The labels "B2B" and "B2C" are becoming increasingly obsolete, and are replaced with "B2A". Many B2B organisations have historically built their marketing
communications around rational arguments, caring less for how decision making actually takes place on the customer side. Recent and valuable research show that personal and emotional value outnumbers business value in order to create an opinion and consider a supplier's brand.
We have all learned that decision-makers are on average almost 60% through their total purchase process, when they invite sales reps for interaction.
The challenge to be included on such a shortlist is a story of its own. And once there, which further considerations do you have to undertake to be successful?
An argument that is increasingly raised is that the "natural law" of dividing target audiences into B2C and B2B, is irrelevant. As a matter a fact, the only thing that is really true is that the more personalised you can be, the more likely is your success. So the more you understand the needs and values of your buyer, the more relevant you will be perceived.
However, it's quite rare that there is only one individual you'll have to serve. Purchasing decisions in organisations engage more and more people, and according recent research from CEB, an average group is 5.4 people.
This makes personalised communication an even bigger challenge. What the same set of research tells us though, is that in order to create real consideration for your brand, you need to be attentive to all types of needs that the individuals of the buying organisation represent. The interesting news is that rational, emotional and personal value all comes into play, just as within B2C.
This is what we mean when we say that B2B and B2C buying models are merging. It’s no longer business-to-business or business-to-consumer – it’s business-to-all, B2A. Those businesses and marketing organisations that understand the nature of today’s complicated customer relationships create a strategy that leaves the classical "B2B marketing" arena. This way, they will create higher level of brand perception and advocacy within the purchasing teams, and team-members will argue for their prefered solution (you).
A good example of this deliberate shift is Volvo Trucks. With their well-known "Live-test campaign" Volvo changed the game by borrowing from the habits of B2C. The result? A far more emotional brand experience than ever before, and still with extremely relevant rational benefits at hand for each part of the campaign.
All three value types matter, but for different reasons. Rational value is most likely to make a professional interested in a business product or service but it won’t motivate them to advocate for the purchase of that product or service within their organisation. Personal value, however, has twice the impact of rational value on advocacy.
Want to learn more? Read our blog-post on "How to Build an Inbound Marketing Team".