B2B buyers have spoken, by way of a recent survey conducted by WHM and Propeller Insights, and they are bored to death with your marketing speak. Sound harsh? It’s not intended to be. Here’s the deal, B2B buyers are surrounded every day with creative, innovative, interesting content by way of time spent on Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Snap, and even Facebook and LinkedIn. They see innovation and fun from creative B2C brands all the time, and by comparison, marketers’ old school tactics when it comes to marketing is snooze-worthy.
B2B buyers aren’t dummies. They know what an ad is, and when your “blog post” is nothing more than marketing speak disguised as a blog post, they’re off for something more interesting before they’ve reached the second paragraph. Squirrel!
Nobody wants to be sold. They want to learn, explore, think, and find answers to problems they are interested in solving. Marketers need to get that, and get with the program. B2B buyers want their customer buying experience to be more like their B2C experiences, and marketers need to step up.
The study reported that more than half (48 percent) of B2B purchase decision makers surveyed reporting they find B2B advertising boring.
Not surprisingly, 49 percent reported feeling that most B2B websites are dull compared to B2C sites they see/visit/experience. Based on the many B2B websites I’ve seen, this is a massive understatement. Far too many B2B brands are living in the grand old days of brochureware websites and a focus that’s all about them and how great they are, instead of containing any messaging that illustrates their expertise as it relates to understanding their customers and prospects and their respective needs, pain points, and interests.
Overwhelmingly, survey respondents issued a wake-up call to B2B brands and marketers: Get your acts together. Some 82 percent of participants said they wished B2B advertising had even a modicum of the creativity they see with B2C advertising.
That’s probably why only 22 percent of the survey respondents reported feeling any desire at all to respond or take any action in the next step of the buyer’s journey, whether it’s opting for more information, opting in as the result of a CTA, or actually buying something.
Bottom line, none of this information should be surprising. The B2B customers experience, customer journey, and buying experience is moving more and more closely to that of the B2C experience. We buy how we buy, whether we’re researching and buying something personal or whether we’re buying business-related products or services. This isn’t necessarily generational, as there are plenty extremely savvy Boomer and Gen X leaders (and buyers) joining the digitally savvy Millennials and Gen Z when it comes to embracing the web for what it is we want to know, see, buy, do. B2B brands need to pull their heads out of the sands and serve up experiences that more closely resemble what we see in the B2C space, but also embrace ecommerce at every turn.
Survey respondents overwhelmingly (81 percent) said that they believed they’d make better decisions if they were more effectively engaged by B2B advertising.
Want to sell more stuff to your B2B customers and prospects? Do a better job with your marketing (and sales) efforts. Quit talking product speak and boring them with the details they’re not yet ready for, and focus more on developing a brand personality, getting up close and personal with them, and getting creative with your marketing and advertising campaigns. B2B buyers have one thing in common with their B2C counterparts—they are human. Shocker, I know! Treat them like humans, talk with them, resist the urge to constantly be selling, and integrate fun, innovation, imagination, humor, and creativity into your campaigns. You might be amazed at how well it works.
Of course, the WHM/Propeller survey is actually a marketing tactic, but it’s a clever one, and it’s actually a great example of just how to pull this off if you’re a B2B marketer. It’s a “research study” designed and developed to get the attention of the audience the company would like to attract as clients. It serves up information that’s of interest, in a catchy headline, and shows, without flat out saying it “we can help.” It’s not hard to do, you’ve just got to shift your thinking, and get your team on board. Want help with that? I’m pretty good at it, too.
By the way, this isn’t new news. I wrote about this back in 2014, in this article, Savvy End User Buyers Changing the Game for B2B Buyers. The problem is that B2B brands are slow to adapt to a changing customer base, changing buyer preferences, and even slower when it comes to full on pivots when it comes to marketing and sales strategies. Take a look around at the many businesses that don’t make it in today’s uber-competitive world, where there’s a threat of the Amazonization of just about everything just around the corner. Time is of the essence, so get going.
The original version of this article was first published on V3Broadsuite.