How buyers make choices today, in large part driven by empowering new technologies, will transform how B2B businesses will view buyers as well as redefine what is meant by business marketing. The rigid funnel will no longer serve as a workable means of communicating unique views of buyers and their buying behaviors. This not to say that buyer processes, stages, and steps are no longer relevant but to highlight that buyers today no longer make choices neatly in the paradigm of the funnel. A rigid funnel view, whether it is drawn up horizontal or vertical, cannot provide the orbital view of choices being made continuously.
There are four ways that new buyer choice dynamics will transform the practice of business marketing and alter the view of what practices are relevant:
Predictive Buyer Modeling And Intelligence
As we covered, many B2B businesses are wrestling with the unknown and the invisible. B2B buyers are remaining invisible in their behaviors associated with exploring as well as establishing new networks of participants in decision-making. There will be a rise in the use of buyer modeling techniques as well as integrating the use of buyer intelligence, predictive analytics, and the illuminating aspects of predictive buyer modeling. The changes underway in buyer behavior will cause B2B business marketing to extend well beyond conventional buyer profiling as well as simplistic buyer persona creating for demand generation.
Reorient From Business Marketing Teams to Buyer Driven Marketing Teams
Traditional business marketing has been historically put together teams that are seller driven and narrowly funnel focused. The single buyer model view narrowly shared across all channels. Leaders in B2B marketing and sales will soon have to migrate towards buyer segment teams that are focused on activities that are focused on the buyer’s entire brand and buyer experience. We are beginning to see leading organizations, such as GE, move towards aligning their organizations to industry buyer segment teams focused on deeper understanding and alignment with buyers.
Create Orbital Match With Buyers
B2B is becoming more complex with every passing month. When informed with deep buyer intelligence, business marketing can begin to align to the continuous orbital loop of what confronts buyers and how they make choices. The new role of business marketing is to pull buyers into an orbital loop that mirrors their own and enables choices that are buyer driven. The new business marketing strategy is to create the gravitational pull that buyers feel and are drawn to because it aligns with their own orbital loops. Conversely, how can your organization get close to the buyer’s own gravitational pull and be drawn into their orbital loop? This is a departure from the seller driven and narrow funnel view of push messaging. Another way of positioning this concept in simple terms is this: either your B2B business becomes part of the orbital loop or you can watch it from afar with a telescope – and be out of the loop.
Total Brand and Buyer Experience
Business marketing today can take a strong leadership role in organizations by transforming itself to an orientation around the buyer. Historically, in the seller driven and narrow funnel view world, business marketing has been positioned as the conveyers of getting information in front of buyers. Producing material that buyers could read, provide messaging to sales, and putting together promotional programs with the aim to get sellers to sell harder. My intuitive guess is that in the world of business marketing, this positioning still exists in a large majority of B2B organizations – perhaps trapped within the label of marketing communications. To influence corporate strategy and decision-making, business marketing must now become the conveyors of buyer intelligence and influencing organizations to orient around the buyer. Conveying that what counts is the total brand and buyer experience and that business marketing’s role is to help create these experiences for buyers.
Business marketing today, by making these four ways the cornerstone of transformation, can enhance their leadership role in organizations. Orienting businesses around the understanding of buyer choices being made in a new complex buyer driven world. This is no easy challenge yet one that business marketing must take up. It must demonstrate that it understands buyers deeply and that a designed focus on the total brand and buyer experience is the new business marketing strategy. It is time for business marketing to come out of the literature closet and lead.
(Coming soon: this 5 part series has been compiled into an eBook entitled, A Matter of Choice: How B2B Buyers Choose Today’s Complex Markets, to make for easy reading and sharing. Click on the hyperlinked title to receive.)