There is turbulence in the B2B marketing zeitgeist. Why? The most quoted factoids of the modern marketing age have been discredited. Are buyers really not 57% of the way through their journey before they speak with a vendor sales rep? Are they really not sourcing 67% of their buying research online? Was it ever true? If not, how can we believe the new insight that sales rep involvement now starts at the beginning of the journey two-thirds of the time?
B2B marketers, keep calm and carry on. There’s been no fundamental disruption in your world.
It’s still true that today’s buyers control their journey through the buying cycle much more than today’s vendors control the selling cycle. In a recent survey, 74% of business buyers told Forrester they conduct more than half of their research online before making an offline purchase. This buyer dynamic changes the role of B2B marketing in a fundamental way. But that’s where the prevailing knowledge about ‘today’s buyer’ will fail you.
You gotta know YOUR buyer.
All of these arresting statistics about buyers represent buyer behavior on average. Averages are great because they show us directional change in the aggregate. But savvy marketing practitioners know that it’s irresponsible to build your customer engagement strategy on aggregate trends. The behavior and proclivities of your buyers might be very different from those averages. Forrester’s detailed research into buyer behavior (Forrester Business Technographics Global Priorities & Journey Survey, 2014) consistently proves that hypothesis. Consider these examples: