Every marketer knows that understanding their target audience aligned with business objectives is key to marketing success. But who is your core target audience, what channels should you use to connect with them, what time of day etc. etc? And, most importantly what will work best to prove marketing effectiveness and a positive ROI, especially with limited budgets?

Let’s start with the basics. Who is your B2B audience? Where can you find them? What are they doing to source suppliers?

Fact number 1: No surprise here, they’re online. 89 % of B2B purchasers start their research journey on the web.

We’ve all seen various versions of the changing purchase decision funnel over the years. We know the B2B audience consumes multiple media and that 54% to 71% of the decision is made before contacting a supplier. There is no doubt that online research is a necessary part or the purchase journey.

Source: Global / Webindex B2B Research 2015

Source: Global / Webindex B2B Research 2015

Fact number 2: Business owners don’t make sole decisions on IT purchasing

2016 Google research states up to 5 people can be involved in making B2B business decisions from Office Manager level up to C-suite (i.e executives , business owners and senior directors). There are even more influencers for larger organisations.

Source: Google / Milward Brown Digital, Path to Purchase Study 2014

Source: Google / Milward Brown Digital, Path to Purchase Study 2014

Fact number 3: The B2B purchaser and influencer is younger than before

Over the past few years, there’s been a dramatic shift in the B2B researcher demographic. 18- to 34-year-olds now account for almost half of all B2B researchers, an increase of 70% and growing. This generation, known as millennials have never known a world without the modern-day internet.

Source: Google / Millward Brown Digital, B2B Path to Purchase Study, 2014

Source: Google / Millward Brown Digital, B2B Path to Purchase Study, 2014

Fact number 4: Mobile is core to B2B research and purchase

Don’t have a mobile optimized website? Then you’re missing out. Use of mobile devices in B2B research and purchase is seeing significant growth over last few years, especially in 2015/2016 across all demographics, not just millennials. If your website isn’t mobile friendly you will loose potential customers in the early stages of research.

Source: Google / Millward Brown Digital, B2B Path to Purchase Study, 2014

Source: Google / Millward Brown Digital, B2B Path to Purchase Study, 2014

Fact number 5: B2B researchers use online video content to select suppliers and products

The B2B audience are not just engaging with video content on brand and supplier websites but are also prolific users of Youtube to research B2B offerings. From high level brand videos and business case studies to product reviews and customer comments.

Source: Google / Millward Brown Digital, B2B Path to Purchase Study, 2014

Source: Google / Millward Brown Digital, B2B Path to Purchase Study, 2014

Fact number 6: The B2B audience is engaging in social media

Whether Millenials or broader demographic (LinkedIn & Twitter are better target for senior decision makers but Facebook has a very positive effect on influential B2B purchasers) social media is here to stay and a constantly growing opportunity to engage with your audience. Social Media marketing has seen the biggest growth in B2B marketing over the last year compared to other channels.

Source: 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends - North America - CMI / Marketing Profs / Brightcove

Source: 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends – North America – CMI / Marketing Profs / Brightcove

So what do we know about B2B purchasers?

  • 89% of B2B research starts with Search
  • B2B researchers / purchase influencers are not just owners/ directors
  • Nearly half of all B2B researchers are Millennials
  • Mobile usage is intensifying; B2B researchers are using it throughout their entire path
  • B2B researchers watch video during the entire path to purchase
  • B2B decision makers are using social media to research suppliers

Are you giving your potential customers the online/mobile/ social journey they need? Start with these basics first and then we can help you with improving effectiveness and ROI.

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