B2B marketing strategies used to focus solely around trade shows. Before Google ruled our research habits, trade shows were where customers had to go to find and evaluate new vendors. With the rise of social media, new marketing methodologies like inbound marketing, and the changing demographic of the B2B buyer, B2B companies need to re-evaluate all of their marketing efforts.
Reaching the New B2B Buyer
In the past, there was often one decision maker (or only a few)in the buying process. Now the buying process consists of people from many different departments and career levels. Nearly half of employees tasked with doing the initial research on potential vendors that will solve their current problem are millennials. As such, marketing at the early stages of the buying process must focus on millennial buying and research habits. Customers are now finding vendors for the first time online via Google Searches, industry sites, peer recommendations, and on social media sites like LinkedIn.
Not only have research methods changed, but the way the customers wants to communicate during the buying process has drastically changed as well. No longer are the days of cold calling or even calling to check in on the status of the decision process. Customers want things quick, easy, and on their own schedule. That is why emailing has become the norm for communicating with customers before and during the buying process. Now it is all about having a strong lead generation strategy that uses email marketing to nurture contacts. This is a great way to stay in touch with potential customers in a non-aggressive way. To learn more about what the new habits of B2B buyer and how to best reach them, check out the infographic below!
Image Source: http://www.marketingfundamentals.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/The-Changing-Face-of-B2B-Buyers-Infographic-2-770×2645.jpg
Is there still a role for Trade Shows in b2b Marketing?
The answer is definitely YES! However, trade show strategies should change greatly. Trade shows are often connected to important educational industry conferences that bring together thousands of people in your target audience to one place. But, the majority of attendees don’t want to be constantly sold when they are at the conference. Attendees are there primarily there to learn, with secondary goals of checking in with their current vendors and connect with new vendors that they will research more after the conference.
Trade shows now have two key focuses: that capturing of email addresses of qualified leads and reconnecting with current customers who you don’t see regularly in a one-on-one setting. Conference attendees are very busy, as such don’t try to make they stay at the booth for a long period of time. Focus on getting the prospect’s email address and nurturing them with an awesome post-conference email marketing nurturing campaign that starts once they are back home and are in a setting where they are more likely to digest the information.