Did you know that B2B marketing is at least a century old? In the last 100 years, B2B customer behaviors have significantly evolved. B2B marketing strategies have also changed over the years to address these changes.
Before the advent of the internet, B2B customers relied on the skill and expertise of the salesmen to make purchase decisions. Until the late nineties, B2B marketing was all about cold calls and sales pitches. However, in the last two decades, B2B customers have become more technology-centric.
To plan and execute an effective B2B marketing plan, it’s important to understand how B2B customers have changed over the last two decades. In this article, we will explore the major B2B customer behaviors to look out for in 2020.
What are the factors that affect their vendor selection and purchase decisions? Let’s dive deep. It’s essential to understand how B2B buyers have changed over the years to have a successful B2B marketing strategy.
Top 3 trends in the B2B buyer’s sphere in 2020
Trend # 1: Most B2B buyers are in the age group 20-35
Harvard Business Review reports that 73% percent of the B2B decision-makers come under the age group of 20-35. With the rise of start-ups and early career growth, the statistics seem credible. It means 73% of the B2B decision-makers are digital natives – people who are born and brought up during the age of digital technology. This affects the B2B purchase decisions.
The new B2B decision-makers include digital natives and millennials, and they don’t rely on eloquent salespeople or cold calls. They have new ways to verify a seller and make purchase decisions. B2B buyers perform a lot of online research about their sellers. They follow the digital footprint of the seller. They pay attention to what information the seller shares online, their digital marketing content, online reviews, and participation in support forums.
Trend #2: The B2B buyers are fed up with marketing clutter
A recent press release from Facebook shows 90 million small businesses use Facebook for their business promotion. Facebook displays billions of ads every day. In addition to the paid advertisements, there are Facebook pages. The small and medium business has at least 80 million pages on Facebook. We can see similar data about all other social media.
So, how does it affect B2B buyers?
- The clutter in digital marketing has made the B2B buyers very conscious.
- Broad-spectrum marketing on social media no longer influences B2B buyers.
- Most of the B2B buyers don’t make purchase decisions just by seeing a digital marketing campaign.
Trend # 3: The B2B buyers spend more time online
The first quarter of 2020 has seen phenomenal changes in business operations. With the COVID-19 pandemic changing business dynamics, B2B buyers are spending more time online. With the advent of work from home, many are embracing the digital way of working. This has many effects on the buying process.
- The buying process originates from Google search
The entry point of most of the B2B purchases is the Google search. Hence, one of the crucial B2B marketing trends of 2020 is around google search ranking and Pay Per Click advertisements. We will come back to this later.
- The possible economic slowdown is going to trigger cautions spending
With the COVID-19 pandemic hitting the world hard, most of the economists foresee an imminent economic slowdown. As the economic growth dampen, the purchase decisions will become more cautious. The spending practice is going to change. The purchases will be scrutinized more stringently, and that is going to pose a lot of challenges to B2B marketing in 2020.
Marketing Insider Group
When designing a B2B marketing plan in 2020, it’s crucial to keep these customer behaviors in mind. It’s not sufficient to have great marketing content or budget. It’s important to concentrate on areas where it makes a difference for the B2B customers. Here are a few tips to stay on top of the B2B market based on customer behaviors.
Tips for better B2B marketing in 2020
- In addition to great digital marketing, concentrate on online reviews and participation in online forums.
- Make a reputable digital footprint.
- Avoid clutter in marketing.
- Use more personalized and targeted advertisements.
- Streamline your purchase process and market it.
“No one is buying, but everyone is learning,” Michael Brenner, CEO