Apr 26, 2011

Five B2B Insights

INSIGHT 1 / Best Practices are dead. The rate of change in the digital space is staggering, and consumers, not marketers, lead it. What worked yesterday is often less effective tomorrow. At the same time the future is too much in flux to predict accurately.

What is needed is a consistent evolution grounded in customer understanding and well-defined success metrics built into your marketing budget. Plan to react as you plan to act. Test and learn in real time. Don’t look backward for what you should do next—look around—look forward, then leap.

INSIGHT 2 / The CEO is not visiting your website. While we aspire to reach the top decision makers, we need a realistic perspective on the demand of their time and attention. The decision maker is not always the person who drives the process Therefore, it is crucial to understand how information gets into and through organizations.

INSIGHT 3 / The person driving the purchase decision is still a person. Despite the significantly longer and more rigorous purchase cycle, emotions matter. People are conditioned by their B2C experience—a saturation of messages, entertainment and media that they are very adapt at filtering or ignoring unless you give them a reason to care.

INSIGHT 4 / The linear purchase funnel is a myth. In the increasingly fluid marketplace, B2B clients cycle in and out of decisions; they are constantly reevaluating, updating, sampling; they build their own solution on open source kernels; they push business processes onto suppliers, in-source, spin out, rely on vendors, rent without buying. Marketers need to provide multiple on-and-off ramps to connect to their clients whenever they are ready to do business.

INSIGHT 5 / You are not part of the conversation your customers are having about your product/service. B2B decisions are increasingly reliant on peer validation—simply because people trust their peers more than vendors to provide real transparency into products and services. Peer networks need to be fully embraced