Posted by IndustryArchive Admin on 03/25/2017 Content Marketing

How To Use B2B Demand Engagement
In A Buyer On Top World - Part One

By: Robert Hennessey

How To Use B2B Demand Engagement <br> In A Buyer On Top World - Part One

Knowing how to market in the new world of the buyer on top is now critically important for B2B demand engagement. However, you must remember after planning, strategizing and implementing your marketing efforts; three critical questions need answering.

  1. Did we sell anybody?
  2. What is our customer acquisition cost? 
  3. Did we make any money?

All other metrics are irrelevant. So to begin to achieve your marketing goals, we start with the business environment everyone is operating in today.

What are the New Marketing Realities for B2B Demand Engagement?

1. B2B marketers are ignoring the fact that buyers not sellers are dictating the sales process.

  • 85% of the customer experience won't include human interaction by 2020. (Gartner)

  • 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 66% to 90% of the way through their journey before they reach out to a vendor! (Forrester Research - Lori Wizdo)

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

  • B2B buyers download 14 pieces of content during the purchase process. (Google)

  • 72% of buyers planning to purchase a business product begin their research with a Google search. (Pardot)

"B2B marketers that deny buyers are in charge in today's world of B2B demand engagement will fail."  

2. Internet users of all types are becoming more concerned about their personal privacy and Internet advertising.

  • Almost 70% of 11,000 people surveyed said they would gladly use a "do not track" feature on search engines if available. (Infoworld - Ovum: Big data collection colliding with privacy concerns by Greg Gross)

  • Increase in the rise of ad blocking software use by all Internet users. (Bits - August 2015 - Study of Ad-Blocking Software Suggests Wide Use By Mark Scott)

  • Almost 200 million people worldwide now regularly use ad-blocking software, the report said.

  • About 45 million of them are in the United States, with almost 15 percent of people in states like New York and California relying on these services.

  • The figures are even higher in Europe, where 77 million people use versions of the software.

  • In Poland, more than a third of people regularly block online ads.

  • A study by Sourcepoint and comScore shows younger audiences are more likely to use ad blockers, and usage is typically highest among the highest income segments. (Marketing Land - Ginny Marvin on September 2015)

"More and more Internet users reject ads and demand privacy, but B2B marketers remain in denial."

3.The speed and acceleration of marketing technology tools today are confusing, expensive, & time-consuming.

  • There are 947 different marketing technologies available to marketers in 2014. That's up from —350 in September 2012 and —100 in August 2011. (Source: Chief Marketing Technologist)

  • There are 211 different marketing automation solutions on the market today (Source: Capterra)

  • The cost of popular marketing automation solutions ranges from $2,400 to $12,000 a year.

  • 85% of B2B marketers using marketing automation platforms in 2014 feel that they're not using them to their full potential. (Source: SiriusDecisions)

  • 75% of companies using marketing automation software implemented their platform in less than 6 months. 7% took over a year to implement. (Source: PepperGlobal)

4. Most B2B companies lack a well-defined strategy to identify a successful methodology of buyer engagement.

  • In response to the power of buyers to search the Internet, "Everyone and their brother has jumped into the online content creation game. Every minute on the Internet,

    • YouTube users upload 300 hours of new video and Vine users share 8,333 more.

    • Over 347,000 tweets are sent.

    • Facebook users share 2.46 million pieces of content. Yelp users create 26,380 new reviews.

    • And blog posts? Who even knows!"

(The Ultimate 40-Point Checklist for Smarter Content Marketing Strategy by Larry Kim)

  • B2B and B2C marketers have increased their publishing of content in 2015 by as much as 35 to 40%. The Track Maven study found that content engagement decreased by 17% in the same period. (Track Maven)

  • 60-70% of B2B content goes unused. (SiriusDecisions)

What does this new paradigm of the buyer on top mean to you the B2B marketer?

First, given this reality, if you are a B2B marketer you must embrace this paradigm shift from sellers being in control to buyers' managing the sales process. You need to figure out how to approach and engage prospective buyers at the time of their choosing and on their terms, not yours. Continuing to adopt and use marketing tools that hammer away at trying to contact prospects is probably not going to work longer if it worked at all.

Second, privacy and ad blocking are on the rise and increasing among the most desirable business demographics the young and the wealthy. What does this mean for how much you invest in marketing automation and big data? Governmental regulation and Internet user concern for privacy and an outright avoidance for annoying Internet advertising will need to be forefront in how you market your business.

Third, marketing automation, in the end, is just a tool that attempts to placate B2B marketers that want to try to control the sales process in the era of B2B Buyers are in control. Their effectiveness is dependent upon the same disruptive, privacy intrusion and annoying marketing approaches of their pre-Internet brethren.

"Marketing automation the same privacy intrusion and annoying marketing approaches of their pre-Internet brethren."  

Finally, marketers are perplexed and frustrated by the new buy cycle which is no longer linear. The disappearance of a straight line sales process is why marketing automation that uses a linear fashion will not work. Prospective buyers enter and engage at the time of their choosing and on their terms. Buyers are not going to be waiting for your marketing automation system to send them a new message as the matriculate through some linear progression of an outdated sales funnel utilized by your marketing automation tool.

Common Sense:

Employing marketing automation is not a strategy or even a tactic it is a software tool developed by marketing automation engineers. However, relying heavily on marketing automation software to drive buyer engagement in the age of Buyer control over a nonlinear sales process is a recipe for disaster.

By automating the buyer's, purchase process in a neat linear journey has led to a proliferation of content that is not responsive to the buyer's needs. There is nothing customer-centric in sending automated emails every time a buyer sneezes and by not knowing their real needs are counterproductive to buyer engagement. It fails to take into account a clear buyer engagement strategy.

By using clear common sense principles of effective B2B demand generation like, profiling your best current clients and identifying the pain points that brought these customers to you in the first place. Now you can develop a new set of buyer profiles built on commonly shared pain points, not personalized personas about what food they like.

How does your company prepare and address B2B demand engagement in the new buyer on top reality? We will discuss some new foundation principles to achieve truly effective B2B demand engagement marketing in Part Two of this Blog so stay tuned.

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