January 9, 2017 Scott Levine

Marketing to the Empowered Buyer Is Impacting Marketers

We’ve come from a world where our audience was addressable through a mass effort, rather than the precise pinpointed effort that we need today. The most challenging complexity that modern B-to-B marketers face is creating “individualism” within a mass-media framework. To speak to individuals, marketers require a model that directly addresses customer needs, wants and desires.

We have evolved from specific episodic programs that had a beginning, middle and end to continuous, seamless customer experiences developed to encompass the entire customer lifecycle. Moving from complex siloes of channel-specific marketing, we are challenged with simplifying messages to resonate with audiences through omni-channel branded experiences. No longer a one-way affair, with the advent and proliferation of social media, two-, three-, four- and more way communications are now the norm.

Our old processes were slow and methodical, with feedback coming back to us at a snail’s pace. Today we’re in the throes of real-time marketing, data collection, data analysis, marketing dashboards, and instant and automatic multivariate testing that allow us to optimize on the fly to continuously improve and streamline programs.

Recently, with the advent of technology-powered automated programmatic real-time buying, we have been able to break away from human-driven media buying, where limitations such as negotiations and time constraints have disappeared.

THE B-to-B MARKETER AND THE NEW GROUP DYNAMIC

In the face of all these changes, one incorrect perception for B-to-B marketers is that, when marketing products to business clients, they are marketing to a single decision maker. A recent study from the CEB and Motista confirms that, in almost every case of a complex enterprise sale, there are 5.4 decision makers on average involved in a group decision. TechTarget puts the number of people in a group decision team at seven. Everyone on your sales team knows that groups make buying decisions.

Chart

SiriusDecisions came to the same conclusion as we did. They unveiled a new B-to-B Buying Decision Process Framework at their May 2015 Sirius Summit in Nashville, Tennessee. SiriusDecisions outlined three types of buying scenarios: Groups buying by committee (six to 10 people in the buying group), groups buying by consensus (three to five people involved in the buying group) and independent buyers (one to two people in the buying group). They’ve determined that those buying independently are usually involved in deals for less than $50K. They detail the deal size for consensus buying at a range of $50K to $500K, and likewise call out the committee buying range at $500K to millions of dollars.

With all the complexities of marketing to the Modern Empowered Buyer, the impact on Modern Marketers is significant, causing marketers to rethink, relearn, retool and reconsider how and what their go-to-market strategy will be.

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