B2B customers get a bad rap. They are thought to have distinctly inhuman behaviours that the typical fun-loving marketer doesn’t quite comprehend. And most agency types will push the B2B briefs to the back burner, choosing to focus their efforts on the seemingly more exciting consumer briefs.
But why this trepidation when it comes to marketing to B2B customers? There are a number of misconceptions about B2B customers; they’re behind the times, they’re safe, they don’t like creative creative.
These misconceptions are having a detrimental impact on the effectiveness of B2B marketing campaigns, particularly as communication platforms and customer behaviour evolves. And nowhere is this more evident than in mobile marketing activity.
So what are these misconceptions about the elusive B2B customers and their mobile behaviour that are holding marketers and advertisers back?
Myth 1: B2B customers are laggards – we’ve got plenty of time to optimise our communications activity for mobile.
Reality: Your email and web metrics have been inexplicably on the decline, despite what should be an obvious negative correlation between your customers’ mobile usage and campaign performance. The majority of the B2B audience is relying solely on their mobiles to view emails while they’re on the go; they’re adopting mobile search at a rate much faster than the uptake seen for desktop searches; and they’re visiting your website from their mobile devices at a surprisingly rapid growth rate. If you haven’t already started improving your customers’ journey from mobile devices, then now is the time to get started.
Myth 2: B2B customers don't consume content like consumers – after all, they are making serious decisions about serious matters and therefore our content needs to be weighty and serious.
Reality: Your customers do leave their office. But, like you, they don’t always leave their work behind. So they are continuing to think, plan and be inspired about work – even when they’re not at their desks. Time pressed, they’re often consuming business-related content while they’re away from the office, and this content is increasingly being consumed from mobile devices. And you know how you don’t sit down after dinner to read a lengthy PDF from your tablet while you’re watching The Voice? Neither do B2B customers. So consider rich, engaging content formats that may distract your audience from Ricky Martin.
Myth 3: B2B customers progress from research to buying in a completely linear fashion.
Reality: Er, no. And once you add mobile into the mix, the journey becomes even more convoluted. It also becomes much more difficult to control. Retargeting becomes next to impossible. An email scanned from a mobile handset rarely gets followed up when the customer is back at his or her desk. However, if managed correctly, the customer journey aided by mobile is arguably faster. Mobile behaviour is generally more action-oriented. If there are tactics in place to effectively manage customer progression from mobile devices we can capitalise on a customer’s specific need. For example, mobile-friendly emails with clear CTAs, click-to-call SEM, and mobile-optimised websites improve the customer’s experience and allow them to take an action immediately.
If you haven’t put a plan in place for optimising your marketing for mobile devices, you need to stop making assumptions about your audience and start looking at your communications’ performance. More than likely, you’re seeing a sharp decline in metrics. In order to capitalise on the evolving customer behaviour, it is critical to act now.