Here's the reality: B2B buying processes are steadily becoming more complex, involving more people and taking longer to complete.
Today, prospective customers do more of their own product and vendor research, but a self-service customer journey doesn’t fully encompass the nuances of today’s B2B buying process.
5 realities of today’s B2B buyer
- B2B decision-makers and influencers are often hard to identify and communicate with.
- They tend to be very busy – a big part of the reason they’re so hard to reach.
- B2B companies attempt to manage risk by having multiple people involved in the buying team, each with a specific role.
- Often, administrative staff act as gatekeepers, controlling access to decision-makers in B2B companies.
- The status quo is a powerful barrier to change. Unless a company has experienced a significant amount of pain from its existing vendor, it usually won’t make a move.
In this environment, a strong brand promise is more important than ever. It enables you to influence more members of the B2B buying team, even though you may not know who all of them are. Plus, it positions your brand in the minds of centers of influence, increasing the odds that they will mention your company to their peers.
Many buyers also ask people in their professional networks for vendor and product referrals. For them to recommend your company, you need to cultivate a strong, memorable brand. One key way to do that is via traditional print and online advertising.
Effective brand advertising can help your company to:
What’s a marketer to do?
To be successful in today’s business environment, you need to become an avid student of your target audience’s buying process. What does it look like today? What has changed? What do you need to do to persuade prospects to move from one step to the next?
According to the Strategic Planning Institute, “advertising allows companies to tap into the minds of decision-makers along the purchasing process path.” Their study and others demonstrate that the greater the investment, the more advertisers tend to increase awareness and preference for their brand.
As you develop marketing strategies and tactics for your company, don’t forget that brand advertising needs to be incorporated. This integrated approach will help to ensure that you are reaching each person who is part of today’s complex B2B buying process.