Business-to-business marketing (or B2B marketing, as it is often called) involves the sale of one company’s product or service to another company.
Whilst it comes as no surprise that the B2B marketing ecosphere is changing, there have been some noteworthy shifts in how B2B purchasing decisions are happening, but also who is responsible for influencing them.
Google has paid particular attention to the changing landscape of B2B since 2012 and recently carried out a survey of around 3,000 B2B researchers about their research and buying habits – along with their use of digital (specifically mobile, search and video content).
The findings demystified a number of widely held misconceptions and made a strong case for re-thinking current B2B marketing strategies. Whilst it mimics certain trends in digital marketing at a macro level, there are some unique observations or “aahhh” moments.
Here’s the top 5 myths revealed in the findings which every B2B marketer should know:
MYTH 1: Millennials aren’t making B2B business decisions
REALITY: Nearly 75% of all B2B decision makers are millennials
There’s been a dramatic shift since 2012 in the B2B buyer and researcher demographic.
Back in 2012, there was a pretty even mix across age groups. In 2014, however, millennial researchers accounted for around 50%. This trend has continued with millennials accounting for about 75% of researchers in 2016.
MYTH 2: B2B marketing should target the highest-level executives
REALITY: B2B researchers, rather than top-level executives, have most influence over purchase decisions.
B2B marketing strategies focussing on senior-level executives won’t nearly be as effective today as they were four years ago due to the dramatic change in influence over the final decision making.
In comparison, a recent study from Sacunas, B2B research specialists, revealed that in 2016, over 73% of millennials were involved in some form of B2B decision-making, with 33% being sole decision makers in their business .
MYTH 3: Branded searches should be the focus of your search strategy
REALITY: 71% of B2B researchers start their research with a generic search
The Google survey also revealed that B2B researchers did 12 searches prior to engaging on a specific brand and that they were already 57% along the path to a decision before even performing an action on your site.
Therefore, a significant opportunity exits for B2B marketers ( and in particular smaller businesses) to capture the attention of researchers before they engage branded results.
MYTH 4: Not many B2B researchers use mobile
REALITY: Mobile dominates search with nearly 60% usage in 2016.
The trend towards mobile based searches is shifting so rapidly in fact that Google started rolling out its mobile-first index late last year. This means Google will create and rank its search listings based on the mobile version of content, even for listings that are shown to desktop users. They plan to eventually switch exclusively to mobile indexation, even for desktop searches.
MYTH 5: Video is watched solely to gain awareness
REALITY: B2B researchers watch video during the entire path to purchase
Over 70% of B2B researchers and decision makers are watching videos throughout their purchasing process. That’s an astounding 52% jump in only two years.
Videos can either be seen as an extension to the conversation or an alternative means of consuming content instead of reading. A 2 minute video can often contain more valuable information than a 10 minute read – which is why Micro-Moments are exciting marketers more than ever.
Who are millennials?
The millennial generation are true digital natives and unlike any other that came before it.
The oldest members of the group were born around 1980, and that means they’ve never known a world without the modern-day internet.
When millennials joined the work-force, half of all Australian’s were using email regularly, BlackBerrys had been the coolest handheld device on the market for several years and online search engines were already a part of daily life, not forgetting that Yahoo was “crushing it”.