UK entertainment chain HMV is the latest big name UK retail casualty to the Internet. HMV failed because it took its eye off the ball when faced with the twin threat of Apple’s iTunes (creating a mass download market) and Amazon (delivering cheaper physical products). Customers migrated online and researched their options. HMV failed to adapt and was left behind.
Buyers seek reassurance
Many B2B companies run the risk of suffering a similar fate because buyers are using the Internet to inform, rationalise and justify their decisions as they seek reassurance that they have made good decisions on behalf of their companies and stakeholders.
In order to make well balanced business decisions, business buyers look for information. They need to be able to benchmark different solutions in order to categorise, rate and select the ones that best suit their needs. Across different stages of the buying and decision making process, companies are researching, shortlisting and awarding business based on their needs and the information they come into contact with.
As a business trying to be front of mind when it matters, you need to market accordingly. Traditional promotional techniques are not working as well as they used to. Advertising is seen as interruptive and counter productive. The needs of niche customer segments means that mass market propositions do not engage or entice them.
For you, the modern B2B marketer, this creates a number of problems not least in selecting the right channels of promotion. Marketing needs to be measurable and needs to work right across a variety of audiences and their differing needs.
How and where you provide the information that customers need when they need it is diverging. But thinking through what your customers are looking for and where they go looking for it can have a significant impact on your marketing communications activity.
Increasingly, in a wide variety of B2B sectors, this is happening online. So being visible, promoting that visibility and talking in terms that are helpful, relevant and engaging mark out the genuinely more customer focused businesses from those looking to make a fast return.
Focus on getting your primary online environment – website, Facebook page or other hub – populated and optimised correctly before promoting and advertising it to your target audience.
For guidance, I encourage you to look inside Brilliant B2B Digital Marketing today and check out the free first chapter.
Image credit: Chameleon