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The Convergence of B2C and B2B Buyer Behaviors

Challenged with conversion?

The B2C and B2B business environment and the market are evolving as buyer behaviors change.Goal Attainment Step by Step

The changes in awareness (finding information), consideration (evaluating options) and decision (making the purchase) are significant and challenge firmly held beliefs on how to engage and convert B2C consumers or B2B buyers.

Most of the practices and methods that historically worked in a physical realm (or at least were believed to be effective in producing the desired results) surely aren’t producing now that digital and the resulting changed consumer and buyer behaviors dominate.

Lead generation, as an example, is becoming harder leaving many sales departments confounded with what to do next to increase their leads and marketers challenged to know what funnels to create and build upon to satisfy them.

In the current environment, B2C and B2B buyer behaviors are converging.

What has catalyzed the changes?

First and foremost, Digital, specifically mobile, devices and technology.

Digital has fundamentally altered behaviors and has catalyzed the changes.

The opportunities generated in the consumer-focused market via mobile, search, apps, tablets, alerts and more have appeal as consumers learn how to quickly research, price compare, understand features and value, digest what others are saying in their reviews and ultimately make a decision.

The changes were first felt more directly and distinctly by B2C businesses as consumers quickly adapted to fulfilling their needs or seeking solutions to their problems with digital as the primary channel.Modern Buyer Image

The benefits and opportunities digital offered surely changed consumer behaviors but also altered their expectations of all of the companies they may purchase from and the organizations that they may align with. Are you B2B focused? Well that now includes you too.

We are all Human

Consumers (those targeted by B2C) are human and are often also B2B buyers. It was inevitable that the facilities and actions made possible by digital would result in a convergence of B2C and B2B behavior and challenge organizations structured to respond to one or the other.

How many times have you heard during a conversation: “Let’s ask Google” or “hey Siri” followed by a question. That simple ease of accessing information by speaking, typing or swiping was bound to become pervasive. It allows all of us to quickly become experts or at least knowledgeable about a topic or product.

Lets look at this another way. How many times have you trolled your Facebook feed and either liked a B2B focused company or saw their advertisement? The lines are now very blurry between professional and personal.

The Power of Search and the “Amazon Effect”

Search and the ever growing “Amazon effect” are and will continue to be major influences on both the B2C and B2B environments and are major influences on the convergence.

If you don’t believe me, take a look at some statistics below:

  • The percentage of Internet users who use search engines on a typical day has been steadily rising from about one-third of all users in 2002, to a new high of 59% of all adult Internet users today, pulling ever closer to the 61% of Internet users who use e-mail.
  • 81% of shoppers conduct online research before making big purchases and 44% of people go directly to Amazon to start their product searches.
  • 71% of B2B researchers start their research with a generic search. (Google, 2015).
  • B2B researchers do 12 searches on average prior to engaging on a specific brand’s site. (Google, 2014).
  • Nearly 70 percent of shoppers placed orders using a mobile device.
  • A #1 position in Google’s search results receives 2% of all click-through traffic.
  • The second position receives 1%, the third 7.2%, the fourth 4.8%, and all others under 2%.
  • Google sends 62% of traffic to other websites regardless of B2C or B2B focus.
  • 183 million users visit Amazon monthly.

Believe me now?

Let’s consider another couple of major influences.B2C Purchase Behavior Image

Digital has also created and allowed for extensive choice while mobile and social are consuming more and more of an individual’s time. Again, regardless if they are B2C or B2B focused in the moment on searching, problem solving, grazing, purchasing or consuming.

More influences to change and upend previous behaviors.

The market you now exist in is very noisy and loyalty and commitment are harder to create.

Let’s take a look at the drastic expansion of choice:

  • In 1920, there was 1 radio station. In 2016, there were 15,470.
  • In 1946, America had 12 broadcasting TV stations. In 2016, there were over 32,397.
  • In 2016 the average consumer saw or heard 1 million marketing messages (radio, internet, television, print) – almost 4,000-10,000 per day.
  • In 2016, there were 2,500+ stories competing to show up in a personal Facebook News Feed at any given moment.

Let’s also take a look at the new stimuli consuming attention which isn’t limitless:

  • 1 of every 5 minutes spent online: Social
  • Average time per day on Facebook: 50 Minutes
  • Average time on Twitter: 30 Minutes
  • Average time spent consuming content from alerts (push notifications): 1 Hour

New options, new functions, increased ease and shiny new objects to consume attention are surrounding everyone and everything. The convergence was and will continue to be inevitable.

 What to do?

It is time for a B2B focused business to take a few steps back and a few deep breaths and reassess how they are reaching and engaging their customers and prospects. It’s a new world and digital continues to disrupt everything that has come before it.Group of Humans Image

As always, we are here to help you navigate the new digital universe. Drop us a line via our contact form to learn how we can help.

Want to read more?

Check out our Human Behaviors Blog Series or the recently published Digital Revenue Models Blog Series or Business to Professional Blog Series.

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