Part 6 of the “Modern B2B Marketing in the Era of the Empowered Buyer Content Stream”
Much has been reported and written over the past two years regarding the modern B2B buyer’s journey, with almost all of the research indicating that, in some way, shape or form, salespeople are being displaced by the ubiquity of available information on digital channels. The Corporate Executive Board (CEB) and Google have been quoted numerous times about B2B buyers traveling 57% of their journey without ever contacting sales. SiriusDecisions stated just last year that “67% of the buyer’s journey is now done digitally,” and many other sources, such as Forrester and Gartner, have reported similar statistics, all pointing to the fact that buyers are completing a majority of the journey without contacting a vendor’s salespeople.
A 2014 Demand Gen Report on B2B Buyer Behavior states: “As many as 34% of respondents said the number of team members involved in the B2B purchase process increased over the past year” and TechTarget chimes in too: “The single buyer is no longer—team buying is prevalent across all geographies as 55–75% of respondents indicate that the most common buying team consists of 2–4 people, but the size of the buying team increases at larger companies.” CEB puts the average size of the enterprise buying group at 5.4 people.
The average B2B buyer age is going down
A recent article in Advertising Age states that millennial influence within B2B buying decision groups is growing rapidly, according to a new study by Google and the research house Millward Brown Digital, where 46% of potential buyers researching B2B products today are millennials, up from 27% in 2012.
We’d like to introduce you to someone quite important. Someone that you’ll need to become quite familiar with, we’d like to introduce you to the business-to-business empowered buyer of today.
The Business-to-Business Empowered Buyers Manifesto
We have taken power.
We will no longer sit back and be sold to.
We have access to more information than ever with the mere touch
of a finger, and we intend to use it.
We have a ravenous appetite for content, not marketing material.
We don’t stand alone. We are constantly influenced by our network
and we make our decisions in groups. Our strength is in numbers.
Because of us, marketing will never be the same. And that’s a good thing.
We work, think and buy on our own terms.
We will create the future to our liking.
We will be unshakably loyal to what works for us.
And ruthlessly fickle to what doesn’t.
We are the empowered buyer. Welcome to our world.
The modern business-to-business empowered buyer is more complex, sophisticated and independent than the buyers of yesterday. They don’t know who you are and while they may recognize your firm, they don’t know you.
How much do you really know about your buyers? Do you really know what they want or need and do you know how they feel or what they’re thinking? Do you know what generational segment that your buyers hail from, and if you do, you’d better be ready to speak Boomer, X-er, Y-er and Millennial, as each generational segment really only understands their own language.
Your buyer is part of a buying group of between three to seven people on average, so even if you convince your buyer, you’ll also have to convince their group, or help your buyer to convince their group, that your solution makes sense.
Buyers don’t trust your content and only 9% of them trust content provided by vendors however, your buyers do trust content generated by my peers as 86% of IT buyers use social media networks and peer-generated content in the purchase decision process.
Do your buyers know what your brand means? Maybe they once knew, or maybe they never knew, are you prepared to tell them what your brand stands for?
Why would your buyer stop what they’re doing to listen to you? The attention span of humans is shorter than ever. You don’t have much time to convince your buyer. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, at the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the average attention span of a human being has dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to eight seconds in 2013. This is one second less than the attention span of a goldfish.
Your buyer is using their own digital resources on their own times and terms to seek out solutions. When marketing to the empowered business customer of 2015, your organization needs to show up in their research since the modern buyer will travel 57% of their buyer’s journey and download 17 pieces of content before they engage with a salesperson.
It’s a brave new world with brave new buyers, and marketers who aren’t adapting to succeed in this new world, are flirting with obsolescence.
Throughout the Summer of ’15, various types of content will be produced to tell you this story.
In the next installment of Modern B2B Marketing in the Era of the Empowered Buyer, I will take a deeper dive areas where marketers are missing the mark on demand generation, beginning with the “Inability to realize the importance of the brand.”
Stay tuned right here for the continuation of the content stream presentation.