July 14, 2023
Over the past few years, B2B marketing has been evolving at hyper speed. So much so that even well-known, sophisticated brands have had to adapt to changing customer expectations across the board. What’s driving this change? The demand for seamless user experiences in B2C markets. That’s right, B2C.
According to Salesforce, 71% of B2B executives say customers increasingly want B2C-like experiences compared to a few years ago. Customers in the B2B space are also customers in their personal lives, where convenience, personalization and seamless B2C interactions shape their expectations of brands regardless of the industry. This mindset has led to a demand for B2C-like experiences in B2B transactions, prompting businesses to adapt their strategies accordingly. Anyone not focused on elevating their brand, embracing new technologies and bringing their customer to the forefront of their marketing will lose out to competitors who are.
So, what can B2B marketers do? Well, we have a couple ideas.
The people now calling the shots about how, when and where to purchase products (and how to sell their own products) are not the same people we were talking to five years ago. More commonly, we’re dealing with a multi-generational audience made up of Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z (and soon-to-be others). This results in targets with vastly different value systems and communication styles that must be addressed, and would be a mistake to ignore. And, let’s not forget the post-pandemic ripple effect that has forever changed the way we do business and talk to our customers.
But despite these changes, there’s good news. B2B marketing has historically been more nuanced, so we’re already built to deal with multiple audience segments. It just might take a little time to make the appropriate adjustments in our messaging and channel approach.
Product and industry differences exist (and matter), but the human beliefs and behaviors that drive consumerism are not bound by B2B and B2C silos — so marketing shouldn’t be either.
At its core, marketing is understanding human behavior and using that knowledge to connect on an emotional (human) level, influence buying decisions and nurture a love for your brand. Maintaining this foundational focus can help brands overcome audience segmentation complexities and stay on track toward a boosted bottom line.
Strong brand fundamentals are key to winning and staying relevant. By investing in a solid brand foundation (e.g., brand positioning, audience segmentation, competitive differentiators, etc.), you can attract and retain customers, strengthen your position in the marketplace and drive sustainable growth. We’ll go into more details about this in our next article, The 8 Fundamentals of a Fortified Brand.
In the meantime, reach out to our team if you have any questions about incorporating B2C-like marketing experiences into your B2B business.