The End of B2B Marketing
Business-to-business marketing or B2B has always been considered more difficult than B2C, or business-to-consumer marketing. Why? Because it’s hard. It’s expensive. There are more people involved in the decision-making process, so consequently there are more steps involved and it takes longer. Bottom line, it’s complicated.
But when you think about it, there really is no difference between B2B and B2C marketing. It’s either a simple or complex process. It’s a short customer journey or a long one. Convincing someone to buy a Snickers bar is simple. Convincing someone to buy a house is complicated. Both are B2C. One customer journey is quick. One customer journey is months, if not years. The only difference is that almost every customer conversion process in B2B is complicated. Selling a jumbo jet is complicated. Selling the next generation of software to a corporation is complicated.
From insights gathered from CEB and published in Harvard Business Review, the average B2B buyers don’t identify themselves until they are 57% of the way through the purchasing decision. They begin encountering internal obstacles around 37% of the way through the process. And the average number of people involved in a typical B2B purchasing is 5.4. These are terrifying numbers. It points to lots of people with (likely) diverging agendas, and customers researching until they contact the seller to tell them exactly what they want to buy. B2C new car dealerships are facing the same problem. Consumers do not self-identify as potential buyers until very late in the process and then all they want to discuss with the seller is price.
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Many account-based marketing (ABM) solutions are able to better identify high-quality leads earlier in the process, but a strong content marketing program will make all the difference. ABM combines real-time ad buying and IP-based identification for incredibly small but incredibly targeted campaigns. Inside an organization, your potential customers are researching a new business purchase and trying to build a consensus. By targeting the entire decision-making team with an ABM campaign, you can give at least one of them valuable information (through a content marketing program) that they can use to persuade the other 4.4 people in the organization. If most of the team notices the ABM campaign and recognizes the points being made, they will conceivably reach a consensus sooner. And now you’ve just made a new friend inside the organization.
Account-based marketing solutions fueled by superior content marketing bring you into the conversation earlier and make it about your solutions, not just price. But remember that this is just the first step on a very long customer journey and there are many ways to influence potential B2B customers.
“54% of B2B marketers have generated leads from social media.” – CMO
“60% of all social media traffic to B2B websites comes from Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.” – SteamFeed
“U.S. B2B marketers are projected to spend more than $100 billion on social media advertising by 2017.” – Gerardo Lara on Pinterest