Is Digital Development On The Rise For B2B Companies?
At the recent CustomerTalk digital marketing event one topic that stood out the most for me was the expert panel debate on the issue that “Digital development is more important for B2C companies than it is for B2B” .
Recently, in November, my colleague had the chance to attend the CustomerTalk digital marketing event. The main topic was digital marketing with a focus on developing trends for 2017 and insider guides. Much of the conversation was focused on digital how-to’s, discussions on the direction that online marketing will be moving in the coming years and the ever present suspicion that computers will steal all of our jobs.
One topic that stood out the most for me was that of B2B digital marketing. At a debate between a panel of experts, this statement was made for discussion:
Digital development is more important for B2C companies than it is for B2B
We audience members had the chance to vote on what we thought the relevant answer was. Given my daily conversations with digital and e-commerce experts, I was sure that the audience and the panel would mostly agree with the sentiment. Out of 151 mostly B2C oriented digital participants, 78 said that digital developments will be more important for B2B companies while 51 agreed with the sentiment above. The panel of five experts also mostly agreed with the audience. Yet from my anecdotal experiences, B2B marketing departments don’t seem to share this enthusiasm for digital in the B2B space.
So why is this important?
B2B methods of communication are changing
Yes, even in B2B, the trend is constantly moving to a more mobile-oriented world. Stats from The Marketing Centre show that at least 47% of all emails are being opened on some form of mobile device. In certain B2B markets, such as construction, communication through social media and other digital channels has been the preferred method for some time while other B2B segments are following suit. What this means for B2B marketers is that adapting to your customer’s preferred methods of communication is key. Mobile responsive websites are no longer a design luxury. Content should be created with the viewing constraints of mobile devices in mind as an increasing volume of your traffic will come from mobile.
What this means for B2B companies in general is that marketing is becoming increasingly personalised and less 9-5. As Hubspot put it, mobile marketing offers you the option to personalise your campaigns, time them to periods where customers are likely to respond and build lasting relationships with your current and prospective customers.
Don’t forget that this needs to be a two-way street. Your customers and digital viewers expect 24/7 access to information, however they also expect the ability to engage with your business through these same channels. Chat boxes, feedback forms and clear ‘Contact Us’ pages can play a significant role in boosting your digital results. Your sales team will be very thankful once a proper lead nurturing campaign is in place!
Content is king
The traditional advertisement is dying. In all honesty, when was the last time that you watched a pop-up video advertisement on YouTube if you could skip it? Statistics show that 40% of Millennials, the group that will eventually fill decision-making roles, do not trust traditional advertisements. Compounding this is the fact that currently 80% of B2B decision makers prefer to source relevant purchasing information from content on websites rather than advertisements.
What this means for B2B marketing teams is that many of the traditional channels are becoming steadily less relevant. While the trade show still remains one of the top lead generators for both marketing and sales, the DMU (Decision Making Unit) wants access to good content to form the basis for their decisions. B2B companies looking to enter the digital marketspace will need to focus on creating content which covers pain points in their target market.
Using data for insights
Every business, from giant conglomerates to your local corner shop, has the capacity to generate data. Every interaction with your customers can be tracked, tagged, stored and analysed to get to gain actionable insights. This data can be used to drive new product or service ideas, new content, sources of improvement for the business and future market trends.
Businesses which engage in Customer Analytics, this being the gathering and analysis of data across the entire customer journey, have been found to outperform their competition by as much as 100%. However, just like gold or any other precious commodity, simply hoarding data is not the way to go as data is only useful when used effectively.