We’ve had a pretty mild winter here on the East Cost. Temperatures have been tolerable, and the snow accumulation hasn’t been too unusual.
Until, that is, this week, as New England shovels out from 2-3 feet of snow. Browsing the photos in hashtags like #snowmaggedon and #blizzardof2015 gives you some great visuals of the car-covering snow drifts and abandoned streets as residents hunker down.
Waking up to a snowy wonderland has been a pleasant reminder that it is in fact still winter. OK, maybe it was more of a stark wake up call – but sometimes that’s what it takes to remind us of the truth. There’s no arguing with the data: 25.0” of snow outside my door at the time of writing, 0% chance that my neighborhood Starbucks is open (oh the horror!)
There is a parallel here to the world of B2B marketing. Looking at the data can reveal some stark truths, especially when considering data about your buyers.
Wait, marketers are busy! There are a million things to do every day, and digging through data about your buyers isn’t always at the top of the list – digging out the driveway is #1 today. But if you haven’t looked at fresh data recently, you may be working under incorrect assumptions.
One great new data set I recommend browsing is B2B Path to Purchase Study, recently published by Google and Millward Brown Digital, who examined data from 3,000 B2B buyers over the past two years. Thank you to Cintell advisor Tony Zambito for alerting me to the results of this study, detailed nicely in his post.
The insights contained are a stark reminder that some of our preconceived notions about buyers may in fact be different from the truth. Some that stood out to me:
In 2014, 46% of B2B buyers were aged 18-34, up from 27% in 2012.
This means nearly half of B2B buyers are part of “Generation C” – the connected generation. Think millennials aren’t part of your B2B buying process? Think again. Nielsen describes this generation as one that consumes media, socializes, and shares experiences through devices more than any other age group. Is your B2B marketing prepared for them?
81% of non C-suite employees influence purchase decisions, and 72% of the purchase influencers are younger than 45 years of age.
These influencers make up an important target for marketers, especially those providing B2B technology solutions, who deal with an average of 7 influencers on every target account, according to IDC. As marketers, we need to address a B2B buying committee, increasingly comprised of younger demographics.
Read a great post by Cintell advisor Ardath Albee on using content to help them reach consensus. As she says,
“The whole point is to get your company’s ideas and expertise used to set the agenda for how to best solve the problem. And it is doable. It just takes a little finesse.”
42% of B2B buyers use mobile specifically to do research for business purchases.
The study also found a 3X growth in B2B mobile queries, and a 91% growth in people using a smartphone throughout the path to purchase. The age of mobile devices is the age of instant gratification. Satisfied consumers find what information they need, when they want it.
However, finding information for a B2B purchase decision is not always a transparent process. Tony writes about the need for B2B companies to remove the hurdles they make buyers go through when looking for information.
Part of B2B DNA over the last few decades has been to “reel” in the buyer slowly. Where it is presumed a stage-by-stage occurrence takes place each and every time. Where B2B buying behavior is heading is a demand for more openness and transparency – upfront. Here is some base level insight into this phenomenon:
“You know what I get sick and tired of? Either when I visit their web site or call, I feel like I have to go through an interrogation each time. To get the information I am looking for, I always have to fill out a form or answer a series of questions. Don’t they realize what a turn-off this is?” Senior Director, Integrated Services
If you’re home digging out from this storm, I recommend browsing more great stats contained in the full Google study. Check out the Slideshare from Google’s Hanne Tuomisto-Inch. Stay warm!