It is well known in business circles that B2B is getting consumerized.
In other words, the characteristics that defined what a B2C is, more specifically the customer-centricity that a business can penetrate through some form of marketing or community building for instance, is now fully applicable to B2Bs as well.
But, the consumerization of B2B is far complex and unlikely to continue.
The Customer Journey
Let’s start with an interesting insight into our own business.
Our website, on average, gets around 3-5,000 clicks from 800-1,200 unique users per month. On face value, this is a really healthy number for a digital marketing company that focuses solely on the UK, as a B2B business.
But, the traffic to the website is just one part of the customer journey. And, given our high rankings across Leicester, Birmingham, and London, it is quite a positive part of the journey. Our own Google rankings put a sense of trust, as SEO is our headline service.
But, what actually closes the deals is social media interactions and real life networking on the back of our website and rankings.
In essence, the customer journey and the associated consumerization of B2B, closing the deal part of things, is more complex than a B2C.
The Complexity of B2B Consumerization
What is the general path of buying something online?
In most cases, people have a certain preference. Let’s take Amazon for instance.
If you know that a certain product is available on Amazon, you go straight to the site, write what you need in the search, and pick what matches your specifications.
In most cases, the customers know their price range. If the product is supposed to be a gift, the customer may consider the packaging, for instance. In addition, the delivery options can be a choosing factor. But, that’s about it.
So, on the B2C side, once the foundation is built and certain standards are met, the sales keep flowing, unless something changes drastically.
The things are far more complex on the B2B side.
Add the rapport building, get the traffic flowing. And, this is still not enough.
People want more than a digital connection. In short, our target customers want to know us further before making a decision. This knowing can be further digital, social connection or real life interaction.
But, this might change quickly.
Future of B2B Marketing
I believe, in the case of B2B, we are just one generation away from digital consumerism.
In other words, the next generation may be buying products and services for their businesses directly online.
I say this because of the age factor.
Most of the established businesses are run today by people that were born in an era without the internet. As a result, most of the sales for them are still physical.
But, this should start to change with the next generation.
At the very least, we are going through the most complex era of B2B consumerization. Things will get easier.
But, if you want to survive today, find your way to get on top of things now. In short, you need to be doing more than just the digital side of things. But, ride the wave to the future and you will go far.