B2B marketing is no stranger to innovation. Over the course of the last decade, the industry reshaped itself to accommodate the increasing number of millennials now involved in the buying process. One-third of them are the sole decision-makers in their department. Digital-natives now make up around half of the product researchers.
Thus began the shift in B2B marketing. Strategies were formed around mobile phones, analytics, and social media. By the latter part of the decade, these tools were shaped just like their B2C counterparts. Fast, bright, and personal. But even if they’re dealing with the same digital-native generation, B2B and B2C marketing still keep distinct differences in their strategies. With the increase of millennials in the research and decision-making in the B2B landscape, what does this new decade hold for B2B marketing?
Searchability and online branding
The B2B research of digital natives begins with a general query and narrows down with every step. These searches are rarely confined to just search engines: the millennial’s B2B research involves different social media platforms and user platforms, hunting down product or service reviews.
As you spent the previous decade building your online brand, 2020 and beyond should be about the quality and consistency of your potential customer’s online experience. Utilize SEO with content marketing and the rise of video content, while focusing on the positive feedback that you get. Make your online presence loud and keep the platform streamlined: incoming generations of B2B buyers are more likely to find you before you find them.
While the younger generation may drive product searches, they still prefer face-to-face interactions with vendor representatives — even more so than older generations. But they’re not looking for a sales pitch. Chances are, this group already knows about your product or services, and now they want to see what it’s like to work with you. An effective one-on-one meeting is a key part of delivering a constant, positive buyer experience after you’ve captured the attention of your prospects’ with your solid online brand.
Look for events where these decision-makers are and be ready to talk about more than just your products and services. Position yourself as the right partner that can offer the best experience.
Influencers may be more closely associated with the consumer space, but they’re not an entirely unfamiliar concept in B2B marketing; just yet to pick up speed. It’s one of the best ways to make the most out of your investment in event marketing. It provides a refreshing marketing experience for your targets, too. Shifting from the traditional pitch to a story or experience about your products and services is an effective way to bring attention to them and your brand.
Having a key person or group of people that can establish themselves as a thought leader inside both exclusive professional events and keynote presentations is a real competitive edge that provides credibility to your brand and inspires trust in your products.
Make your online experience easy to find but hard to forget, and engage the decision-makers at the right place. Find people that can carry your brand and build valuable relationships as the thought leaders in your industry.
The growing influence of digital-natives in the B2B space have made teams redouble their digital efforts over the last decade. But not all innovations have to be technological. The need for face-to-face interaction has not faded but instead is getting increasingly significant. In the face of digital everything, personal is becoming premium.