Technology marketers are in a difficult position. The shifting sands of the digital landscape mean that long-established tactics are no longer effective. For instance, sales have traditionally been built on strong and personal relationships, developed over time. Loyalty was a given, as long as the product or service delivered the goods.
Today, technology is no longer bought and sold in the same way. For a start, big data products have changed; cloud-based services such as software-as-a-service are the new normal. B2B decision makers don’t rely on their suppliers for information like they used to.
They use a range of sources ranging from user communities and case studies to white papers and press reports. They no longer display the same levels of brand loyalty, and that when a technology refresh is required, the incumbent may not automatically be chosen.
This has undermined traditional sales models and the long-established channel eco-system. The global management consultancy McKinsey hit the nail on the head in a report on changing B2B sales trends when it said that the role of the traditional ‘road warrior’ sales person is effectively dead and that customers today are much more comfortable getting the information they need from the web and other sources.
Customers haven’t changed their criteria for making purchases; they are just more adept at making decisions based on information from different sources. You could also argue that previously hard-won trust has been eroded with customers now much more likely to turn to their peers rather than existing suppliers.
However, these shifts do present opportunities for B2B technology marketing departments. For instance, the US-based Content Marketing Institute reports that 8 out of 10 people identify themselves as blog readers and it also said 80% of business decision-makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles as opposed to getting information from an advertisement.
ContentPlus said that blogs give websites 434% more indexed pages and 97% more indexed links while Search Engine Land said that up to 80% of people ignore Google-sponsored ads.
Taken together these findings reveal a simple fact; story-telling through blogs, case studies and other online channels can provide today's B2B technology marketers with a powerful targeted way to get their message in front of the business decision makers who are interested in their products.
Topics: b2b inbound marketing