B2B Audiences Online

This article was first published on Communicate magazine here

A B2B customer will go at least 57% of the way towards making a purchasing decision before speaking with the potential vendor.

That was one of the illuminating statistics shared at Soho House in London this morning (8 October), when iProspect UK, part of the Dentsu Aegis Network, launched a new B2B marketing division, iProspect Enterprise.

Speakers, including representatives from the business arms of Google and LinkedIn, shared a host of interesting stats around patterns in the B2B market and advice on how to best reach this audience online. Research shows that B2B influencers are both younger and more influential than they used to be, with 72% of B2B marketers now younger than 45. This group are more likely than ever to be engaging with content online. Typically, ten pieces of online content are consumed before a purchase decision is made.

Jennifer Brett, EMEA insights lead for marketing solutions at LinkedIn, said, “It’s easy to presume that the key decision makers in B2B marketing are c-suite level, but digital is changing the decision-making process. Our research finds that today’s decision-makers are both younger and far more digitally savvy than first perceived. This signals just how important online channels are for influencers of all ages. Digital is increasingly where all business audiences are spending time and making informed decisions; making it vital for B2B brands to invest there.”

Brett spoke about LinkedIn’s rich and unique data, which allows the company to target valuable B2B audiences. With regards to content marketing, she said that recruiting, social marketing, self-esteem and employee engagement were among the most popular topics and she stressed the importance of measuring engagement with content online.

David Liu, industry head, business and technology vertical at Google, said, “The path to purchase for B2B services is increasingly taking place online and our research shows just how important digital has become to the purchasing process.” Liu demonstrated how digital content has overtaken television, and how quickly mobile access to content and the popularity of online videos have accelerated in recent years. The great news, he said, is that traffic to B2B sites has doubled over the last two years, meaning that it is essential that brands are prepared to communicate over their digital platforms.

During a panel discussion hosted by Maxine Marshall, editor at B2B Marketing magazine, the differences between B2C and B2B audiences were discussed. While it was agreed that there are many similarities, differences include techniques for measuring success, a shorter buying cycle in B2B and a different buying journey and a smaller audience of more influential customers in B2B. However, as Stuart Giddings, global managing director at Carat Enterprise, said, it is important to maintain consistency across all communications, whether B2B or B2C. Brand value is advantageous in both instances.

The London hub of iProspect Enterprise is the first of three international hubs, the other two will be in Chicago and Singapore. Matt Adams, MD of iProspect UK said, “We are launching iProspect Enterprise to allow B2B marketers the opportunity to take advantage of our global scale; data-led strategy and deep digital insight.”