The changing B2B consumer
Updated: Sep 9
The new world of B2B buying is no longer a single platform experience. The importance of understanding the influence of multiple online and offline experiences and communicating through multiple platforms is key to the shift in consumer engagement. So how can you adapt your approach to this quickly changing landscape?
Brent Adamson (VP and Advisory at Gartner) shares his B2B Consumer behaviour insights into the shift seen in consumer engagement by recording the key behaviour indicators and buying reality in this day and age.
The key takeaways from this are:
15% of the time spent is on de-conflicting information, which indicates how adapting an online customer journey begins with providing clarity as to the product and its features.
77% of buyers report high purchase difficulty, suggesting information that helps the consumer to advance in their journey, and not just informing them, is a key element to the purchase decision.
The key to improving your customer engagement though is understanding the nature of the customer journey, which has become increasingly complex over time. The Gartner illustrative B2B buying journey shown emphasises the evolution from a linear purchasing experience to a multi-channel journey and the different ways the decision-making process is now influenced.
Aside from the importance of informative content in guiding the consumer along the purchase funnel, other key aspects of the journey that should be extracted from the diagram above are;
Peer discussions - Offline feedback from peers not only serves B2C consumers but is also vital in B2B purchases, supporting or discouraging the consumer from continuing their purchase. The product and brand experience have to be consistently positive.
Online virtual Demo - The “try before you buy” experience is the closest form of validation in showing how good your product really is, so it’s essential this is offered wherever possible online.
Web Search - The sheer repetition of this action within the diagram shows how essential it is to make it easy for people to return to your website. Search is one route to doing this, but there are others too such as retargeting for example and it’s important to use all channels possible to make this as easy to do as possible. Given the number of times the customer may return, it also shows the importance of recognising returning users in order to maximise the potential for purchase.
To conclude, the ability to adapt as consumer behaviour changes is vital for all businesses to keep pace with the transition to digital. There is a need to present consumers with informative and clear content across all marketing platforms to successfully guide them to their purchase. Make it easy for people to find the information they are looking for and remind them to act on it in order to deliver the best customer experience and maximise your conversions.
* Image Sources - April 30, 2019, Rethinking Digital Customer Engagement Gartner Marketing Symposium/Xpo™ session presentation by Brent Adamson, Distinguished VP, Advisory, Gartner for Marketers.