FoM18: 5 things you need to know
This is the first post in a three-part series looking at B2B marketing trends that are driving change between now and 2022. You can check out parts two and three here. If you’d like to comment, please contact me at Jeremy.email@example.com
More has changed in marketing functions in the past five years than in the previous 50. And I don’t see this slowing down between now and 2022.
Today, we have Facebook live videos. Buyers are getting news from Alexa, and customized Facebook news-feeds. Similarly, advertising is tailored based on our behaviors. And our buyers are increasingly happy to engage via bots in chat apps. The walls have come down.
Today’s companies are dealing with everyone, all the time.
They’re meeting with heads of state, government officials, and advocates in digital channels. And critically, B2B technology buyers are forming deeper relationships with companies, but on their own terms.
So what does the next five years hold? Let’s consider…
- This is the year Gartner’s bold budget prediction comes true with CMOs forecast to spend more IT dollars than CIOs
- Your customers will have more influence on your brand perception than your marketing team
- The Marketing and Communications departments – as we knew them – will need to evolve or die
- The people you hire today won’t be your hires in five years’ time
It will be a bumpy ride. But our destination will hold marketing even more accountable for success – and will be built on the true cause and effect we’ve always known our profession was capable of generating.
What follows are four key trends that are driving the greatest changes. And, most critically, what you can do about it. I’ll be posting them over the next few days, and welcome your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org
Trend 1: The Rise of the Millennial Tech Buyer
Millennials have officially become the largest generational group in America’s workforce. They’re having a profound impact on their organizations, and, critically, on the B2B vendors who want to do business with them. With more and more millennials moving into decision-making roles, B2B tech marketers need to adapt. We need to be prepared to market and sell to them on their own terms.
They are the most media-savvy – and media-agnostic – generation in history. This generation is processing thousands of marketing messages every day. And they’re resilient to the continual noise in the system. They don’t want to be ‘marketed’ to. In fact, they are going out of their way to avoid us. We need to understand the content that informs their decisions.
With up to 90% of a buying decision made based on information buyers find online (including news media), well before a salesperson has a chance to get involved, we need to build brand or personal relationships on the millennial buyer’s terms. So, at the top of the sales funnel, B2B brands must take an app-centric view of the world.
This means UI, UX, design in particular will be a critical part of the B2B purchase. Human-centric design will rule and be important in early decision-making. Ultimately, our new buyers will demand technologies that meet their expectations, and those of their engineers and customers.
As they travel through further through the sales funnel, though, millennial B2B buyers transition from needing media coverage, web experiences, analyst reports and customer testimonials to wanting interpersonal interactions with vendors. At the final phase, face-to-face meetings with vendors, and live demos are most critical.
Clearly, millennials want to know your brand on their terms and preferred content types, and then quickly transition to your experts for deeper discussions.
Keep an eye out for the next trends, Re-establish content priorities and Real Time is the Only Time…