Why B2B needs to take a page from B2C tactics
Has digitization reshaped our perception of value? In the context of B2B and B2C marketing, digital technologies are particularly engendering the convergence of B2B and B2C audience behaviors, necessitating a re-evaluation of how value is being delivered to the modern buyer.
Digital transformation is redefining how B2B businesses interact, market and sell to their customers. Mobiles, apps, social media, real-time recommendations on ecommerce sites, machine learning, AI-led automation – all are transforming habits and buying behavior with the unparalleled level of convenience and choice they offer consumers. With increased reliance on social experiences in consumer decision-making, B2B and B2C audience behaviors are converging.
Digitization is at the same time, reshaping business models and the perception of ‘value’ in the B2B environment. The age of ecommerce has transferred the power back to the consumers in B2C interactions. So, modern business buyers have started expecting the same ease to research, compare, and buy products in the B2B space as they are now used to with sites like Amazon.
So, what are some of the ways B2B marketers need to mimic B2C tactics to offer engaging experiences to the modern buyer?
Investing in customer experience (CX)
It is evident that both B2B and B2C customers have a marked preference for personalized experiences. But where B2C has ruled the game is in ensuring a seamless and enriched customer journey. B2B interactions on the other hand have remained formal, structured and sometimes even rigid.
What B2B organizations must take cognizance of is that B2B buyers are consumers too and emotion driven human beings.
A great way for B2B businesses to embed customer experience at the core of their customer journey is to start utilizing data that they hold within their existing systems and customizing their ecommerce platforms to deliver additional information to the customer to help drive buying decisions.
Past purchases, add-ons for products previously bought, stock levels on products regularly ordered, can all be presented to the customer as they browse online, to aid them in their purchasing journey, much akin to a B2C experience. Similarly, experiential marketing is also becoming a great tool to offer boutique brand experiences to B2B customers.
Build digital leadership with relevant content
Sources such as Marketing Sherpa’s Business Technology Marketing Benchmark Guide, mention that B2B purchase decisions are largely made before there is actual interaction with a sales person.
This indicates that B2B digital buyers are exploring and this means that their decisions are guided by value they find in digital resources including blogs, eBooks, white papers, research reports, videos, buyer reviews and social media to guide.
B2B marketers therefore need to remain relevant with their online presence, by delivering engaging content, educate buyers and answer their queries along the path to purchase. In fact, many industry studies also find that the sale often goes to the vendor who is the first to respond, because it indicates a high level of digital promptness.
Don’t lose sight of basics
Despite the evolution of technology and changes in the way to buying process, we must however remember that convenience and simplicity influence all purchase decisions, whether selling to a customer or a corporate entity.
In a survey of 300 global B2B organizations by ITProPortal, 75% of respondents noted that their customers had demanded to buy online, with nearly three-quarters of those citing “ease of online purchasing” as the reason. Additionally, nearly 87% of respondents said that B2B buyer needs could be best met with ecommerce solutions that mimic the B2C buying experience.
Engaging both a business and consumer audience still goes back to the basics of understanding customers from a holistic perspective and connecting with them at the right time, in the right place.
B2B organizations need to embrace digital transformation in a way that it positively mimics B2C experiences and fundamentally changes how the new perception of ‘value’ is delivered to customers.