He’s right. The fastest-growing section of the Apple App Store in 2010
was the business category, which showed a 186% increase.5
But it’s certainly not all about apps. Advances in so-called “hybrid” HTML5 technology
allow brands to provide mobile experiences on all devices and without the need to down-
load apps. “Hybrid technologies are,” a B2B IT executive reported, “helping address the
fragmented marketplace. They create experiences that act and feel like a native mobile
app, but they’re not really…It’s using web technologies, but the output feels and looks
like a native app.”
4. eMarketer, 2011
5. istimo, iPass, Ovum, Yankee Group, Forrester Research, Comscore, 2010
Nor can we ignore the incredibly rapid tablet adoption and its impact on B2B mobile.
Ninety-two percent of Fortune 500 companies are deploying or testing the iPad. One of the
B2B brands we spoke with reported going from zero to 4,000 employee iPad devices in one
year, on a BYOD (bring your own device) program. Almost half of US C-suite executives
have at least one tablet device. More than 75% of their European counterparts do too.6
Executives have come to believe that “work is not a place; work is something you do.”
Or as another executive put it, you can be “at your kids’ soccer game and still be effective —
we can let you know when you need to do something with push technology.”
Mobile is clearly opening up tremendous new opportunities for B2B brands, but where
will they reap the greatest benefits?
Knowing where to store your eggs
B2B marketers and other stakeholders need to understand where they can best direct their
mobile efforts. In thinking about how to help B2B brands formulate a mobile strategy to
take advantage of these incredible opportunities, we focused on three key areas where we
have seen B2B brands having the greatest impact:
1. obilizing marketing — Engaging B2B audiences in new ways by connecting offline
with online, deploying location-based content and delivering content via mobile search
2. Mobilizing the enterprise — Enabling employees to be more productive and the
sales force to be more effective by, for example, providing interactive, data-driven
presentations and case studies wherever they are.
Mobilizing products and services — Giving the customer greater value with mobilized
products and services, such as mobile product manuals, mobile customer support, mobile
product management, mobile order management, mCommerce and mobile sales
enablement for distribution partners.
6. Ipsos Mendelsohn Affluent Survey, 2011
Given the increasing mobility of the workforce and its adoption of mobile devices, it is
important to reach B2B decision makers and those that influence their decisions via mobile.
B2B targets are always tethered to and frequently consuming information via their mobile
devices. They are, therefore, prime candidates for engagement with mobile outreach. If a
brand neglects to pursue this important opportunity, it can cede mind share and ongoing
engagement time to its competitors.
B2B brands have used several effective measures to connect via mobile.
Despite all the heat and light on B2C applications, mobile advertising is in many cases
more effective for B2B targets than it is for B2C targets. Mobile advertising is an especially
critical tool for reaching B2B prospects while they are still in the early phase of a lengthy
sales cycle, and for reaching decision influencers throughout the cycle.
“Mobile plays a huge role in the first 80% of the funnel,” one of our participants observed.
Before B2B brands ever speak to their target audiences in person, these audiences look
for and connect with brand content on digital channels, and more and more often that
happens via mobile. We know that executives perform more mobile searches today
than they did PC searches a year ago. Nearly 60% of executives report noticing mobile
advertising and click on mobile web ads.7
Mobile Ad Click-through Rate in North America, by Industry, Q2 2011
Note: on the MediaMind network
Source: MediaMind, “Tiny Screen, Huge Results: Maximizing Mobile Advertising Performance,” July 5, 2011
7. Google Insights, December 2010
High mobile adoption coincides with better mobile performance. Click-through rates
(CTR) on smartphones were found to be 72% higher than on desktop computers and 31%
higher on tablets than on desktops.8
B2B mobile advertising in particular sees click-through rates that are actually higher than
rates for many popular B2C categories such as travel, CPG, electronics and automobiles.
Many of the B2B executives we interviewed for this project reported having considerable
success in their mobile advertising efforts. Cisco’s Steve Lau, Senior Manager, Mobile
Marketing Strategy, said, “Mobile search and banner advertising CTR is really high,
much higher than on PCs. It works and feels like customers are curious and coming to it.
They also seem to stay for up to two minutes and navigate around like from a PC.”
In fact, B2B mobile in-app advertising engages its audience far more than B2C
entertainment advertising and roughly equally as much as B2C retail advertising.
Its engagement rates are nearly as high as those of the high-profile B2C
Engagement Rate of Mobile In-App Rich Expandable Banner Ads Worldwide,
by Industry, Q1 2011
Consumer packaged goods 32%
Note: iOS and Android apps
Source: Medialets, “Data Spotlight: Benchmarks for In-App Mobile Rich Media Ads — Q 1 2011,” June 7, 2011
Despite this fact, most of the B2B clients we spoke with have thus far neglected to pursue
iAd rich-media units from Apple for their iOS devices, citing their high costs.
Despite all of the evidence supporting the value of mobile advertising for B2B brands,
B2B marketing spend in the channel lags behind B2C, with recent studies showing only
28% of B2B marketers spending on mobile marketing in 2010, compared with nearly
40% of B2C marketers.
There is a huge opportunity for B2B brands to take advantage of the effectiveness of this
channel to reach their targets.
8. Marin Software, 2012
Part of the hesitancy is reflected in B2B companies’ uncertainty about how to integrate
mobile into their organizations. Many respondents cited disparate groups within the
company operating independently without a cohesive strategy or approach. A media
executive reports, “We struggle with how do you go deep and wide with one strategy.
Deep enough to address specific product lines, but wide enough to operationalize across
the business.” Another B2B executive agrees: “We need to use [mobile apps] efficiently,
package them as a campaign and provide education on how to connect the dots.”
Connecting the offline world to online
Having an internet-connected device in your hand at all times enables offline advertising
to offer an immediately available and simple-to-exercise online call to action. This applica-
tion can bring static offline advertising alive with dynamic targeted content and interactivity.
For a B2B audience, this application can be used to deliver content pieces like video case
studies or whitepapers, to collect lead information, to connect to social media channels
in order to drive sharing or to simply get more information from the brand.
While NFC (Near Field Communication) is on the verge of entering the landscape as a
way to do this with a simple swipe of your mobile device, today there are two principal
methods in use — 2-D codes, such as QR codes, and SMS text messaging using shortcodes.
SMS has been around since before smartphones existed and is therefore a widely adopted
and familiar technology for mobile users. B2B brands reported success when using SMS
as a response mechanism. As Steve Lau from Cisco stated, “Text messaging works with
However, most of the buzz in this area is around the QR code because of its potential
to make responding quicker and easier without requiring the user to type anything into
a device or to share a mobile phone number in order to take an action. The major obstacle
for adoption is the absence of a preloaded app to read a QR code.
As a result, though we have seen B2B brands test QR codes in their marketing initiatives,
there has not been great success with them. Susan Fletcher, Senior Director for Social
Business Digital Communications at UPS, told us, “We do see usage of our QR codes
increasing — while not dramatically, it’s significant enough that we want to continue to
use and experiment with them.”
Top 5 Media on Which US B2B Marketers Have Placed Mobile Barcodes, Nov 2011
% of respondents
1. Magazines or newspapers 19%
2. Direct mail 18%
3. Packaging 16%
4. On the web 16%
5. In-store advertising 12%
Source: Scanbuy, January 11, 2012
One reason for the lack of uptake may have to do with how they are being implemented.
QR codes simply require a greater payoff for the user to take action. B2B marketers report
that 36% use mobile barcodes to link to their website for basic information. Far fewer use
them for more compelling content or interactivity, as shown by the following results: 15%
link to a promotion (sweepstakes); 14% link to a coupon offer; 13% link to contact informa-
tion; 11% link to their company’s social network; and 11% link to an eCommerce experience.9
Once QR-code-reading software is better integrated into popular smartphone operating
systems and marketers begin to use them in more appropriate ways, there will be improved
adoption and success rates. B2B brands are not limiting their thinking about QR codes
to marketing. They have seen the value of using QR codes for enhancing product support
or comarketing with downstream partners. We will address those uses in a later section.
Innovative mobile marketing for B2B brand positioning
The use of cameras, gyroscopes and GPS to develop eye-catching marketing campaigns
can be just as effective for B2B brands as for B2C brands. This type of advertising engages
the B2B target audiences and generates considerable PR buzz.
B2B targets are not abstract entities. They are people, just like B2C targets. You can reach
them in a personal environment and in a personal way with a B2B brand message, and they
are drawn to engaging and fun experiences in the same way B2C targets are.
For example, Stefan Heeke, Director of Digital Marketing at Siemens, discussed the
company’s use of augmented reality to show how prevalent Siemens products are: “I think
there is potential to overlay what we do in the real world. Sort of like an Intel Inside meta-
phor but for Siemens products, allowing users to see within their mobile phone camera
view an overlay on a city and to say, ‘Look, our Siemens products are all around you where
you are right now.’”
9. eMarketer, November 2011
Bill Bodin, CTO of Mobility at IBM, had a similar idea for telling IBM’s story within the
context of the world around you: “We could use augmented reality to tell our story — if you
point your phone or your tablet device at a car or a hospital or a bank, there are plenty of
good stories to tell about IBM’s role in these businesses and products.”
Ogilvy worked with IBM to use augmented reality to demonstrate how IBM can make the
world work better by using data in smarter ways. The IBM Seer mobile app enabled visitors
to the 2010 Wimbledon tennis championships to “see through walls” of crowded match
locations to access video streams of live tennis. It also helped them access various services
around the event and improved the ease of their visit. For example, the app pointed out
which taxi stands were less crowded by monitoring traffic flows in real time. The app was
downloaded by over 17,000 participants and generated more than US$1.5MM in PR value.
While the impact reached beyond IBM’s direct B2B target audiences, it included them and
thereby helped position the brand in their minds. It did so by expressing the idea of IBM’s
Smarter Planet brand platform in a tangible way — overlaying data on the physical world
to help the observer make “smarter” decisions.
Another interesting use of unique mobile capabilities for promotional purposes came from
Siemens, a producer of the medical imaging machines that are increasingly being used
to detect early-stage cancers. Siemens sponsors a global promotion to raise awareness for
breast cancer — called “Turn your city pink!” — to help position the brand and its products
as key tools in the fight against breast cancer. Participants are encouraged to take small
steps using the color pink to promote breast cancer awareness in their local communities
and snapping a photo or video of their activities, which can be done with an associated
mobile app. For each submission Siemens donates US$5 to charity, and the most “liked”
submission each month receives an iPad prize, encouraging participants to promote
their entry on their own social networks. In the first six months the campaign generated
over 2,000 entries, and has so far donated US$11,000 to charity — impressive figures for
a B2B brand that sells to a relatively small healthcare target audience of major medical
equipment purchasers. The app associates Siemens with the struggle against breast cancer,
and that just so happens to drive more demand for its products.
Magnifying the power of events
B2B brands have used the power of mobile to make in-person events more effective.
Mobile allows them to have a bigger impact on participants and on targets who don’t
attend in person.
B2B brands use a number of successful tactics to improve engagement. Cisco has an app
that promotes collaboration and is focused on helping participants get information.
The app helps direct them to places around a venue, provides maps and speaker locations,
and includes alerts when speaker events are beginning. To promote their cloud computing
offering, Cisco has also interacted with attendees by prompting them to take a “cloud
readiness” quiz and download a readiness assessment app.
Siemens has a similar event app that they report being “hugely successful for us.” Their app
is scalable so that they can integrate new trade shows into the same app. This app has a
booth map and a GPS feature showing you where you are in relation to the Siemens booth.
The app even guides you to specific products once you are in the booth, connecting you
to content regarding the products you’re interested in. This aspect is especially useful for
reaching those who cannot attend the event in person.
The DuPont Pioneer business unit rolled out a Farm Progress Show iPad app that allowed
reps to access customer-specific sales materials on demand at the show, which is one of
the world’s largest trade shows. This obviated the need to print and transport thousands
of copies of over 50 different DuPont product brochures and provided an interactive
method to deliver targeted content on the spot to visiting attendees for later reading.
B2B brands also promote the use of mobile devices at events by asking participants to share
content and conversation related to event activities. It’s a natural fit to promote this sharing
activity at such events since it engages targets not in attendance and creates a stream of
distributed content to be discovered later via search. A recent Google study reported that
half of all B2B-related tweets happen on mobile devices, and 83% of executives are already
posting to business-related social media sites.10
Susan Fletcher of UPS reports, “Everybody at trade shows is tweeting. We see this as an
opportunity to generate leads and provide thought leadership. We have used hashtags at
events. We use the hashtag first to tweet at events from a content distribution perspective,
with speech highlights, etc. But we’re also using the hashtags to direct people to our
presence. At big trade events, we’ll be watching the threads of conversations around the
hashtags and, when appropriate, responding by prompting people to ‘come and see us
at our booth in location X and we’ll assist with XYZ.’”
Steve Lau of Cisco uses Twitter streams to get real-time feedback on events: “Using the
social media mobile space, we want to hear from the event participants, in real time,
what they think about the events. And to encourage sharing, the apps have a social element
with reward points as they interact.”
The social sharing of content at industry events also generates content for post-event
engagement. Virtual versions of the trade show can be created that incorporate some of
the engagement that was generated during the live event, and social content is continually
discoverable through search and sharing.
B2B brands also connect a growing portion of event efforts to a broader lead generation
program. Nearly 50% of global companies say they are integrating mobile into the broader
10. Google Insights, December 2010
11. eMarketer, October 2010
Mobile as a thought leadership distribution platform
One of the critical marketing initiatives of many B2B brands is the authoring and distribu-
tion of thought leadership to its key target audiences. Such thought leadership helps
accomplish a number of brand objectives, including driving awareness of the brand’s
positioning by association with the content of the thought leadership, establishing the
brand as a thought leader in topics relevant to their business and generating leads in
exchange for content valued by target audiences.
Tablet devices lend themselves extremely well to thought leadership consumption because
of the “lean-back” browsing behavior they allow, as opposed to the “lean-forward” stance
associated with desktops and laptops. At ease to sink back in their chairs and get comfort-
able, people are able to explore heavy and deep content like thought leadership more readily
with a device like a tablet. As a result, many B2B brands have been developing thought
leadership platforms customized for the tablet environment. This helps push new thought
leadership content to target audiences, tailors their experience based on their stated interests
and provides a compelling touch-screen environment for content consumption.
A great example of this is the IBM Cloud for Midsize Businesses iPad app. This educa-
tional app provides users with resources to learn about cloud computing: case studies, IBM
and third-party-expert points of view, videos, and demos — all within an engaging digital
experience. By requesting registration upon download, the app becomes a lead generation
tool. Built-in sharing functions help disseminate the app and its contents through peer
networks. At 60 days after the launch, traffic to the app on iTunes exceeded 12,000 clicks
and 1,000 downloads. That is an effective CTR of around 8.3%, which is especially
impressive when you consider that other B2B demand generation techniques — email,
for example — average just .72%.
Mobilizing the enterprise
Supercharged in-person interactions and
significantly enhanced productivity
Smart mobility is empowering B2B employees in two fundamental ways:
1. By delivering dynamic, interactive content to B2B prospects during meetings, tablet-
enabled sales forces are more effective — shifting the experience from “presenting
information” to “engaging and driving discussion.”
2. Mobilized access to software tools or data (e.g., enterprise apps) is providing newfound
levels of productivity across organizations.
The power of the tablet in B2B
As with other mobile products, the buzz in the tablet market has been about
Indeed, tablets are certainly revolutionizing media consumption and eCommerce.
However, tablets are making the same revolutionary inroads in the B2B space, particularly
with those who have client-facing roles.
This value to B2B enterprises is not lost on senior managers. Gartner predicts that some
80% of businesses will support a mobile workforce by 2013. As one of our B2B stakeholders
said, “Everybody wants portability — everybody has iPads. A lot of people have personal
iPads. People want to be able to access their info wherever they are and not carry a laptop
with them.” Much of this growth is fueled by increasing adoption of BYOD programs.
Employees get freedom of choice, and the enterprise saves money and delivers on the
demand faster than an IT rollout would.
Financial services and healthcare display the strongest demand for tablet applications that
enable sales forces to communicate more effectively. Numerous brands in these categories
are therefore already adopting tablets and creating sales enablement applications for them.
A study in 2011 reported that over 40% of financial professionals now use tablets, and nearly
all of them state that tablets have increased their productivity.12 One financial services firm
executive we spoke with said, “There is huge demand, and our sales force is already going
out and getting their own tablets. We now need to find solutions to get the right content in
the right format for them — to find the right balance between home office control and
flexibility for the salesperson. I think the biggest benefit will be to increase the velocity
and frequency of their sales interactions — to enable them to be completely mobile.”
J.P. Morgan Funds announced in 2011 that it would be rolling out iPad tablets equipped
with a custom sales presentation app to its 218 sales representatives because “it provides
you a level of flexibility, in terms of navigating versus using a browser, which makes it a
much more effective presentation tool [than a laptop].”
12. “Q2 2011 Gadget Survey,” byallaccounts.com, N=250+
13. Investment News, 2011
In the pharmaceutical industry, Novartis CEO Joe Jimenez recently stated that the Apple
iPad offers the drugmaker “game-changing” technology that will enable sales reps to
save 250 hours annually and allow “the field force to make an incredible 35,000 additional
customer visits each year.” He also said that “another benefit of having sales materials on
the iPad is that our reps will be more compliant [with regulations] — unlike with paper
versions, you can’t alter the electronic materials.”14
Ogilvy Mather recently developed an app for a major pharmaceutical manufacturer to
serve just this purpose. The tool provided field representatives with the means to deliver
customized presentations to healthcare professionals. These presentations remain compli-
ant with all marketing regulations while using the most up-to-date materials and data.
Most important, this app created a more engaging method of communication by providing
dynamic conversation starters for healthcare professionals. Nearly all reps polled agreed
that their sales presentations were more efficient using the iPad app.
Ogilvy Mather has been hearing from every B2B category we work with, and from the
brands which participated in this study, that the tablet provides a much more effective tool
to deliver content in person than the laptop for several reasons.
Better interpersonal language, portability, speed of access and venue flexibility
Tablets allow B2B sales forces to deliver engaging interactive content more frequently
(and whenever relevant) during face-to-face meetings.
Given the informal, handheld nature of a tablet, users can more easily maintain eye
contact with clients while delivering content and can use the device in informal settings
(such as over lunch at a restaurant) where a laptop would be awkward. At Ogilvy Mather,
our clients have noted an increase in customer intimacy and engagement when using
a tablet versus a laptop.
The instant-on feature also helps, especially when compared with the glacial start-up
times of most IT-issued laptops. Tablets hold a huge advantage in portability due to their
lighter weight compared with bulky corporate laptops. As one B2B stakeholder said,
“Our computers are quite heavy from a security perspective. iPad, being a few ounces,
really lends itself well to sales folks who are on the move constantly.” All of this adds up
to tablets being a powerful new tool for salespeople when speaking with clients.
“Enables what I call the Columbo pitch — you have your iPad with you — at a lunch or
meeting to talk something out…‘Oh, by the way, I want to show you something real
quick,’” said one B2B stakeholder we spoke with. “With an iPad you are up and running
right away, as opposed to a laptop where you usually have to let it boot, connect and
launch a program. Doing all this can take quite a long time. Hard to do during an
14. Pharmalot, 2011
impromptu discussion with a prospect. And if you’re talking about a particular product,
you can demo that product or service — pretty powerful. I think the opportunity is huge.”
Additionally, a tablet provides real-time intel and can also help sales be more informed
about a current customer or prospect on the road, minutes before meeting. This drives
to a more informed, relevant conversation.
Highly engaging interactivity with real-time data
B2B products are often associated with complex data sheets that help prospects understand
their value. Anything from financial performance data to material testing data to technol-
ogy specification comparisons can be conveyed effectively via a tablet in the hands of a B2B
salesperson. Brands with products like these should think about ways that tablet interfaces
can help them convey these types of complex data.
Edie Kirkman, Mobile Product Manager at UPS, said, “The iPad is a really great
demonstration tool for customers. Whenever I go somewhere, I see iPads. People demoing
products and showing videos at the trade shows we go to. Several vendors showing
capabilities using iPads.”
Benjamin Pollack, Communications Specialist at Siemens, stated, “Without a doubt
our sales force has asked for them…iPads are certainly much more effective for us when
working with the healthcare industry. Image clarity is really good.”
Fluidity for leave-behinds
B2B salespeople are often carrying around large cases with packs of paper collateral
used as leave-behinds when visiting prospects and customers. This is not only expensive
and inefficient, but it also means the collateral cannot be customized. Tablets enable B2B
brands to create applications that allow a custom piece of collateral to be created on the
fly and delivered with one tap.
“I would say that emailing and sharing info on the spot is a big trend and an important
opportunity for B2B companies,” Cisco’s Steve Lau maintains. “Basically, it provides
fluidity in business interactions. The current method is that after the presentation, info
is gathered from both parties and at a later date or time it’s exchanged. At the moment,
on the spot, whether through tablet or iPhone, the opportunity is to speed that fluid
interaction. It’s less prone to being lost, and it’s just an easier, more efficient way to share
the information sheet.”
To help accelerate transactions and make them more fluid, B2B brands can use tablets
to set up order specifications quickly, allowing for easy processing of quotes, approvals
and final authorizations by procurement. Custom configuration of on-the-spot orders
and submissions for quotes can be incorporated into a sales service application.
“We’re talking about putting in orderability, including quick configuration on an iPad
to place the order from the tablet for our resellers — or our own sales executives could do it
and send a link to the quote ID to the reseller. Then they click and go through the normal
process, but all information discussed at the meeting would be prefilled before they arrive,”
a B2B stakeholder stated.
Instant content updates and industry regulation management
B2B brands with frequent product data updates or brands that operate in heavily regulated
industries can benefit greatly from creating tablet applications with push updates to
ensure all content is up to date and compliant. Rules can be written into the applications
to ensure product demonstrations conform to industry regulations such as those imposed
by FINRA and the FDA.
“We are regulated,” Benjamin Pollack of Siemens conveyed, “and need to make sure
the information on these devices is as up to date as possible. We’re making provisions to
control and optimize, to ensure our sales force is getting as much up-to-date information
All of these benefits translate into business results for enterprises. A recent study by the
Yankee Group of 2,400 workers in the US found significant benefits from the use of
mobile devices. They found that sales reps spend less time on administrative tasks and
more face time with existing and prospective customers, while companies spend less
money on printed sales materials, mailing and delivery costs, and antiquated, paper-based
record-keeping processes. How much of an impact could this have? Well, look at these
• Increased field selling time: 28%
• Eliminated redundant activities: 27%
• Increased win rates: 26%
• Reduced cost of sales calls: 25%
• Increased forecast accuracy: 25%
• Decreased administrative time: 24%
• Decreased sales cycle time: 23%15
The robust applications available on a smartphone provide enterprises with many opportu-
nities to realize a significant boost in employee productivity. The tremendous growth
in the app store business category prompted one IT executive to say, “We estimate that
iOS saves 30 minutes a day for the average user by having critical apps on their phone
or tablet — that’s a significant amount of money.” Another participant, referring to just
15. “Anywhere Enterprise-Large: U.S. Mobility and Applications Survey,” Yankee Group, 2010
a single business unit of a larger B2B brand, reports: “We have well over a hundred apps
in our division.”
A number of clients discussed creating enterprise app stores for the distribution of apps.
Benefits cited were secure app delivery and push updates to ensure workforces are using
the most up-to-date software and content. Motorola, which participated in this research,
stated that they have built their own enterprise app store and are seeing a great deal of
interest in their apps among their B2B client base.
There are a number of uses that were particularly notable among the B2B brands we
interviewed. We’ll cover a few examples here, but B2B brands should consider where their
particular businesses can achieve the greatest impact through the adoption of mobile
apps in their own organizations.
Sales force productivity
Mobility solutions drive sales force productivity during travels on the road to visit clients.
Examples cited from our participants included mobile versions of sales resource centers
and optimized prospect visit routing. For example, an app for the healthcare industry
assisted the sales force by using GPS and data on the sales performance of various doctors,
based on their practices, to map the most efficient and productive route. Paul Bloom at
IBM pointed to the use of new streams of data, with the example of a company optimizing
the dispatching of repair technicians by monitoring their current locations using phone
GPS functionality and overlaying traffic, weather and repair job real-time statuses.
A South Korean insurance company has also put this into practice: in a mix of B2B and
B2C functions, this insurance company sought to reduce the bureaucracy around car
insurance claims and make their field representatives more efficient. They distributed smart-
phones to agents and, when an accident occurred involving one of their clients, they
dispatched the closest agent to the scene by using that agent’s smartphone GPS location.
In many cases, this allowed the agent to arrive more quickly than the police and to process
the accident information and claim immediately. This not only reduced administrative
costs but resulted in a significant boost in customer satisfaction as well.
Web conferencing for virtual meetings was popularized by WebEx, now a Cisco company.
It has been around for a very long time in internet terms, but more recently apps have
been launched to enable web conferencing easily over mobile devices. Cisco, one of the
participants in this study, reports that mobile teleconferences are quite popular and that the
number of mobile WebEx downloads is “pretty high.” We heard other participants mention
the value of using mobile devices to connect product experts and clients, perhaps even
using video teleconferencing so that the interaction is virtually face to face. Salespeople
can have a product expert “in their pocket,” available for more complex questions.
Social collaboration and crowdsourcing
Quick access to colleagues is important for B2B employees on the go. The ability to find
employees in the corporate directory, one of our participants told us, is one of the most
requested features in mobile apps. Employees want to facilitate deal approvals from
necessary parties and even crowdsource problem solving on the go, tapping into a net-
work of experts to help solve a problem or to help better service a client. This idea can
be expanded to include distributors, resellers and other product experts who can help
solve problems. This type of mobile collaboration can be facilitated in many ways,
from the most basic text messaging connections to more involved expert location and
“We’re looking into how we can integrate more social capabilities into our mobile offerings,”
one stakeholder told us. “We see an opportunity here to help resolve problems faster
through crowdsourcing rather than waiting in a standard support queue. We could create
wikis and connect with people who can help solve problems.” Another said, “Social
collaboration can help our salespeople, who are often trying to hone in on the answer
for a particular client’s pain point. We are pioneering an expertise location app for mobile
to help you find an expert on any topic relevant to our products.”
Automating tasks using unique mobile functionality
Administrative tasks can be streamlined with mobile. One B2B brand cited an app that
simplified the expense report process by using a mobile device’s camera to snap photos
of receipts and GPS to track mileage driven.
These are just four categories we noted during our research, but there are many other
applications for which smartphones and tablets are being used, or will be used, to help
Finding effective ways to spread awareness and drive adoption among the workforce
for this onslaught of apps is a challenge. One of our participants summed it up this way:
“How do we help get our people up to speed on these tools and use them when out in the
field? How do we drive adoption and education around our growing set of mobile tools?”
This is a good problem to have, but it is an impediment to fully harnessing the potential
of mobile tools for a workforce.
Matching customer needs and expectations with
added-value mobility solutions
In addition to using mobile for marketing and supporting a workforce, B2B organizations
are also finding interesting and valuable ways to use mobile to enhance existing, or to create
new, product or service offerings. B2B brands are finding many ways to leverage mobile
to deliver value within the context of their own product lines, distribution channels and
These are the areas where we’ve seen the greatest impact:
Enabling partners and resellers
For many B2B organizations whose business relies heavily on value-chain partners, distribu-
tors and/or resellers, the question becomes, as Steve Lau of Cisco put it, “How do you
sell to both a partner and a partner’s customers? By enabling them with tools and content
that properly represent our brand and make them more efficient in their communications
to their clients.”
Partners, resellers and distribution partners are a critical route to market for many B2B
companies, and so it is imperative to enable them with the best tools to get educated
on products, help communicate value propositions to their customers, inquire about
product pricing or track order statuses and service requests. Like all B2B targets, they are
increasingly on the go. B2B resellers and distributors find the same value that sales forces
do from having mobile tools available to them to aid in their sales processes.
We’ve heard several examples of B2B brands providing partners with educational, market-
ing and product materials, taking what might have been thousands of pages of paper and
providing easy, on demand access to information on a partner’s mobile device.
Mobilizing customer service and support
Customers are often mobile when they are interacting with B2B products, working in an
environment such as a manufacturing facility, an IT server room, a healthcare facility or
a shipping department. When problems arise, people need solutions fast. B2B companies
are finding new opportunities to drive loyalty and satisfaction among their customer bases
by providing mobile access to customer service and technical support personnel via
Examples of this are widespread. One B2B brand we spoke to is providing customers with
real-time notifications on software updates or support-ticket resolutions for those who are
out in the field frequently. An example we heard from Jason Ruger, Chief Security Officer
at Motorola, was that a rail industry client is beginning to use video chat and cameras on
smartphones and tablets to show engineers why something isn’t quite fitting right at a
And for the many customers who use their peers to help resolve issues with B2B products,
mobile provides quick, on-the-go access to the support communities that mitigate the
reliance on call centers.
Mobile barcode scanning has been used by B2B brands to allow customers to pull up
detailed, specific product-support information, including FAQs, and to help guide them
when asking questions of support technicians. Barbara Mousigian, Senior Director of
eCommerce at CDW, said the ability to offer mCommerce to their customers delivers the
greatest incremental revenue potential when conjoined with a support request such as this.
Once a barcode is scanned, if the solution is a replacement product, an accessory or an
alternative product, the support issue can become a sale on the spot if it’s in the category
of B2B products that would be purchased in this way.
Enhancing products and services
Mobile is creating new opportunities to enhance existing products and services, as well
as opening up new opportunities for mobile-specific products and services. We uncovered
a number of ways B2B brands are currently using mobile to enhance their offerings in
order to drive loyalty or even create new revenue streams.
For example, the B2B brands we spoke with report hearing high demand from their
customers for mobile access to their products as well as, where applicable, mobile manage-
ment of their products. In the healthcare field, B2B brands are developing apps to connect
tablets to the medical systems they produce for healthcare professionals. Siemens produces
IT systems that manage patient data in healthcare environments, in addition to imaging
machines such as MRIs to diagnose patient ailments. Mobility extensions to these
products help healthcare professionals be more effective and efficient. “A doctor can take
an iPad to the bedside,” Benjamin Pollack of Siemens reported, “show the patient — here’s
your broken arm, here’s what it looked like in the X-rays, here’s how we’re going to
repair it. It lends itself nicely to a healthcare environment.” Healthcare is a prime target
for mobility applications, given the mobile nature inherent in the practice and the need
for access to critical information on demand. One study reports that nearly 40% of
physicians in the US use medical apps on a daily basis, and that number is on the rise
and is expected to reach 50% within a year.16 Another study reported that mobile-based
solutions have increased the efficiency of hospitals by up to 25%, resulting in more
medical resources available to the community without a corresponding increase in costs
and resources.17 The University of Chicago published a report on a pilot program that
tracked 115 residents at its hospital who were given iPads. The study reported efficiency
gains of one hour per day, and nearly 70% of the residents felt the iPads helped avoid
patient care delays.18
16. [x]cube LABS, 2011 (Distimo, iPass, Ovum, Yankee Group, Forrester Research, comScore)
17. [x]cube LABS, 2011 (Distimo, iPass, Ovum, Yankee Group, Forrester Research, comScore)
18. iMedicalApps, 2012
In another example of healthcare efficiency, Bill Bodin from IBM relayed that they are
working on voice-enabling mobile devices so that physicians or nurses can quickly fill
a prescription without taking their eyes off a patient.
In the field of building management, apps are being developed to allow facility managers
to control systems and get alerts when they have problems or security breaches.
Several B2B brands discussed being able to charge customers for those mobile services
that provide real value. These apps could also be used as an added incentive for current
customers to buy into a premium level of service, or as an added service provided only to
the highest-value customers. We believe this is likely to become a much more important
piece of B2B customer offerings.
Monitor supply and orders on the go
B2B brands are building solutions that use mobile to help expedite the contract approval
process by facilitating the collection of required signatures in a paperless format. This can
make deal completion more fluid and perhaps increase overall deal flow. “Customers are
already asking, ‘Where are my parts, what’s the delay in my installation?’ — wherever they
may be. We can use mobile to then let them know, ‘Your next whatever will be here by
next Thursday,’ and this is being highly demanded,” one respondent said. Early movers in
this area will be rewarded by improved customer loyalty and brand preference.
Making product education more accessible
Finally, product education is very important in B2B, given the often-complex nature of
the products. B2B brands have long worked hard to deliver effective and easy-to-consume
educational content, not only to guide users of their products to use them effectively but
also to drive demand for additional products and services.
For those B2B brands with learning certificate programs on their products, mobile provides
a great opportunity to offer smaller modules for users whenever they have a free moment.
Users stay as knowledgeable as possible on the brand’s product line. As Steve Lau said,
“We have a huge learning certification and learning system, and we have been looking at
ways to deliver on this from a mobile perspective. With bite-sized modules, practice tests
and exams, we see the mobile channel as an important way to deliver our education more
effectively to our product users.”
We know from our research and experience working with major B2B brands that digital
tactics are well suited to the specific needs of B2B. With longer sales cycles and higher
price points, B2B brands require a long period of self-direction before becoming an
active lead. In addition, any B2B sale is going to engage many people along the way.
Any communication is going to have to be personalized for diverse audiences. Finally,
B2B products are almost always complex offerings fit with custom-built solutions.
Tailored educational sales pieces are critical.
Smart mobility has amplified the value of digital for B2B businesses. It has made it possible
for B2B employees, key prospects, customers and influencers to have continuous digital
access, no matter where they are. BYOD programs give enterprises more flexibility to
develop low-cost and fast solutions. After all, today’s B2B stakeholders are armed with
high-speed wireless devices almost as powerful as laptops.
But smart mobility is not just another channel for digital content. It represents an entirely
new medium because of all the different things it can do: GPS location, onboard cameras,
motion sensors, and touch-screen interfaces change the way we interact with the technology.
Smart mobility has therefore opened up a broad new landscape of potential applications
for B2B brands to communicate with and deliver value to their customers.
These new applications have enabled additional product innovation, incremental revenue,
operational efficiency, competitive advantage and greater customer loyalty from early
prospect to loyal advocate and everywhere in between. Here’s how:
• rospects are engaged more frequently, with richer interaction, earlier on in their
customer journey. This delivers more qualified leads and an improved selling
environment for the B2B brand. The IBM Seer app — which jolts a prospect
into thinking of IBM in a new way — and the IBM Cloud iPad app — which notifies
potential prospects about new whitepaper content — exemplify this.
• ersonalized digital data and content are being integrated into in-person sales
interactions. The result is more effective meetings and increased conversion rates.
The considerable enthusiasm we’ve encountered for this has led to reluctance to
discuss the specifics for fear of giving away competitive advantage.
Innovative solutions to customer challenges are emerging as a direct result of collabo-
ration tools and real-time access to personalized content and data via smart mobility.
This creates opportunities for incremental revenue. Apps that provide the ability
to quickly tap into expertise across the organization or among the extended partner/
reseller community enable B2B brands to crowdsource solutions to unique customer
challenges. The popular Cisco WebEx app even offers video chat for such
• pps that optimize a specific B2B brand’s business processes engender higher levels
of efficiency in operations. This reduces costs and increases customer satisfaction.
Smart mobility enables a South Korean insurance company to deploy its agents
quicker than local authorities to the scenes of accidents. Because of this, they can
process claims more efficiently. An app at a major IT company automates administra-
tive tasks such as expense reporting, and that frees up more time for sales.
• mart mobility enables B2B brands to improve the value of existing products and
services and create entirely new offerings. Smart mobility is not just a new channel
but rather a new medium with all the possibilities that implies. This will lead to addi-
tional revenue opportunities and an edge against competitive offerings, as
Siemens has shown with its IT solutions that deliver huge efficiency gains.
• inally, smart mobility allows B2B brands to have more frequent and productive
engagement with customers and provide more effective support for their products.
Greater customer loyalty and advocacy, not to mention incremental revenue,
are the direct result. CDW reports that allowing customers to scan barcodes
of products to access support content is doing just that.
Getting into a mobile
B2B mind-set — five
1. ct now — The pace of change is rapid, and some B2B brands we spoke with are moving
decidedly faster than others towards using smart mobility. These brands are realizing
considerable value in many ways. Those B2B brands that fall behind will begin finding
themselves at a competitive disadvantage compared to those quicker to implement.
Don’t let your brand fall into this position.
2. Invest with insight — Some brands seem to fall into the trap of going after the “shiny”
new trend in mobile and just following the herd. Don’t make this mistake. Investing
haphazardly will not get you the results you seek for your business and could just
distract from the real prize.
3. emember the “I” in ROI — Be cognizant that executing effectively in mobile may
require significant investment. But as we’ve demonstrated, the cost savings, incremental
revenue, customer loyalty and other value opportunities are substantial and should be
appropriately considered in budget decisions.
4. uild experiences for people — Do not lose sight of the fact that the same characteris-
tics that drive engagement and adoption in B2C experiences also apply to the B2B
space. Create playful, fun, intuitive experiences, and you will see better results, both
internally and externally.
5. ink outside the box — Smart mobility is not just another channel to deliver content.
It’s a new medium that opens up entirely new possibilities. With onboard cameras, GPS
capabilities, motion sensors, multitouch screens and other unique capabilities, you have
the potential to create completely new applications. Get creative.
So how do you best
leverage mobile for your
Developing a mobile strategy in five steps
There is a lot to do and a great deal of value to exploit. Where should you get started
for your brand?
At Ogilvy Mather, we help major brands answer this question by developing a mobile
strategy that identifies the “low-hanging fruit” for their business. These are the opportunities
that can deliver the greatest gains in business value without being too complex to imple-
ment. We recommend strategies that also outline broader initiatives that take longer to
come to fruition but give the brand a clear action plan to address mobile across its business.
Here is the basic process to achieve this output and get started unlocking value for your
brand with mobile.
Define business ambition and establish objectives (“the why”)
Clearly define your company’s core business ambition for growth. What are the underly-
ing drivers of growth for your business, and which specific market opportunities does
your organization see as critical for your business to achieve growth over the next
few years? Are you expanding internationally? Launching new product lines? Trying to
protect your market dominance against new competitive threats? Trying to sell to
customer segments you haven’t sold to previously? Trying to reframe your brand’s
perception in the marketplace?
Understanding where you believe your overall business growth will come from will help
you establish measurable, high-level objectives that you can use mobile to achieve.
2. ssess your market landscape
Take a look at your competitors to understand what they are doing in mobile. Is your
brand a clear laggard in any area? Is your lack of presence becoming an obvious miss
for your customers and therefore a liability? Are there any obvious areas to engage on
mobile that none of your competitors have yet explored?
3. esearch your target audience needs
You must understand in detail what the needs of your target audiences are and how they
want to interact with your brand in order to develop mobile solutions for them. Conduct
primary research directly with representative members of each of your priority customer
segments from the different regions where you do business. Poll social media and
analyze keyword searches in areas relevant to your brand.
4. evelop a strategic framework (“the how”)
Now consolidate the market, customer and business objective research into a compre-
hensive strategic framework. This framework explicitly defines all of the ways your
business investment in mobile can deliver on your business objectives.
5. enerate tactics and prioritize into a roadmap (“the what”)
With the strategic framework action plan in hand, you can now get down to generating
specific, tactical mobile ideas for your business. You will obviously need to prioritize
what should be started immediately and what should come in a later development
phase. This is accomplished by scoring tactics on a pain/gain measurement scale to
determine where your “lowest-hanging fruit” lies. This is your roadmap, and with
this you are ready to get going.
The future of smart mobility in B2B
Smart mobility applications are unlocking a broad array of value throughout the B2B space.
And as exciting as the work we see now is, this is only the very beginning. The beginning
of the beginning, in fact. Looking forward, we can already start to see what will take shape
as 4G-network penetration grows globally along with newer, smarter mobile devices that
provide yet more powerful functionality. The newest smart mobile devices are lighter, have
far crisper displays and are driven by operating system versions that are growing quite
robust in their capabilities. With their increasing power, interactivity becomes more fluid.
Fluidity also comes from new form factors, such as the Google Glasses concept, which
allows wearers to interact with data overlaid on top of their environment.
And the definition of smart mobility is also expanding to wirelessly connected devices.
B2B brands are already taking advantage of mobile devices that connect with and send data
to and from wireless systems integrated into products themselves. John Deere offers this
as a product called FarmSight, which uses sensors on a farm operation’s tractors to let users
monitor machine performance from a smartphone, going so far as to let them control the
machines remotely. When a problem arises, a John Deere dealer can access the wireless
system to help diagnose problems in real time. These types of systems will only multiply
as mobile sophistication — both technological and corporate — grows.
The future is here, and it’s time to get started finding the value in mobility for your
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