What do B2B Customers Want in 2018?

January 23, 2018

By Carla Johnson

Getting their message and content in front of their target audience is the biggest challenge B2B executives say they face in 2018, according to Bridge the Gap: The State of B2B Marketing Communications 2018, a report published by communications technology company Ytel. In fact, 55 percent of the 2000+ CEOs and other top executives surveyed around the U.S. said this is one of their top struggles.

Contrast that with what matters to customers, who say they have three overarching wants:

  1. Access – Easy access to the information they need.
  2. Response – Access to and from sellers to be fast.
  3. Convenience – Interactions on their own time, not the brand’s.

The struggle is real

Marketers battle to get their messages in front of customers.

Customers exhaust every effort to get the information they need fast and efficiently.

This creates a stalemate throughout the entire buying process.

Consumers know they can get answers to every question they have in our mobile world anytime, anywhere. People take these same expectations to work when they need intel on the job. Buyers aren’t any less fragmented when they get into their B2B work zone than they are as B2C shoppers. But somehow, that message isn’t hitting home with marketing and sales teams.

From how long people have to wait on hold to what channels they use to reach customers, buyer expectations need to drive how enterprise brands approach delivering information. Companies have to flip the tables and begin looking at the experience from the outside in. A process may be more efficient one way for the company but if, ultimately, it doesn’t deliver the value customers need – ease of access to valuable information – then the process is broken.

Marketers invest amounts of time creating content and distributing it, yet a survey from BrightEdge points out that less than 10 percent of their content is actually consumed. If it’s not being consumed, then it’s not valuable to start with and then not being delivered to the places their customers go to find answers.

Take a look at the full report and see how you compare to the survey responses.

But also take into account that even though this report points out trends in what B2B customers want in general, it’s not a replacement for investing the time to find out what resonates with your specific buyers. Don’t take shortcuts. Customers know the difference.

Photo Credit: Flickr user Dee Ashley

About Carla Johnson

Carla Johnson is a world-renowned storyteller, an entertaining speaker, and a prolific author.

Over the last two decades, Carla has helped architects and actuaries, executives and volunteers, innovators and visionaries leverage the art of storytelling to inspire action. Her work with Fortune 500 brands hasn’t gone unnoticed and the latest of her seven books, Experiences: The 7th Era of Marketingsets the benchmark for a new era in marketing. Named one of the top 50 women in marketing and the chair of the ANA’s Business Marketing Association, Carla regularly challenges conventional thinking.

Today, Carla travels the world teaching anyone (and everyone) how to cultivate idea-driven teams that breed unstoppable creativity and game-changing innovation.