How can B2B marketing efforts drive real, measurable growth to businesses? At our recent Big Picture Event in London, we listened to industry experts talk about how the B2B landscape is changing, how marketers can adapt and best show their value.
An array of speakers, including Josh McBain from Foresight Factory, Stuart Castle from Sitecore UK, Nick Andrew from Linklaters LLP, Rachel Lockwood from SAS and our own, James Smee and Giles Peddy from LEWIS, joined us for a lively discussion. All our speakers brought a different perspective to the topics covered, but here are three key takeaways:
The B2B decision makers are changing, and so are their journeys
When we think about the B2B audience, it is commonly assumed that we should be targeting the ‘over 35s’, but whilst people in this age group may be the ultimate decision makers, they are unlikely to be the only decision makers. Research now shows 51.2% of B2B decision makers fall into the 18-35 age bracket. Often, Millennials are the shortlisters. The ones who do the legwork. The initial researchers. This coincides with findings from the same study, which shows that the decisions in B2B include an average of 5.4 people in total. We are no longer talking to a singular demographic. So, our marketing efforts must appeal to different personalities and mind sets.
This increase in the number of decision makers helps to explain why 75% of the B2B purchase journey is self-directed. Rachel Lockwood, Marketing Director at SAS, explained that “Purchasers are researching on their own before reaching out to a brand.” The majority of this research will be carried out on a mobile device, and with the lines between home and work becoming more blurred, your audience could be looking at your site from anywhere at any time.
Websites are the deal-makers
To marketing professionals this may be common knowledge, but during our panel discussion we heard from Nick Andrew, Head of Digital Marketing at Linklaters LLP, that in some B2B industries, top decision makers are simply not aware of how crucial their sites are to their business. Nick discussed his own challenges convincing top decision makers of their importance. Using a variety of tools, LEWIS Purestone worked alongside Nick to analyse user journeys across the website: where users were entering the site, the pages they visited, where they dropped off, how long they dwelled on key content, and even specific companies and their individual journeys. The research evidenced the sticking points for users of the site, and ultimately their overall engagement with the brand. By showing the decision makers these challenges, he was able to gain buy in to rectify the issue. The research then went on to inform further work with LEWIS Purestone including persona development and the overall User Experience Strategy of the new solution. Nick now works with eight digital professionals at Linklaters, which, for a law firm, is almost unheard of.
An integrated approach appeals to the C-Suite’s holistic way of thinking
We heard from Giles Peddy, SVP EMEA Operations and UK MD at LEWIS, that each department is regularly only concerned with proving its own worth in a campaign, and this way of thinking needs to be resolved. The more individual your data becomes, the less likely you are to build a whole story from it. If you cannot track your customer’s journey, you may struggle to understand the impact your campaign had – and that is the crucial information the C-Suite cares about.
So how do we make this shift? By focusing on the same objectives, placing less emphasis on vanity metrics, and answering the simple question: “What business impact will your marketing communications programme have on my organisation?”
Want to know more?
If you’d like to see the speakers’ presentations from our Big Picture event, check out our LEWIS Slide share page.