Socialight Media Marketing - 2 Seismic Shifts To The Customer Decision Journey

The Customer Decision Journey has changed forever for B2B marketers. Your customers are now in total control over their buying cycles, and they only reach out to sales people when (and if) they’re ready to talk price. Two key factors have led to the fracturing of the ‘funnel’ and the rise of the Buyer Journey and Loyalty Loop.

The first has to do with you, the B2B marketer, and changes in the way you market your products and services. With the adoption of platforms like blogs, LinkedIn, Slideshare, Quora, Twitter, and other social communities that offer a means for connecting, creating, and sharing, the barrier to creating content online is at an all time low. This has us, as marketers, approaching what we call content ubiquity. The fact that people are creating more content than ever before (see our post on Social Listening for some wild stats on how much social content is created each minute) has forced brands to rush into adopting content marketing over the past 5 years to stay relevant and engage potential customers without getting lost in the clutter. Simply put, adopt content marketing and have it power the rest of your digital channels, or be totally reliant on display advertising (a horrifying thought, according to many).

Brands have jumped into content marketing with both feet, but in their rush, many B2B organizations have forgotten to take a step back. They have not assigned specific goals to their content marketing, they have no documented content marketing strategy, and they have neither the tools, nor the processes in place to measure their content marketing efforts with a closed loop to sales in order to gauge ROI.

One B2B brand approaching content strategically is Trinity Logistics. The content across their website, blog, and social channels all clearly tie back to the various stages of the Customer Decision Journey. Industry research reports and magazines for the awareness stage; deep dive blog posts on the value of logistics software for the consideration stage; rich case studies for the evaluation stage; and strong calls-to-action to get a shipping quote at the decision stage. Trinity creates a cohesive buyer journey by providing the answers that their customers seek at each stage.

The second factor leading to the rise of the new Customer Decision Journey has to do with changing user behavior. Buyers are now more social and mobile savvy than ever before. They research products, read reviews, and consume branded content as they catch up on their Twitter mentions, while they connect with people on LinkedIn, and when they message friends on Facebook. And they do all of this across devices, from their smartphone, to their tablet, to their desktop (if they still own one), and, now, to their smartwatch.

Another leader in the logistics sector, Pitt Ohio, understands the social and mobile shifts to the Customer Decision Journey. In addition to actively producing content like whitepapers and how-to guides, and engaging with their audiences across social communities like LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube, they also have mobile apps for both Android and iOS that help customers manage shipments and get real-time tracking updates. Pitt Ohio is invested in creating not only an informed buyer journey, but also a great customer experience that leads to advocacy and loyalty.

How have you changed the way you approach the new Customer Decision Journey given these systemic shifts in marketing and user behavior?