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The Ultimate Guide On Self-Directed Marketing

By: Robert Hennessey

The Ultimate Guide On Self-Directed Marketing

By the time b-to-b buyers are ready to make a purchase, is the time when they’re willing to talk with b-to-b marketers. Nearly three-quarters of b-to b buyers (73%) said they would be willing to have a conversation with someone from an organization if it could help them in their job, according to a b-to-b report by Google.

This bodes well for b-to-b marketers, but there is a catch: b-to b buyers no longer follow the traditional sales journey. Instead, they engage in “self-directed marketing”—they seek out information about solutions to their business problems and turn to b-to-b marketers, only when they are ready to buy.

The realities of b-to-b marketing in the “Age of Self-Directed Marketing”  70% of the buying process is now complete by the time a prospective buyer is ready to engage with sales. (SiriusDecisions)

  • Today's buyer is anywhere from two-thirds to 90% of the way through their journey before they reach out to the vendor! (Forrester Research - Lori Wizdo)

  • 90% of business buyers say when they're ready to buy, they'll find you.
    (DemandGen Report)

According to the Google b-to-b report, “The sales funnel is dead: The self-directed marketing era has arrived”:

  • 70% of b-to-b buyers use a search engine at least once during their research process.
  • 60% of b-to-b buyers visit three or more websites during their research.

  • 50% of b-to-b buyers watch a video related to their purchase decision.

This means that b-to-b marketers need to focus on creating useful, relevant content and making it easy for b-to b buyers to find, regardless of the purchase stage the buyer is in.

Self-Directed Marketing is as simple as its name implies. b-to-b Buyers do not sit around waiting for Sellers to target them with typical Internet advertising and marketing. Instead, Buyers take the initiative to search the Internet to find website platforms that are neutral, unbiased, and free of ads to find answers to their business problems.

Empowered by the Internet b-to-b Buyers no longer are at the mercy of Sellers. Why, because Buyers can search and find out what the best solution to their problem is and what they will need to solve their problem and not waste time with what some Seller wants to sell them.

Discovering Legitimate Neutral, Unbiased Websites

B-to-b buyers are most likely to visit a website that is neutral and provides b-to-b information (55.57%), followed by websites of b-to-b manufacturers/suppliers (49.33%). For b-to-b marketers, it’s important to understand what type of content a buyer needs when they’re in the awareness, consideration, or decision stages of their journey.

If b-to-b marketers want to be where buyers are looking for information, they need to create content that is helpful and relevant to b-to-b buyers. This means that b-to b marketers must produce more than just product pages on their website.

If you are a b-to-b Buyer, you use the Internet to begin your search for solutions to your business problems. The frustration of many Buyers is to find neutral websites that respect b-to-b Buyers and are not just another pretense to lure them to what looks like a neutral website and then ask for a privacy exchange for information, a paywall, or lots of annoying ads.

Many so-called “neutral platforms' including social media blogs are far from neutral and more aggravating than most Company websites that just tell and sell you something or where you have you trade your privacy for content. Websites that deceive Buyers, disrespect Buyer intelligence, or purposefully look to grab Buyer privacy information you should avoid at all cost.

The Problem with Company Websites

Company websites are not neutral. Company websites promote only one point of view- the company brand, or what they want to sell you. The problem is b-to-b buyers do not buy products or services; they purchase solutions to business problems and often b-to-b Buyers must be educated about why this product or service is the best solution for b-to-b Buyers to solve their business problem.

A b-to-b buyer needs to understand how a product/service solves their business problems, why it’s better than other solutions, and what they will need to do to implement this solution into their company. This content is not often found on b-to-b supplier websites and b-to-b buyers know this fact.

The Solution

B-to-b marketers must create helpful content that is relevant to their target audience on neutral website platforms where buyers feel most comfortable being able to find all the solutions possible to their problem. B-to-b marketers must offer more than just product pages on their website and include video, infographics, and interactive content that helps b-to-b buyers understand how the product or service they are considering will solve their business problem.

When b-to-b marketers produce helpful content on neutral websites, they are more likely to reach their target audience and influence their purchase decision early in the purchase process. This is extremely important since most b-to-b buyers are not ready to contact a seller until they are ready to buy.

B-to-b marketers must create helpful content problem solution content, not sales pitches. A lot of companies are still trying to hunt down b-to-b Buyers, and more and more companies are trying to use big data to predict ad placement that will entice, lure or fool Buyers into clicking on ads.

Wow! Do Sellers think is this the smart way to start a long-term relationship with a b-to-b Buyer?

How To Spot Neutral, Respectful & Unbiased Websites?

If you are a b-to-b buyer, it is important to be able to identify websites that will provide you with the information you need without trying to sell you something.

When looking for neutral relevant content rich websites, look for the following:

- Websites that do not have a biased point of view

- Websites that do not ask for b-to b buyer data in exchange for content

- Websites that are known as unbiased, neutral, and respected by b-to-b buyers

- Websites that provide helpful relevant information to b-to-b buyers

If you have found a website with these criteria then chances are it is one of the many neutral websites b-to-b buyers are relying on for information.

Bottom Line

B-to-b marketers must create helpful content that is relevant to self-directed b-to-b buyers on neutral website platforms that feel most comfortable being able to find all the possible solutions to their problems. When b-to-b marketers produce helpful content on neutral websites, they are more likely to reach their target audience and influence their purchase decision early in the purchase process.

- Websites that do not have a biased point of view

- Websites that do not ask for b-to-b buyer data in exchange for content

- Websites that are known as unbiased, neutral, and respected

Those b-to-b marketers that recognize the changes in the new b-to-b self-directed buyers' sales journey and are willing to adjust their marketing approaches to serve Buyers' needs instead of harassing them will be more successful in generating qualified b-to-b sales leads and building brand equity.

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