Yesterday marked the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web. So, today, we thought we’d mark the occasion by looking at why online has become so important for B2B marketing.
B2B marketing is going digital. In fact, it already has gone digital. Recent research by the CEB Marketing Leadership Council revealed that b2b buyers are, on average, 57% of the way through the buying process before first engaging with sales. And, what is more important is that most of this research is being conducted online. Indeed, it is becoming increasingly popular for b2b buyers to turn to online and social media channels to self-diagnose problems and seek solutions to their purchasing needs. So, by not focusing on optimizing your digital presence, you are at risk of underserving potential customers and losing out on potential sales.
The big challenge for b2b marketers is making sure that you produce high-quality content that has the potential to influence the early buying process. After all, buyers are already forming opinions about potential suppliers and solutions to their problems long before they get in touch. In fact, the research conducted by CEB suggested that content quality may even be a more critical factor in customer acquisition than the products themselves. Therefore, your best chance of influencing the decision-making process is by producing content that will help form these opinions in the first place. Understanding the buyer decision-making journey is key to this. The content you put out there must resonate with the buyer and reflect where they are in the journey for maximum effect. The right content should guide the buyer through the entire journey and provide the information they need at every stage to edge closer to a purchase decision.
The type of content produced is also important in optimizing your digital presence. It is perhaps obvious, but b2b buyers are no longer just conducting their research sat at desktop computers at work during normal business hours. To see true engagement, b2b companies now need to create content in a variety of different forms, each tailored to specific channels. Therefore, there is a growing need for more visual and interactive content optimized for consumption on mobile and tablet screens. Turning whitepapers into infographics, interactive web graphics and video content are just some examples of more engaging content.
So, as b2b marketers, you should understand that digital is the way forward. With b2b buyers already more than half-way through the decision-making process before they even get in touch with a supplier, it is vital that your brand and the solution you offer is present during the research stage. By producing the right content with the right messages, you can influence the early decision-making process and increase the chances of that buyer making it to the end of the journey.