There have been a lot of words written about the changing world we live in post pandemic but one thing we know for sure is that customer expectations are rising! Customers expect companies that market to them to know them intimately in terms of their needs, their motivations and desires. It’s crucial that today’s B2B marketers deliver a relevant message across the buyer journey. Meeting buyers where they are. In the moments that matter to them.
The B2B world we once knew will never return! The adoption of technology has moved at pace and the role of the B2B marketer needs to be agile in this digital age in which we all live in. However, does it really mean that the once loved conferences, exhibitions and industry events that were frequented by businesses are now obsolete? On the back of our latest research, Superpowers 2.0, we wanted to understand why certain brands are chosen and why some are thrown to the wayside, and what successful B2B companies are doing to win in the ever-increasing noisy marketplace.
A full-funnel marketing approach to drive short term sales whilst driving long-term business growth is not a new concept. However, we have found in this study that the purchasing journey is a long one, and successful brands need to embrace this reality and evolve their marketing if they are going to be successful in this ‘new world’.
We spoke to 3,505 decision makers and asked them to retrace their steps on their journeys for 6,212 recent B2B purchase experiences (1,665 in North America, 1,636 in APAC and 2,911 in EMEA). We have refreshed our understanding of how you can create the ultimate B2B experience across four B2B industries (financial services, manufacturing, professional services, and technology), what it now takes to succeed in those categories, and the B2B brands that have thrived by meeting buyers’ needs over the past 12 months.
Branding Is The Number 1 Marketing Strategy In 2022
A useful starting point is to look at the changing dynamics of the marketplace before digging deeper into the journey itself.
If we look back to research we carried out in 2019 and even in 2020, customer experience (CX) topped the charts in terms of the number 1 strategy for businesses.
Fast forward to 2022 and, although CX is the number 2 marketing strategy, the topic of brand building and brand positioning is now the number 1 strategy for B2B marketers.
Marketing strategies have needed to be flexible over the last couple of years. Mid-pandemic we saw a real shift in companies focusing on more demand generation tactics, and topics such as ESG became a lot more prominent. Whilst demand generation tactics have given way to more top of the funnel brand building activities, it seems as if B2B marketers are taking a much more balanced approach. The focus on ESG is even more pronounced with 1 in 4 mentioning that this is their focus for 2022.
The Path To Purchase Is A Long One
Most organizations fear change. Changing suppliers means having to deal with potential disruptions and unwanted upheaval. Therefore, it is sometimes easier for customers to put up with a mediocre supplier rather than go through the difficulty of switching to another. Customers tend to accept poor service so long as it doesn’t become unmanageable (although only 16% mentioned this was the reason for searching for a new supplier). The primary trigger to look for a new supplier is as a result of internal circumstances and change, with half of respondents citing reasons such as cost reduction, new business requirements and organisational growth. 1 in 5 state an external reason, for example regulation compliance or keeping up with competitors, and a further 16% mention they had their eyes opened to new possibilities through being approached by a new supplier or being targeted by supplier communications.
In this digital world we now live, attention spans are short and the message needs to be snappy to get the buyers attention, especially on social media. With today’s buyers having an insatiable appetite for instant gratification, then you might assume that the buying journey is also going to be short. However, our research showed that…
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About the report
The B2B landscape has changed forever. The recent global pandemic has accelerated digitalization, and there is no going back. Furthermore, there is now a more accepted notion that the lines between B2B and B2C marketing are becoming increasingly blurred; we are after all still talking to human beings.
So, how can you connect with today’s B2B buyer, and ultimately become a winning B2B brand?
Our recent global survey of over 3,500 decision makers set out to understand why certain brands are chosen, and what B2B organizations are doing to be successful in this ever-increasing noisy marketplace.
With the average B2B buyer journey taking over half a year, it is vital that organizations remain relevant, with the right message at the right time and in the moments that matter to them. Are the days of conferences and industry events obsolete? Must we always communicate with millennial decision makers via online channels? This brand new research report, sponsored by Meta, has all the answers.
Key takeaways include:
- The importance and impact of social media on today’s B2B buyer journey
- The role ESG and brand purpose play in becoming a successful B2B brand
- The generational differences in communication preferences
- The importance of personalization within the marketing mix
- The winning formula for communicating with today’s B2B buyer…
… plus lots more.
More content like this:
- [Report] The New Shape of Superpowered B2B Customer Experiences
- [Webinar Recording] Superpowers 2.0 – Building the Business Case for CX Agility
- [Infographic] Spotlight on the Millennial B2B Decision Maker