B-to-B Insights: Then and Now
GlobalSpec reports that buyers' top three sources of product information online are search engines, vendor websites and online catalogs. Shocking to me was in this supposed era of content marketing, whitepapers were only No. 11 on the list.
"Keep in mind that the above scenario is quite common in tech buying and large considered purchases," continues Damico. "However, there are still some B-to-B pockets in various industrial market segments that aren't quite as 'social,' and where the above scenario is not entirely accurate."
I asked Ruth Stevens, a B-to-B marketing consultant, to weigh in on the subject of B-to-B marketing in 2014 vs. B-to-B marketing in 1984. Stevens notes the big trend is communication along a long sales cycle with multiple touches, media and offers.
Says Stevens, "Buyers are now researching online, instead of calling salespeople to discuss their problems and suggest solutions. These days, buyers don't want to see a rep until maybe the last 20 percent of their buying process.
"Salespeople have lost control of the process, in effect. Marketing must step into the breach, by identifying buying signals early, and building a relationship with prospects way before they are ready to see a salesperson. So what really helps in this area is the newly named content marketing; which is, of course, not new, but more important than ever."
According to MarketingProfs, 72 percent of B-to-B buyers begin their searches with a Google search. And a study from American Business Media found that the five fast-growing areas of spending on marketing are search engine advertising, mobile advertising, e-newsletter advertising, whitepapers and face-to-face event attendance.
In the continuing debate over copy length, a recent survey by Pardot of 400 B-to-B buyers found that 70 percent preferred B-to-B content, such as whitepapers and case studies under five pages. To me, this methodology is flawed, because it is based on what people say they like, rather than what they actually do.
Bob Bly is a freelance copywriter who has written copy for more than 100 clients including IBM, AT&T, Praxair, Intuit, Forbes, and Ingersoll-Rand. McGraw-Hill calls Bob “America’s top copywriter” and he is the author of 90 books, including “The Copywriter's Handbook.” Find him online at www.bly.com or call (973) 263-0562.