B2B Buying Trends: Buyers Want a Human Approach

January 14, 2021 Amy Noel

As Marketers, most years we spend an inordinate amount of time tracking trends. We work to determine if a particular tactic, tool, or platform is a lasting market expectation, or if they’re just this year’s consumer version of hammer pants and Zumba.

Except THIS year, things are different. The entire world is different. Expectations have changed.

There is a vested interest in how brands impact the world at large, and in the ways communication can move beyond B2B or B2C paradigms to foster real connections between people. In the spaces your Buyers frequent, trust matters more now than ever before.

Modern marketers, regardless of industry or audience, must continue to bring best-in-class content experiences, seeking first to understand the new challenges in front of Buyers and then embracing the novel ways they wish to engage today.

A moving-forward marketing strategy must invest in and enable diverse voices throughout the organizational ecosystem, refine and improve strategies to collect first party data while respecting privacy, and better leverage this data to improve the overall experience with your brand and organization.

Your approach to connecting your solutions to their desired outcomes must be precise, personalized, and architected to provide insight.

This is the best opportunity to find and engage the millions of unique pockets of community where the buyer is found.

2021: A Human to Human Approach

From stuck-on-mute frozen faces, to kids, dogs, and everything in between interrupting our Zoom Meetings, the biggest lesson of 2020 is that we are all human and none of us are perfect, on or off Instagram.

The new fluidity and flexibility required for work from home life balance could wreak havoc on tried-and-true message flighting, ad geos, traditional send time strategies, or even digital event live attendance. If the right time is hard to find, the buyer will need your help in making time. In 2021, marketers in every vertical must ask:

“What are we doing to ease the burdens of our buyer so that they have the time to take action on our opportunity?”

Marketers must master delivering ease of use throughout the buying journey. Finding avenues that make it easier to engage your content, providing kinesthetic configuration tools that make it easier to do business, and easy control to engage or disengage is table stakes.

These are not new concepts, but they are top level expectations of the 2021 buyer and what you’ll need to consider in meeting the market this year and beyond.

Inclusive Communication & Engagement

From accessible digital event platforms to inclusive language in your conversational marketing strategy, ensuring all audiences can access and engage with content that resonates in a low-friction, organic way is absolutely essential for success.

Whether that means recognizing regionalized speech or programming for markets where copy is read right to left, in automated messaging platforms, inclusion is more than translation. It’s taking steps and seeking understanding of how your message will be received within a specific community, even if you are native speakers of the same language.

As Tegrita Client Lead Dr. Mythili Viswanathan recently noted, “Beyond translating content into various languages (or even various versions of English!), your content needs to translate mentally and culturally.”

If you're just starting your journey, be certain to check out Marketing Across Continents – How Global Companies Are Missing The Mark for more of Dr. Viswanathan’s insights, found on the Tegrita Learning Hub along with Salesforce’s Inclusive Marketing Principles blog resource and Trailhead training module.

As life moves forward online, consumers are demanding better alignment between aspirational brand messaging and actual business reality. Plan and engage the appropriate resources to deliver effective programs that are strategized for scale, in order to permeate your Marketing Technology stack.

The Year Data Goes First Party

Marketers have one more year to detangle and de-silo data objects and sources. To meet the speed, ease of use and personalized experience expected by the buyer in 2021, they must demand more from first party data.

Unquestionably, first party data management is a longer, more complex configuration process, and requires a full commitment to dropping bad data acquisition and entry habits, connecting disparate data across silos, taking the time to pay off technical debt and investing in flexible best in class solutions.

A disciplined approach helps discovery of unrealized market segments, delivers more intelligence and better opportunities from every resource, like dynamic content streams warming unrealized market segments, or connected sources delivering better vision into the next desired engagement from total online action and more.

The Year Trustworthiness Stays Third Party

Buyers will continue to rely on 3rd party review sites to drive purchase decisions.

While everyone hopes for a five-star experience, no one expects perfection. Consumers will continue to look to see how you communicate, and how your fulfillment teams communicate, address delays, and rectify poor experiences. The Digital Spaces outside of your control are the ones most important to your brand reputation.

Especially now, brands must illuminate the path for consumers to trust but verify.

Whether this means embedding localized Yelp Reviews on featured product pages or linking G2 Software User reviews and trial download landing pages, build a path for your customers to validate your perspective, product, and personal fit.

As Tegrita COO Brandi Starr noted this past summer in 2020 State of Marketing Technology, “'good enough' is no longer good enough. The success of your business and growth trajectory hinges on having the right technology and people in place with clear and connected objectives and defined measures of success.”

Because of this, buyers will rely more heavily on personal recommendations and 3rd party reviewers.

Make a consistent practice to review user-generated content on your business to leverage this valuable timely content in order to further refine your operations. Be honest with your teams on how close review matches reality, and be honest with yourself on the internal resources available to make any necessary changes quickly.

2020, according to Google’s Year in Search, was the year we searched for meaning and understanding, engaged in deep questioning, and looked for “why” more than ever before. Understandably so.

As marketers, we’re constantly seeking a greater understanding of what really matters, as we work to build better. We’ve been on the road to understanding “why” for some time. 2021 calls for best-in-class solutions to make things easier, removing friction, improving the purchase experience, proving our place as a trusted resource to our Buyers. In 2021, the trust of the buyer is the ultimate currency.


About the Author

Amy is a former Marketing Strategy Lead at Tegrita. Working on top brands in the Tech and Automotive industry she developed a best in class digital strategy leader with the experience to see clients through recessions, economic downturns, dependent industry booms and their subsequent busts.

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