B2B Digital Marketing in a B2C Digital World
Recent years have ushered in dramatic changes in the Business to Business (B2B) digital marketing landscape. At the crux of these shifts are the hyper-connected, ever increasingly (maturely) digitised audiences that demand – and get – access to the information and (in some cases) the direct ability to purchase – when they need it.
Fact: Your B2B customers are online – and they are more willing to use digital channels to connect and make purchases at scale. What do you need to do? Make it easy for them to discover, understand where you fit in and do business with you.
You can’t ignore the internet anymore: 65% of Mother Earth’s population is online (and 60% of them are social media users), couple that with the stat that 94% of B2B buyers are performing online research before they engage with any business – it’s like travelling, you book your flight, then you plan with the internet as your muse; you know where you need to go, then start pulling the requisite information together based on what is (and who are) available.
To mention digital adoption has accelerated due to the pandemic, is like saying cows produce more milk on farms, but globally, the reduction in the number of barriers to ignite new business opportunities cannot be ignored, and the strategic execution in your marketing can almost mirror a very intensiver B2C ecommerce operation.
There are expectations for B2B buying interfaces: To provide thorough information around your competitive service or product – this is unavoidable if you want to compete; so, don’t discount how complex your communication content might need to become.
Now, let’s talk about the elephant in the room: short-term vs. long-term marketing efforts. While short-term activities might give you a quick boost, it’s the long-term efforts that truly pay off (take heed of the 95:5 rule). It’s like planting a tree; you won’t see the fruits immediately, but with time and care, it will grow and provide you with a bountiful harvest.
Investing in long-term B2B digital marketing allows businesses to build strong, lasting relationships with their customers and ensures that their brand sits at the forefront of their decision making considerations; if you didn’t know that Amazon existed, you wouldn’t even think about it when considering purchasing online – same principle applies here. Buyers have demonstrated a 2:1 likelihood of choosing vendors based on knowing them in the pre-purchase phase of decision making – this is because there is a naturally perceived trust in being recognised rather than not.
Your focus must be about building awareness, nurturing credibility within these new digital relationships, continually earning their trust, and delivering as a reliable partner in their success. Investment in complete, customer-centric digital marketing not only improves the customer relationship significantly but also shortens the sales cycle, making it more active rather than passive.
Want more “B2B digital is like B2C” substantiation?
“The prevailing wisdom used to be that e-commerce was mainly for smaller-ticket items and fast-moving parts. Not so anymore. Notably, 70% of B2B decision-makers say they are open to making new, fully self-serve or remote purchases more than $50,000, and 27% would spend more than $500,000.” McKinsey.
The shift in B2B marketing towards direct digital engagement and purchase landscape is a response to the evolving needs and preferences of today’s interconnected and always-online buyer. As companies adapt to the digital era, this transition presents tremendous opportunities for companies willing to take a proper punt.
We made an ebook about the B2B evolution last year. Get it here.