The Internet ushered in a revolution in buying behaviour in the B2C market. The decline of the high Street and growth of e-commerce has forced retailers to reassess the way they offer their products and services to customers, as well as how they approach their marketing strategies. A similar change was slower to take hold among B2B businesses, with many companies preferring the older ways of networking, advertising and relationship building.
However, over the past five years it has become clear that business buying behaviour is also undergoing a step change as a result of the Internet. In what ways has this affected B2B purchase decisions and marketing approaches?
1) Mobile Technology
A boom in smartphone and tablet use within businesses, coupled with an increase in remote working practices, has led to increased mobile searches. High-speed Internet and convenient, reliable devices make it costs less for business decision-makers to conduct research over the Internet and make effective decisions. A manager may be less likely to spend an hour sifting through a brochure than they used to be, but they may spend more time on your website, company Facebook page and blog to find the same information. Discover more information about the power of mobile technology with these articles:
2) Changes In Supply Chain
A growing number of B2B purchases are made through online aggregator websites, rather than traditional ‘middlemen’. B2B service providers have to adapt their content and marketing strategy to appeal to buyers who are used to using moneysupermarket.co.uk and skyscanner.com, rather than traditional brokers or travel agencies for example.
3) Changing Demographic
To put it bluntly, business decision-makers are getting younger. In 2012, 27% of purchase decision makers were aged under 34. In 2014 this had increased to 46% – a 70% increase in two years. Partially this is due to the rapid rise of graduates to senior positions in some companies and a growth in entrepreneurship. But there has also been an increased delegation of buying responsibilities to less senior managers, away from the Board of Directors.
This means that B2B providers are targeting different people; people who are more tech savvy, and more used to Internet research – but also people who may need to get ultimate sign off from senior managers before making a purchase. Content and messaging strategy need to reflect this, with the appropriate level of detail for each buyer type.
Using Digital Purchasing Patterns To Your Advantage
Changes in B2B purchasing behaviour are by no means a bad thing. For businesses that adapt their marketing strategies to the changing digital environment, great growth opportunities await. Get in touch with one of our growth specialists today to find out more about what you could be doing differently to secure a better market share in the digital age.