The marketing world’s dramatically changing landscape – The future of B2B marketing
The future of marketing is fast moving, constantly evolving and a point of intrigue for both B2B and B2C marketers. The old paradigm – where businesses produced, marketers talked, consumers listened and sales followed – has given way to an economy where customers co-create, marketing involves two-way interactions, and customized product offerings move into the marketplace via channels unheard of even a few years ago.
Back in the old days, the typical way a B2B company would approach the market was through three classic customer touch points: the company’s sales department, trade magazines and finally trade fairs. But as digital channels now allow endless access to solutions and information, the game has completely changed. Today every customer has direct access to solutions and information 24/7/365.
Research shows that up to 60-70% of decision-making in B2B is made before the decision-maker approaches the supplier:
A CEB (Corporate Executive Board) study of more than 1,400 B2B customers found that those customers completed, on average, nearly 60% of a typical purchasing decision – researching solutions, ranking options, setting requirements, bench-marking pricing, and so on – before even having a conversation with a supplier.
SiriusDecisions reports that 70% of the buying process in a complex sale is already complete before prospects are willing to engage with a live salesperson
Convinced? Not yet? Just in case you missed it:
The hardest thing about B2B selling today is that customers don’t need you the way they used to – Harvard Business Review
Two-thirds to 90% of the buying cycle is completed before a B2B buyer ever speaks with a sales rep. – Forrester
Business buyers spend just 21% of buying cycle in conversations with salespeople, instead spending 23% of the time in conversations with peers and colleagues and 56% of the buying cycle searching for and engaging with content – IDG Connect
70% of business technology buyers are at the RFP stage (request for proposal) by the time the vendor becomes aware of the opportunity – UBM Techweb.
Information through digital channels has changed the game
While generating leads remains the number one objective for B2B marketing folks, the method by which they are generating those leads is shifting as more B2B marketers move toward content marketing as a tactic.
The fairs and trade magazines are still important influencers for most businesses, but they are no longer enough. Digital channels and social networking sites are becoming increasingly more important sources of information and messages can be received instantly.
The B2B marketing winners are the companies that create the strongest connection to the market and deliver the most relevant content. B2B companies who fail to adapt their marketing won’t have a future.
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